The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he's encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.
The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won't leave the planet without Riddick's head as their trophy.
Let me say that I think Pitch Black is one of the most underrated science-fiction films of the past 20 years. I’m a big fan. I didn’t mind The Chronicles of Riddick even though others seem to have a problem with it. Heck, the film is just Diesel’s homage to Dungeons & Dragons. So needless to say, I was looking forward to Riddick. Opening in September seemed a bit suspect and it has one of my least favorite actresses in it, but never the less, I was still hoping for a watchable film. So what did I think?
It pains me to say this, but Riddick makes John Carter seem like The Empire Strikes Back or 2001: A Space Odyssey. If this opened in the summer, it would have made my worst of summer list. I don’t know how it happened, but man I did not like this movie one bit.
First of all it starts out with a voiceover narration from Diesel. He has a distinct voice so I get using it, but I’m not a fan of narration during a film. It didn’t work for me. Second, the actress, who shall remain nameless, makes me laugh whenever I see her on screen. The CGI space dog in the film has more acting range than her and seeing her in movies makes me wish Kristen Stewart did more flicks. Third, the first hour is so slow and uneventful it felt like John Carter especially with the fact that the space dog was the only enjoyable character. It picked up a bit towards the end, but by that point I simply didn’t care. And if you haven’t seen Pitch Black in a while, you might not even remember the storyline of Johns in this.
I went in wanting to like Riddick, I swear I did. I like Vin Diesel. The Fast & the Furious franchise continues to get better and better and he’s done other solid work in Saving Private Ryan, Boiler Room and more. Unfortunately it just took forever for any build up. I didn’t really get into any of the characters and completely rooted for one of them to be killed (I won’t spoil it and say if they did or didn’t). About the only highlight is Dave Bautista. The former WWE star will never win an Oscar, but he’s good in roles like this and will continue to pick up supporting meathead type jobs. He’s not on Dwayne Johnson’s level, but he’ll be a solid go to body guard, tough guy, mercenary type.
The fact that a CGI space dog and a former professional wrestler are my two positives of the film should tell you something. This movie just went badly for me. It lacked the interest and originality of Pitch Black and pretty much just felt like a gimme film for Diesel for doing all the Fast & Furious movies for Universal. And the ending? Don’t get me started on that ridiculousness.