• Year:2013
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:David Twohy
  • Cast:Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Karl Urban, Bokeem Woodbine
  • Release Date:September 12, 2013
  • Distributor:Warner
  • Running time:118 minutes
  • Film Worth:$14.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Though marred by uneven pacing and over-familiarity, this remains a solid return to form for Vin Diesel’s intergalactic tough guy.

review image bd5ab83cfd6a27acb291.jpg

Proving to be an unlikely Hollywood empire-builder, Vin Diesel follows up his skilled maintenance of the Fast & Furious franchise by reheating the character of intergalactic badass, Richard B. Riddick, who was first introduced in 2000’s enjoyably grim-and-nasty sci-fi horror flick, Pitch Black, and was then nearly metaphorically killed off by the failure of the profoundly awful, horribly overblown 2004 sequel, The Chronicles Of Riddick. Surviving in various animations and video games, the character of Riddick has long been a passion project for Vin Diesel, and he finally gets his cinematic due once again in Riddick, which takes a back-to-basics approach, and thankfully pulls away from the wrong-headed sub-Frank Herbert silliness of its tedious predecessor.

As the film begins, Riddick extricates himself from the narrative of the second film, and winds up abandoned on a barren world populated by alien beasts in what promises to be a lonely future filled with pain and suffering. Going from bad to worse, Riddick soon realises that the planet’s principal inhabitants are mud-dwelling, carnivorous reptiles who thrive and survive in what little water there is on the orb’s sun-scorched surface. But with clouds quickly rolling in, Riddick realises that there’s a storm coming, and with it the torrents of water that will give the dormant critters full reign to rip and tear. Desperate to get off-world, Riddick finds an abandoned outpost, and sets off a beacon that attracts the attention of two shiploads of mercenaries, providing him with both a new set of enemies, and the only means with which he can save his own skin.

Directed with a disappointing sluggishness by regular helmer, David Twohy, Riddick effectively refigures its title character as a loner badass, but it also hedges a little too closely to the plot of Pitch Black, which had an isolated Riddick battling a horde of night-flying reptilian nasties on a similarly barren planet. Rather than a sense of suspenseful slow-burn, there are long stretches in the new film where nothing much happens. When the action does come, however, it’s of the appropriately gruesome, bone-rattling variety. Combined with strong work from Vin Diesel (truly at home in the battered skin of his compelling eponymous anti-hero), and solid support from Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff, an entertainingly unhinged Jordi Molla, and impressive Aussie actor, Matt Nable (as the vengeful father of Cole Hauser’s Riddick-dispensed villain from Pitch Black), it makes Riddick an acceptable sci-fi actioner, though after all this time, it ultimately rates as a safe return for the title character, rather than one that really grabs the audience by the throat and goes in for the kill.

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