Critic’s rating: 2 stars out of 5
Rated R by the MPAA
Written and Directed by David Twohy. Starring Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Molla, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine and Matt Nable. Opens Fri., Sept. 6 in wide release.
Head-shaven, murderous antihero Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) is back for your viewing displeasure.
Stranded on a barren planet, Riddick must bring an unlikely alliance together to stave off certain death at the hands of some freaky aliens.
Sound familiar? Oh yeah, that was the plot of Pitch Black, the movie that opened this franchise.
There’s the typical, gravelly Diesel voice over to get things going. We see Riddick, still rocking the Necromonger armor, wounded and alone on some rock in space.
“There are bad days and then there are legendary bad days. This was shaping up to be one of them.”
How can you not love such wit? Anyway, when Riddick didn’t exactly fit in as the Lord Commander of the Necro-dudes, he saw the writing on the wall and figured he’d get out before he got dead. He offers the throne to Vaako (Karl Urban cameo) in exchange for a ride home to his native planet, Furya. But oh, that Vaako, he’s so traditional and “you keep what you kill” is the Necromonger way. Cue the doublecross.
So Riddick offs his would-be offers and adopts a puppy. Seriously. Then the boy and his dog head to a local merc station to hitch a ride home. Mind you, he still has a bazillion-spacebuck bounty on his head, worth double if brought in dead. So the mercs come a-callin’, as he knew they would. But there’s something else out there that’s a much bigger threat than those bounty hunters, one of whom has something personal to settle.
How the Riddick franchise ever happened is a mystery. Pitch Black was fun, as was, admittedly, its sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, in an over-the-top kind of way. So while I would hesitate to use the word excited, I was curious, in a morbid sort of way, to see what they’d do with a third movie. File this one under “nothing new.”
Don’t get me wrong, anyone who buys a ticket for this movie will get what he or she paid for and probably leave satisfied. What you see is what you get. As action fare goes, it’s enjoyable, with the trademark Riddick zingers and splashy death. As far as the character goes, Diesel delivers. If the plot didn’t mirror the original so much, this could have been a really fun bad movie.
But it did.
Maybe writer-director David Twohy needs to take a break from his working bromance with Diesel, after this third installment/déjà vu.
Katee Sackhoff makes for a fun merc hottie as the deadly, D-cupped Dahl. Jordi Mollà is entertaining as Santana, merc leader. Matt Nable is a convincing relative bent on revenge. And Dave Bautista acts as well in an action role as you’d expect from a retired professional wrestler.
Riddick reinforces the fact that you get what you pay for. If you want to see Pitch Black re-enacted with different faces, by all means, enjoy. If you were hoping for more, stay home and watch it on DVD.