9 of 19 people found the following review helpful
No, no, no, no and no
, 28 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Riddick [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I love the franchise. I really do. I love Riddick the character and I think Vin Diesel is the only one who could play him.
Pitch black is an underrated gem. It sits proudly on my "sci-fi" shelf alongside my Alien anthology, Star Wars original trilogy, Blade Runner and the first couple of Terminator movies. The second movie (Chronicles) is not there for the rather obvious reason that I thought it was pretty poor. I know others have liked it, and i can almost understand why (Riddick being all tough as nails, improved CGI, Dame Judy Dench, Karl Urban etc etc) but for me it didnt work. Riddick needs to be dark and moody and, fairly simple. The idea of Furian origins and complex races made it all feel rather silly to me.
So, when Riddick was announced, and the trailer showed glimpses of dark planets, bounty hunters and nasty (non-speaking) aliens, I was thrilled.
But this movie is, to put it politely, rather bad.
I'll try and do a brief plot summary. There will be some vague spoilers, but nothing that should ummmmmm ruin this any further than the script writers already have done.
Beginning: Riddick finds himself marooned on planet 'unknown'. Some nasty aliens are identified (as a precursor to what comes later) and successfully avoided, and then Riddick spends 30 minutes of your time raising an alien puppy to adulthood. Yes, you read that right. About 30 minutes of the film are dedicated to this 'relationship'. It's awfully done, and even Riddick's 'looks' of humour/anger etc toward the puppy (that are meant to be funny) are cringeworthy.
Middle: Bounty hunters arrive. This bit is more standard Riddick fare and not 'that' bad. When i say not 'that' bad, I mean Vin plays his part well. The bounty hunters on the other hand are frankly terrible (even Katee Sackhoff aka Starbuck is poor). The script is also atrocious. It takes some doing to write something that can't even be saved by some good old mindless action, but this movie succeeds in doing so.
Finale: Aliens join the party and all hell breaks loose. Now, I thought this is where I was going to get my money's worth. It's dark (bring on Mr Riddick and those wickedly shiny eyes) and there are clueless bounty hunters and man-devouring aliens around. But even this bit is poor. There is little real sight of the aliens (even less than in Pitch Black) and the bounty hunters are dispatched with such speed that it stops being even vaguely interesting. To top it all off, Riddick is considerably less 'invincible', even in the dark.
Epilogue: The ending is a 'happy' one. No moral dilemas. No one making the wrong or questionable choice. Every one (who survives) lives happily ever after. I kept on waiting for a twist, and there just wasn't one. The cheesiness almost made me queasy.
So. It's not the worst movie you'll ever see. But I consider it to be the weakest of the three, and that's saying something. It feels suspiciously like someone decided that Pitch Black had been successful enough to warrant a re-hash. The problem is that it's overly obvious that this is what is being done, and I for one find it difficult to swallow the concept of being taken for a ride by the film makers.
I can't see myself watching it again unless I'm on a plane or something like that. I was very disappointed. I really wanted it to be good so that the next installment could get a massive budget and some fresh ideas. Sadly, I can't see that happening.
Oh, and for the record, I saw this with two friends. All equally unimpressed.
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