“Riddick” finds Vin Diesel reprising a role he first played 13 years ago. The character of Riddick was first introduced in a terrific little sci-fi horror movie called “Pitch Black”. It was followed by a less than impressive, big budget sequel called “The Chronicles Of Riddick”. I guess the studio was hoping that it would turn in to a major franchise for years. I personally don’t think that the sequel was a financial failure but a miscalculation on the part of the studio. The reason “Pitch Black” was cult hit was because of the minimal budget and how creative the filmmakers had to be to make it work. Sometimes less is more. “Riddick” gets back to basics with a minimal budget and story.
This latest movie takes the series back to it’s roots. Riddick finds himself left for dead on an unnamed planet. The surface is blisteringly hot and bright. The local wildlife is vicious and hungry. Riddick decides to make the best of it and get back in touch with his animalistic side. The first third of the movie takes place with Riddick alone on the planet. Eventually he finds an abandoned outpost used by bounty hunters. When a storm front rolls in it brings with it horde of monsters that nobody can withstand, Riddick activates a homing beacon that draws some ruthless bounty hunters to the planet mostly as a way off. Now faced with trained killers and vicious alien beasts, Riddick must fight to survive.
Riddick, for those of you who do not know who is he, is the epitome of an anti-hero. He cares mostly for himself and shows no mercy towards anyone who wants to claim his head as a bounty. Diesel was born to play this character and I hope we get to continue with him in more movies as there are so few truly bad-ass’ on screen.
“Riddick” also finds the series back in R rated territory as we were not a fan of the PG-13 violence and language that the franchise was reduced to in “Chronicles”. The character of Riddick is not made for kids and teenagers unfortunately.
You can tell from start to finish that this is a passion project for Diesel and director David Twohy. The story is stripped down and brutal. Even the props and sets are rugged looking and weathered. This is where the character of Riddick belongs. I remember reading years ago that with “Chronicles” they were aiming to make a darker version of “Star Wars”. That seemed like a mistake to me. Riddick is in it for himself. “Star Wars” is about heroes and Riddick is no hero.