Apply titled Riddick, this is in my opinion the best movie featuring the popular antihero. It marks a drastic change in scenery from the previous installment in the franchise and much better special effects. We will spend the first thirty minutes watching Riddick fight various monsters on a remote planet. Not only do they look stunning and creative but they also feel like they’re the product of their environment. I also feel that David Twohy grew immensely as a director with exciting and clever action scenes. The same goes for those cinematic and very memorable vistas of this strange alien world.
Riddick is basically a stand-alone movie and you don’t have to know anything about it before watching it. The storytelling is tight and despite the somewhat predictable plot, this is really a fun and dark movie. It’s also the first movie in the franchise with an R rating. Something you’re going to notice early on. I recommend you watch the extended version as it features some of the best scenes in the movie. We’re back to basics with Riddick trying to survive onslaughts of both mercenaries and deadly creatures.
It’s somewhat reminiscent of the original, Pitch Black only with cooler characters. Charismatic and vicious Santana, played by Jordi Mollà is perhaps the most memorable one. We also have Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista and Matt Nable. However, none of them can come even close to our enigmatic and macho Riddick. And this time he even has a pet! The script is more mature and funny at times offering cool one-liners. And the pacing is great despite the running time of two hours.
Granted, to fully enjoy Riddick, you will have to get over Vin Diesel’s larger-than-life persona. Take your time and watch this franchise when you’re ready. I know I did because it took me quite a while to fully enjoy them. I have to admit that I’m really biased when it comes to these movies set in exotic and distant worlds. They provide a necessary dose of space escapism that I remember so fondly from my youth. I think that the whole thing started with probably my favorite movie of all time The Thing.
Left for dead on an inhospitable planet full of dangerous flora and fauna, Riddick must first survive before he thinks about getting off this deadly world. He was once a mighty ruler of a ruthless empire of Necromongers but now he just wants to go home. To his home planet of Furya. However, that will be quite difficult as he doesn’t have any means of getting out. Luckily for him, a bunch of mercenaries are still looking for him eager to collect a huge bounty.
As you can notice, Riddick feels like Rambo in space with additional science fiction elements. Although because of the all testosterone perhaps Predator would be a better match. The movie can be divided into three distinct sections, each with a different flavor and setting. They really did wonders with a $40 million budget as the movie feels like one of those $400 million blockbusters. And with such a concept come certain features that I really didn’t like.
For example, we’re faced with another string of unreasonable decision-making and odd scenes. These hardened mercs act like fucking children at times. Still, this is that type of a movie. Luckily, they have some pretty nifty equipment this time adding to the immersion factor. So, the same advice I gave you for the first two movies goes for Riddick too. Suspend your belief, get some popcorn, beer, weed, and prepare to be entertained. And if you’re looking for similar movies, I do recommend you check out John Carter. Granted, it’s a PG-13 Disney movie but at least it’s set on Mars and features great creature design.
Director: David Twohy
Writers: David Twohy, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Cast: Vin Diesel, Jordi Mollà, Katee Sackhoff, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, Conrad Pla
Fun Facts: While preparing for the role of Riddick in this movie, Vin Diesel spent four months living alone in the woods.