It’s been 13 years now, and the dude still can’t get normal eyes?
A lot has happened in the 9 years since we last saw our favorite anti-hero Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), and not all of it’s good. After becoming the sole ruler of a planet he learned to hate, he soon finds himself feeling too odd for the job, and is soon kicked off this planet and left to scrounge for himself in a more dangerous, grungy planet (much like the one he was running around on in Pitch Black). For awhile, things seem to be looking alright for Riddick; not only has he found a way to keep after himself, but he’s even got a newfound friend in some sort of dog/creature/thing. He’s as happy as he can be and knows when he has to get down a dirty, but he also knows that he has to get the hell off of this awful planet before it’s too late. That’s when he decides to call for help to a bunch of bounty hunters, in hopes of stealing their ships, but little does Riddick know that these bastards are all here for one thing and one thing only: Him. And trust me, they aren’t going to leave until they get him.
As you all have probably seen on this blog in the past couple of days, I’ve been doing a little bit of meet-and-greet with the past two entries of the Riddick franchise and suffice to say: I’m not all that impressed. Yes, the first one is good in a type of dumb, B-movie way, but that second one? You know, that over-bloated, over-long, over-budgeted mess? Yup, that’s the one that really left a sour taste in my mouth and had me expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. Because when you think about it: No movie starring Vin Diesel is really going to be considered “good”. It’s mostly going to be entertaining, and mainly in a dumb way.
So, with that in my mind, I’m glad to tell you that this is the best of the franchise, even if I do say that with a whole slew of reservations. Great, so where do I begin? Oh yeah, that’s right: Writer/director David Twohy himself.
I’ll give Twohy some honest credit, he’s one of the very rare directors that will take a rather “crappy” franchise, and continue to come back to it each installment, adding a little something new here and there, just to spice things up. However, I think the spice that he delivered with the last two, weren’t anywhere to be found here, and if they were around, lingering, then they were terribly misguided. Take for example, the opening 20-25 minutes of this movie. When we first meet Riddick here in this flick, we see him all alone on this planet, looking for food, finding shelter, and basically just reminiscing over the decisions he’s made in the past, good or bad. It’s very intriguing because it starts off slow, small, and with barely any dialogue from Diesel. It’s just a lot of heavy-staring, male-posturing and fighting; and I didn’t have a problem with that really. It was just weird seeing this come from a big-budget, relatively mainstream movie in a major franchise.
However, I get what Twohy was doing this all for, he wanted to get us all familiarized with the character once again and give us plenty of time with him, because once the first 20-25 minutes are over, then the bounty hunters come swooping in, and things start to get away from Riddick, and more towards these less interesting, far more annoying characters. But the problem isn’t mainly the shift in the middle (even though it’s clearly evident when watching how drastic of a change in pace and story-telling it is), it’s mostly that the flick is close to being 2 hours long, but it feels like 4. No movie like this should be a near-2 hours; that is unless it’s fun, exciting, and keeps the pace going at a nice speed to where you don’t even bother checking your watch or cellular device. But the pace here is slow, meandering, random, and very uneventful, even when it should be.
The moments that Twohy obviously wants to pack a heavier punch with than before, don’t really hit hard or have you feeling the full adrenaline-rush like the first one did. I’ll give Twohy credit for giving us some time with this character and laying down the groundwork for what was to be his story, told once again on the big screen, but when it comes to actually giving us a story that pops, snaps, and delivers when it needs to, I just can’t. Too much time is spent focusing on these characters, and putting even more of an eye on a premise that should have been done in practically 90 minutes or less. It would have been that simple, but seeing as how Twohy and Diesel rarely get to work their assess off in Hollywood nowadays, it’s no wonder why they wanted to spend as much time and money in front of our eyes, just in case we never see them together again.
Who knows, this may just be the last Riddick movie we ever get? Keep an open mind, folks.
But as much bashing as I am doing of this movie, I can’t say that I didn’t have fun and at least enjoy the loud brashness of this material. Yes, it’s god-awfully dumb, stupid, innate and corny as can be, but could have I expected anything different? Or, scratch that, anything more “sophisticated” to make my brain do a little work? Hell no! I mean, look at it: The summer season ended not too long ago and I’m still reeling for some loud-ass explosions, nasty brawls, hot girls, even hotter locations, and some extra cheese added on, in any way I can get ’em. If this is the movie that’s going to give them to movie, then that will suffice. God, man! I’m going to miss summer!
And even though this may or may not be his last outing as Riddick, Vin Diesel still knows how to play this character, and still make him interesting and fun to watch on screen. This time around, we get to see more of a humane-side to him than ever before, and he’s actually a lot dirtier now too. And I’m not talking about the fact that he doesn’t take showers, I’m talking about his potty-mouth. Seeing him actually talk and interact with actual human-beings and use all of his wit to his advantage made this movie a whole lot more enjoyable to watch, and made me feel like Riddick himself was the smartest guy in the room, no matter how determined the other characters around him were. Diesel always seemed like his heart was in this character, and it’s glad to see that he can still pull it off, last outing or not.
While Diesel does do his whole “low-volume delivery” thing that everybody knows, and I guess, love him for, the rest of the cast ain’t so bad either, it’s just that they’re characters are sometimes so bad and so thinly-written, it’s damn-near offensive. One of the most glaring examples of that statement is Jordi Molla as the sleazy creep-of-a-leader of the bounty hunters who (literally) wants Riddick’s head in a box. No joking, you see the box many of times! And when he’s not trying to intimidate the hell out of Riddick, however that’s humanly possible, he’s losing control of his boner over Katee Sackhoff’s character, who makes many mentions of being a lesbian, but still seems to get all hot and ready for Riddick whenever he comes around, so I don’t know. Maybe I’m over-thinking it a bit too much, but at least she’s good, and isn’t as terrible as Molla’s character was. Honestly though, does every Mexican baddie have to speak a line of Spanish at least twice in every movie? Better yet, does it always have to be non-subtitled? I know, I’m a spoiled, middle-class American. Just saying though.
Consensus: All obvious flaws with pacing, running-time, and direction aside, Riddick never fully takes itself seriously, so neither should you and instead, should just embrace it for being one of the last big, stupid summer blockbuster, even if it is September already.
6.5 / 10 = Rental!!