Movie Review: More unwanted chronicles of “Riddick”

riddick-review1half-star“Riddick,” a movie that might have been titled “A Diesel and his Digital Dingo-dongo Dog,” is built to mirror the signature traits of its star. Like Vin Diesel, it has bulk, lumbering clumsily along as it repeats Diesel’s greatest hits — the ones that don’t require him to drive a fast and furious car.
It’s the third movie in Diesel’s career-making “Pitch Black” (2000) trilogy, roughly (VERY roughly) picking up where 2004’s “The Chronicles of Riddck” left off.
The human convict has been dumped and left for dead on a planet covered with desert and just enough water holes to survive. And it’s all just a tad…familiar.
Riddick narrates his saga, his new life on a place where “the whole damned planet wanted a piece of me.” Yeah, there are beastly birds and eels and scorpion-like monsters that come out when it rains.
Familiar. Except for the dogs, deep space dingos or hyenas, one of whom he befriends and trains to be his pal.
It’s just him and the dog until he stumbles across a “mercenary post,” where he sends out a distress call, luring two competing teams of bounty hunters, which he can then pick off, one by one. Jordi Molla and and Matt Nable are the feuding mercenary bosses who long to collect the price on Riddick’s head–and only his head. But they aren’t hearing Riddick’s narration. He tries to warn them.
“It’s always the punch you don’t see coming that puts you down.”
Diesel is wholly engaged in the project, unlike the last few “Furious” pictures, where sleepwalking was allowed. He grimaces through Riddick’s self-surgery, scowls as he fights various digital beasts and turns all David Caruso with Riddick’s omnipresent sunglasses.
The supporting players and mainly here to be sadists, and the fetchingly brawny Katee Sackoff, as a lesbian mercenary aptly named “Dahl”, stands out in that crew.
But this is a slow, unexciting thriller lacking the edge-of-the-seat suspense of “Pitch Black.” The story arc — spree killing convict redeems himself by killing monsters and saving people — is the same, but there’s no snap to it.
Idiotically, Diesel and his collaborator in all things Riddick, writer-director David Twohy, expect us to remember details from the first two films — not blockbusters, from a decade ago — expect us to care that they conned Karl Urban into a thankless cameo reprising a role he played in “The Chronicles of Riddick.”
But as bad movies go, you could do worse than having Diesel growl at a bunch of tough hombres who are already counting the bounty money they’ll collect for collecting his head, sunglasses and all.
“Will it be enough to pay for your funerals?”

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
Cast: Vin Diesel, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine
Credits: Written and directed by David Twohy, A Universal release.
Running time: 1:59

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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8 Responses to Movie Review: More unwanted chronicles of “Riddick”

  1. Cat says:

    Unwanted by who?? If this isn’t your type of movie, you shouldn’t rate or review it… Most of the reviews that you rated high were family flicks…. or PG -13, It’s a Sci-fi flick come on… Dude get a grip… When you review a movie your supposed to see the view point of all types of viewers. I can’t wait until they fire you…. Now that would make a good comedy…….

    • A longer review might wander into what the intervening years have done to humble Vinnie D., how he’s got to be happy to have the chance to revisit this character. But “Chronicles of Riddick” tanked nine years ago. He never got to make his ballyhoo’d “Hannibal” epic, he bailed out of “xXx” and the other work had dried up until “Fast” brought him back.
      Another sci-fi sequel based on one decent film and sleeper hit, and its failed sequel? From ten-15 years ago?
      “Nobody wanted it” is right on the money. If you weren’t the last jerk in America on Netzero, you’d get that.

      • Cat says:

        Ten – 15 years ago.. well if film makers didn’t pull- out of movies to make the movies that just you like…. then the movie would have been done a long time ago… these family flicks that you like are pretty much all the same… Sci-fi are only limited to the imagination..
        Did you really think I’d put my real email address on this site… Come on you did even get that right .. LOL

      • You’re throwing a lot of incorrect generalizations in with your grammatical errors. “Chronicles” bombed, Diesel was done. Ten years pass, he’s back and they revive a franchise nobody asked for. Except for you.

  2. Fan says:

    I wanted to a follow up to the chronicles of Riddick, and Diesel delivered. For movie that that nobody wanted except me, he did a good job. Bet Van Diesel’s bank account is a lot bigger than yours with this is so called bomb of movie. By the way its in first place as September 9. Sounds like some one is a little jealous of a big comeback.

    • Naah. Why’d they dump this movie in early September? The studio knew it wouldn’t make a dime in the summer. It did OK on its opening weekend — with no competition. He spent his own money on it, and it won’t break even in the US. End of discussion.

      • Hate to beat a dead horse, but it looks like Riddick is going to break even in the US. Might even make a few dollars.Don’t forget about the blue-ray and Dvd sales for us die hard fans. Now ain’t that a kick in the head.

      • It cost $38-40, plus marketing (half again the budget –figure $70 all in). And it has struggled to reach $38. In gross income, not net. So, it is a long way from breaking even, and since DVD sales fell through the floor and haven’t gotten up since 2010, well. There’s your movie math lesson for today. Not that I have a horse in this dead horse race.

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