<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by David Twohy. Starring Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, Nolan Gerard Funk
Slow, plodding but with hints of 80s sci-fi characteristics, Riddick tells you very little about the man and doesn’t do anything for the genre either but it gets by with some bits of cleverness.
Not having seen either Pitch Black or The Chronicles of Riddick – simply because I’m actually not a fan of Vin Diesel – I don’t know much about the background to this story and I don’t think you’ll need to know either.
Our titular hero played by the ever-popular Vin Diesel has been left for dead on a desolate planet but true to his never-say-die attitude he resurrects himself from the dead, fights off dingo-dongos, electric eels and a very Alien-like monster and then signals for help. Unfortunately it is from bounty hunters who come to collect his head in a box, wanted inter-galactic criminal that he is.
One group of mercenaries is headed by Santana (Jordi Molla) a bungling, over-confident brute who at first tells the leader of the other group to fuck off. The second group are there for Riddick but for a different purpose. Boss Johns (Matt Nable) and his crew of uniformed shipmates are more organised and decide to let Santana try his luck. But Riddick proves to be relatively sharp footed and quicker than you’d expect Santana crawls to Johns for help.
The first half of Riddick sees very little dialogue from our protagonist. He survives, he hunts, he builds, he adopts a dingo puppy, he harvests alien venom and injects it into said pup and himself. In fact, during the entire two hours (yes it is a tad long) Vin Diesel hardly says much. Well if you don’t count his deep, trying-to-be-philosophical voice over that is.
Vin Diesel has that particular appeal about him – machismo meets bravado meets fucking bad ass but cool as a cucumber persona – which both young boys and grown women love. Maybe it’s the raw animal magnetism and primal cave man image that he represents. Women seem to be drawn to his brutish charm.
Riddick, just like Vin Diesel, is on a high of testosterone. It’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m the cool dude, unflinching in the face of death, and I’ll get that one lesbian babe to ask me to fuck her, but she’ll ask me real sweet like’. The self-admitted but probably not lesbian babe is the only female character (apart from a prisoner who it is implied has been raped by Santana’s crew and then set free only to be killed) in Johns’s crew called Dahl (Katee Sackhoff). They’ve made her all butch and tough as nails but by the end our ‘lesbian’ says, “I want to ask you real sweet like…” Oh well.
Though Karl Urban was in the last film and is there as a very brief flashback in this one he still features in the credits. I found that a bit strange. What I liked was Riddick’s bonding with his pet dingo dog. Showed a more caring and humane side to him.
There are some clever bits in the film like the one with the secured bomb lock that Santana has to open after they think Riddick has tampered with it. Very clever ploy to get what Riddick wants.
It’s not very fast paced nor is it edge-of-the-seat but it’s satisfactory viewing for the Vin Diesel fan.