So the time has come for everyone’s favourite anti-hero Riddick to make a return to the big screen. I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this film and it certainly made our Riddick review that much harder but here goes anyway. As always, to scintillate you and wet your movie appetites here’s the official trailer:
So we begin with a battered Riddick, betrayed and left for dead by the Necromongers of the previous film. I loved the setting and backdrop for this movie, it was stunning. We see a vast and barren wilderness where our anti-hero must rise from the dead and fight his way back off the planet. Unlike previous films, Riddick appears more vulnerable at first, you can even glimpse moments of pure fear on the mad killer’s face. This was a refreshing change from the normal ‘I’m invincible’ routine. However, it appears my optimism was short lived, as the film develops we see Riddick fall straight back into that implausible niche once again. Perhaps I’m missing the point with these movies, but can’t we make him just a little bit less indestructible? There are moments that just simply defy the laws of physics and whilst this is not an alien notion in the movie industry, it’s really pushed to its limits here.
Saying all that though, the opening was very strong, director David Twohy really created an electric atmosphere on this new, alien world. There is also some very cool grungy sci-fi at work in this picture, almost Judge Dredd-esque with its battered rocket bikes and unusual weaponry. And did I mention I loved the look of this world?! Well I did, it is nothing short of epic, the last time I felt that sort of tingly jaw-dropping reaction was during Prometheus. Very impressed. To compliment this, we are introduced to a handful of interesting characters, some of which have really quite watchable personalities on-screen. Special mention goes to Katee Sackhoff as the enigmatic Dahl, quite frankly I would NOT mess with this woman and also I particularly liked Matt Nable’s character of Boss Johns. Obviously, Vin Diesel performs well as our star but I can’t say I loved the extensive voice over segments.
Of course, I have told you all this without revealing too much about the actual story of the film. Well as always I won’t give anything away, there are no spoilers here. The premise is simple, Riddick is stuck on a dangerous planet and wants off, so he signals for help and mercenaries have to come and kill him before the planet’s ahem ‘wildlife’ do. So basically we are looking at the plot of Pitch Black, just on a different planet with slightly different (but still stupidly dangerous) monsters. Oh wait, there is one change, instead of coming out in the dark, these monstrosities come out in the rain. Hmmm. Moving swiftly on then….
So yes the story has basically been done before, there’s seem to be a current trend in movies to reduce the scope of the plot, focusing it on only one place, which I personally think is a real shame because this could have been an epic space saga if it tried. Riddick is still hunting for his home planet of Furya and it would have been nice to see something of it in this film as opposed to watching the same rehashed idea. Perhaps I’m being too harsh but for all this promise of action, there were moments that really dragged and I found myself getting bored. This monotony was broken up by the odd funny quip and an awful lot of cheek! As I mentioned earlier, some of the characters were really quite like-able, Boss Johns really stood out for me, he had a real presence and despite his mercenary roots, seemed more grounded and moral than the rest.
Would I watch this film again then? You know what, yes I would. It did have its dull moments and the plot is nothing we haven’t seen before but there are things to enjoy here. I’m a sci-fi nut so adored the setting of ‘Riddick’, not to mention the futuristic weaponry and kit. There were moments that reminded me of Alien, the monsters had a similar look and one particular cliff-battle is bound to give you goose bumps just on its visual appeal alone. I enjoyed the characters far more than those in previous Riddick titles and being a modern picture, the CGI and model detail was fantastic. Despite its shortcomings, this world felt more encompassing and I think a great deal of that goes down to the stunning special effects and direction. All-in-all I would recommend seeing this, particularly if you are a fan of the franchise. If you can wait out the lulls in action then there is still a lot to appreciate here. Let’s hope they take these strengths into the next picture and maybe, Riddick might just make it home.
GEEK RATING: 8/10 ENTERTAINING
Have you seen the new Riddick film yet? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Many thanks to Cineworld, High Wycombe
Images - Universal Studios