Starring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff
Genre: Action/ Sci-Fi
After being betrayed, Richard B. Riddick (Diesel) is left for dead on a desolate desert like planet. After making the planet his home, gaining strength and making friends with a CGI dog, he allows his presence to be known to the rest of the universe via an abandoned outpost on the planet. With a bounty on his head that is doubled if he is returned dead, two groups of mercenaries land on the planet to find Riddick. One group simply want Riddick dead and the ensuing reward, while the other has a completely different agenda. Now Riddick must outsmart these mercenaries and return home, while an even more dangerous predator is hunting down Riddick that will threaten them all.
In cinema certain things often tend to be found together: Scorsese and Di Nero, Spielberg and Williams, Burton and Depp, Nicolas Cage and terrible wigs, Bruce Willis and audience boredom, and most definitely Vin Diesel and terrible dialogue. For the first 30 minutes or so of Riddick we basically get the man himself supposedly brooding about and citing some deep inner monologue to us in Diesel’s trademark gruff voice. What we actually get is a painfully slow and boring sequence of him moping around on his own while saying one of the most cringe voiceovers of recent times. We also have a flashback of how he got there that allows Karl Urban his two minute (probably contractual) appearance. It seems the intention of franchise regular writer/director David Twohy is to give us an anti hero to root for again, but alas I feel he tries a little too hard and just embarrasses himself.
Once the story actually gets started and the two teams of mercenaries turn up there is potential for this to be good low budget fun, but it never picks up, due to terribly written caricatures and ever more embarrassing dialogue. As the leader of the mercenaries after the money Jordi Mollá’s Santana chews scenery and irritates in equal measure, while it is obvious the order of which of his merry band of walking clichés is going to die next (that is not a spoiler!). As the leader of the other group, Matt Nable is fine and looks the part, but his connections to Riddick’s past are given way too much focus and drag on to the point of annoying. It is lesbian female mercenary Dahl (Katee Sackhoff) that suffers the most due to the supposed ‘banter’; the dialogue exchanged between her, Riddick and Santana is at times horrible to watch and the laughs very much AT. Riddick being the anti hero is rammed incredibly deep down our throats, but some his dialogue is supposed to make him cool, but quite frankly just makes him sounds like a bit of a prat and not the super human that this film tries to make him seem. His dialogue aimed at Dahl sounding more like a horny and letching bloke that has had too much to drink on a night out than some kind of cool antihero. Of course, Vin is the producer so she finds him quite charming!
Once we get to many of the scenes in the trailer (so this is not a spoiler) when a greater enemy forces those left to join forces, not only are we already quite bored and disinterested, Twohy seems to have run out of ideas and just copies Pitch Black with silly and clichéd ‘twists’ and character arcs, as well as a CGI enemy that does not ever seem as threatening as Riddick frequently claims it to be. This did have the potential to be a back to basics low budget enjoyable romp to inject new life into the franchise, but for me fails miserably.
Despite Vin Diesel’s extremely stoic performance that borders on parody of himself, Riddick fails to rescue an already ailing franchise with a film that is too long, too boring and contains some of the worst dialogue of 2013.