Riddick Review

Riddick movie posterSynopsis
When the Necromongers leave Riddick (Vin Diesel) for dead on a desolate planet, he activates a distress beacon from an abandoned outpost. The beacon draws two mercenary ships: one containing a new breed of mercenary, and the second is captained by a man with a more personal relation to Riddick.

I’ve always enjoyed the character of Riddick. Unlike most, I felt that The Chronicles of Riddick was an improvement over Pitch Black, so I was hoping Riddick could maintain the momentum of keeping the franchise moving forward. Thankfully, it does and is the strongest entry in the franchise to date.

When the budget for Chronicles ballooned from the budget for Pitch Black, the film tried to add too much, particularly the fantastical element incorporated into Riddicks origin. The interwoven fantasy material makes Chronicles the black sheep of the franchise. Riddick goes back to its roots with a smaller budget and more along the science-fiction origins established in Pitch Black. This prevents it from going over-the-top and keeps in grounded (or at least as grounded as sci-fi can be).

Like the other entries in the series, the dialog is very corny and cliché. However, Riddick is able to incorporate humor, making the dialog much more bearable. A lot of the comedic relief comes from Diaz, played by wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista. The interactions between the two mercenary captains, played by Jordi Molla and Matt Nable, offer some good stuff, too.

One of the most unique things about Riddick is that its three acts all feel completely different from one another. The first part of the movie is about survival. Riddick has been abandoned and so he must work to survive in the barren landscape. However, this portion is very slow to develop and is very uneventful, although this does act as set up for some events later on.

The middle act shows Riddick and his confrontation with the mercenaries. This is my favorite part of the film because this is when the interactions between the characters really shine. It also shows much more of the raw killer in Riddick than we have seen in the previous films. Some of his kills are pretty creative and brutal. Influences from Pitch Black are very apparent, as the action takes place in the dark, very similar to the second half of Pitch Black.

In the last act, Riddick must team with the remaining mercenaries to survive an incoming swarm of the creatures Riddick faced in the first act. Again, think of the second half of Pitch Black and that is pretty much what this part of the movie feels like.

The Chronicles of Riddick franchise keeps getting better. Riddick harkens back to its roots laid out in Pitch Black and opts for a smaller budget and more concentrated plot, creating what I consider to be the strongest entry in the series.


For more of The Chronicles of Riddick series, check out my reviews for Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, and The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury

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