In Riddick: Rule the Dark the main character is looking for a way off the planetary rock where he’s been abandoned. While he is at it, he should have been in search of the film’s plot. It opens Friday, Sept. 6, on area screens.
The premise of the third flick following the adventures of the futuristic badass is flimsy enough to see through and features what’s come to be expected of this Vin Diesel starring vehicle – raw language, gore and violence.
In those regards, it delivers. Christ does it deliver.
From slimy, snake-like crab creatures, to the native dingos on his home to the eventual humans that come into his path, there’s death and gore to behold.
Riddick (Diesel), for those who managed to miss the films Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, is a hunted man. He has bounty hunters looking for him for the rather huge price on his head – literally. There’s a significant reward if he’s caught alive. It doubles (with proof) if he’s killed in the process. Needless to say that this dude hasn’t met a lot of people with whom he’s been able to bond.
That includes the military leaders of the most recent planet he’s lived. Despite the fact that he’s eventually made king and given all of the title’s trappings, they can’t want to be rid of him. Greed and avarice play a role in that, but if they consider the dude an asshat, that can be understood.
They strand Riddick on a planet by tricking him that it’s his home world (apparently, the guy isn’t too bright), leaving him to die.
Of course he’s resourceful enough to survive, perform a couple of surgeries on himself and fend off any indigenous predator that might want to hasten his demise and dine on his carcass. After eventually finding a mercenary shelter on the planet (sans any mercenaries), he hatches his plan to get off the planet. He activates the emergency homing beacon bringing one band of merry mercs to his party – and make little mistake about it, it’s his party. This ragtag bunch of scumbags includes an unhinged leader with an equal thirst for violence that also includes rape. Yeah, you root for that one to die.
But the beacon also brings another group led by Johns (Matt Nable), a man with a distinct agenda, and a crew that features Dahl (Battlestar Galactica’s Katie Sackhoff who will give fanboys of The Big Bang Theory variety a brief thrill) his gung-ho assistant.
Riddick has but one goal which he writes on a wall in the shelter: “leave one ship or die here.” Of course both crews ignore him, setting up some grisly battles.
Diesel gives what’s expected here, a minimalist performance filled with grunts, dry one-liners and the like. It’s not like the character is an engineer or something.
Nable is at least earnest as a frustrated man looking for answers that evaded him for a decade. As for Sackhoff, she’s been unable to find a role that suits her underappreciated talents since Galactica went off the air a few years back. But at least she gets to go all Starbuck again.
Ultimately, the film is a no-brainer risk for its releasing studio. Diesel, courtesy of two white hot recent entries into the Fast and Furious series, has a star in ascension again – best to take advantage before it burns out – once again.
Riddick will find an audience, but the suspicion here is that it could hasten his burn out.
Movie: Riddick: Rule the Dark
Director: David Twohy
Cast: Vin Diesel, Katie Sackhoff, Matt Nable
Studio: Universal Studios
Rated: R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
Running time: 119 minutes
George’s rating: 2.5-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com