It is through the pure love of the character, Richard B. Riddick, by actor Vin Diesel and writer/director David Twohy that this third film was even put to film. After 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick crashed very hard at the box office it was easy to think that the tales of the night seeing convict were at an end. Diesel and Twohy gathered up $38 million from various backers to help fund another movie, taking Riddick back to a smaller scale single story, instead of a bloated, world-saving adventure.
Good move, guys.
You may or may not remember that at the end of The Chronicles of Riddick he was assuming the throne of the Necromongers, having killed the Lord Marshal. If you don’t remember, just imagine the last fight at the end of David Lynch’s Dune with better special effects and Vin Diesel killing Sting and you should be good to go. Now, as leader, Riddick wants to go searching for his lost home world of Furya. Vaako (Karl Urban, in a brief appearance), gives Riddick a heading and when he reaches the planet he is betrayed by the Necromonger guards and left for dead on the wrong planet.
The first part of the movie is spent with Riddick doing his best Tom Hanks in Cast Away, getting back to his animal side and learning to survive in less than inviting conditions. Now where Hanks had to deal with learning to fish, make camp fires and talking to a ball with a face on it, Riddick has to reset a broken leg, domesticate a feral ocelot creature and fight against large reptilian creatures that hide in water and move across the planet with the rain.
When Riddick makes his way to an emergency beacon station and sends out a distress call, this calls two groups of mercenaries that are looking to collect on the bounty which is double if Riddick is brought back dead. This begins the Riddick fun of him beginning to take out guys one by one until they realize that they all have to work together to get off the planet as the rain comes and brings the creatures to their doorstep. Here is where it gets like Pitch Black with the game of survival and it works again because this is the Riddick character that everyone wants to see, not the destined leader of the Necromongers while saving a holy man’s family. He is a killer that occasionally does what he can for other people…provided they can help him in return.
The cast of mercenaries is mostly “who is that” and “I have seen them somewhere” except for the inclusion of ex-wrestler and recent Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista and Battlestar Galactica star and nerd goddess Katee Sackhoff, who I will go ahead and help out the movie’s box office right now, has her first nude scene. That sound you hear is a lot of BSG fans either getting in their car to go see the movie or hitting up Google at the same time.
Riddick is big, dumb action fun. You know, like 83% of Vin Diesel movies. The lines are eye-rolling and still illicit laughs even though you have something inside you asking “why the hell am I laughing?”. The action is good and is always a great thing to see Katee Sackhoff beat the shit out of people and that wasn’t even the movie I was paying to see. Diesel is clearly having fun playing Riddick again especially after the long wait between movies and how hard he had to work to get the movie off the ground. This is pure popcorn fare of the highest order and you will either have some fun watching Riddick chopping off heads and talking about going balls deep in someone or you will curse whoever asked you to go to the theater to see it.
For me, I had a good time with Riddick’s return and actually would not mind another flick with the character. Just remember to keep it small.