Riddick (2013)
August 7, 2019 1:46 PM - Subscribe

Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick (Vin Diesel) finds himself up against an alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, the other captained by a man from Riddick's past.

Five years after Kyra's death, Riddick has become increasingly uneasy in his role as Lord Marshal of the Necromonger fleet. His refusal to swear into the Necromonger faith has caused dissent among his subjects and assassination attempts by his subordinates. After the latest attempt on his life, Riddick strikes a deal with Commander Vaako: the location of Furya and a ship to take him there, in exchange for Vaako succeeding him as the next Lord Marshal, so that he can achieve what he calls transcendence. Led by Vaako's aide, Krone, Riddick and a group of Necromongers arrive on a desolate planet. Realizing that it is not Furya, Riddick kills most of his escort when they attempt to assassinate him. In the chaos, Krone causes a landslide and buries Riddick alive.

Anthony Lane: Riddick, which etymologists will recognize as the Old English noun from which we derive the word “ridiculous,” is also the name of a character played by Vin Diesel. He first appeared in “Pitch Black” (2000), and again, four years later, in “The Chronicles of Riddick.” Now, under the hand of the same director, David Twohy, he is back, in a film simply titled “Riddick.” The vast armies that plagued the previous movie have melted away, and we find ourselves, as we did at the start of the franchise, in a wasteland—a sparse and hostile arena, in which a handful of desperadoes tussle to survive and, God willing, to come out on top. Think of a Senate committee, stranded in faraway space, and you’re almost there.

Abbie Bernstein: Overall, filmmaker Twohy seems to have learned to lighten up. There is still plenty of violence and gore, but the mood is more Tarantino than it is, say, EQUILIBRIUM, so a lot of RIDDICK is fun. This includes just about all of the creature stuff, including a canine that looks something like a cross between a hyena, a German Shepherd and a zebra, and a lot of giant venomous critters. Some of the human action is good, too, with Twohy and Molla milking suspense from a sequence with an explosive safe lock. . . RIDDICK is one of those movies that, once you watch it, is destined to likely get mixed up in most people’s minds with a lot of other movies that are sort of like it. However, for the time that it’s onscreen, it’s diverting enough to merit a watch.

Charles Webb: Sure, "Riddick" is silly, a little overblown, and pretty weird when it comes to its own sexual politics, but it's also a well-crafted B-movie with lots of expertly-crafted action by writer-director David Twohy. . . Looking back on this review, I've loaded it with what seems like a lot of backhanded compliments. But in a summer of bloated, largely complicated blockbusters with very little interesting to say, "Riddick" knows what it is and what it wants to achieve. Violent, strange, and with ever-escalating stakes, this is the definition of a well-crafted B-movie. More importantly, "Riddick" is a worthy followup to "Pitch Black" and a nice reminder that you should probably rewatch "Pitch Black." While I'm not sure that we need more stories about Richard B. Riddick out there, this is a solid return to form for the character.

posted by Carillon (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Just saw it, not having known this exits, based on Carillon posting [pitch black] the [chronicles] trilogy [this thread].

I enjoyed the heck out of this.

Could be considered a pretty good 'crime thriller' (bank robbery sub-type, 'bottle' specialization) flick.

Felt a strong film-school/ arts-student vibe, low budget/ artsy aesthetics with a lot of $$$ shortcuts (compare CG and set budgets; both pretty darned good but the aesthetics are a throwback, ie. the "experimental"(set design)-look tech toys and tools physical sets/ costumes, and then the B-actor acting/ script - that and the arts school cinematography beats), and corporate family pleaser checkboxes. Bit all over the place, but it's a fun film if a little predictable.

The B-script is kind of endearing, actually. I really really dig the aesthetics. The physical set details are good. Very good.

I didn't find the pupper sidekick to be annoying at all. A little unbelievable, but whatever/ xenobiology. Dave Bautista really has good comedic timing. Sackhoff (new Starbuck) playing it straight is a positive.

Like the original Pitch Black, the scifi ecology worldbuilding is aggressive and very creative and (scientifically) could be a hell of a lot worse.

As a D&D player, I could see how Diesel might have done this for the love for the epic backstory campy script and the well executed nerdy details.

I'm a total sucker for too large/ too near moons. The tectonically active lava world made me swoon (why, yes, that's one of the reasons why I gave Predators (2010) a lot of benefit of the doubt - they even mention celestial engineering and moving planets; which begs 'what's more difficult than a three body problem'?).

I'd watch the next installation of this property, if they keep similar values, for sure.

There was a little bit of a 'King Conan' tease near the beginning of the film - I could definitely watch the heck out of a similar 'King Riddick' treatment (which never happened for 'King Conan').
posted by porpoise at 8:26 PM on August 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

porpoise, you might appreciate this article that connects to to his passion project and how it's connected to his love of D&D.
posted by Carillon at 10:08 PM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm a full-on apologist for the first two, but this one struck me as emptier, almost dull really, and a step backward overall—OTOH, I've only seen it once. One of these days I'm sure I'll give it a second chance.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:31 AM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm right there with you Cheeses, I liked the first two movies, but felt this one was a regression towards both a more run of the mill actioner and had some more unfortunate attitudes involved in the story as well. It's not even close to the worst movie I've seen or anything, but it was a bit of a disappointment after liking the general direction the first two seemed to go in. (Not that they were problem free either of course.)
posted by gusottertrout at 3:55 AM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Riddick and the Space Dog? While I agree that this film has plenty of content issues, I actually like this one quite a bit (though it is a trifle too long). And yeah its Vin Diesel with a CGI space dog so my expectations for such were set fairly low but it worked better for me then the previous bloated Chronicles of Riddick which I found unwieldy and confusing (especially in relation to Pitch Black) despite some nice design work & the presence of Colm Feore.

I did appreciate that the director and Karl Urban felt the need to make sure this fit with the previous film by including that little prelude. So there's some obvious love for this strange little movie series from the Vin Diesel and David Twohy. I think there deserves to be more space for films like this -- dumb but idiosyncratic action films with a strong sense of the world they inhabit and where all members of the production are on the same page. I put the two John Hyams directed Universal Soldiers films in the same category. Maybe the Resident Evil films?
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:31 PM on August 8, 2019

I was equally disappointed in this originally but rewatching it yesterday, I actually rather liked it. It's a bit too close to the first one and doesn't do much to the mythos of the universe, but it's an enjoyable enough of an action film.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:11 AM on August 9, 2019

Not as "world buildy" as Chronicles for my preference, but still fun sci-fi action. Sackhoff is fast becoming the go-to actress for no-budget sci-fi/horror (if she isn't already). Not sure why the guy who said "this dialogue needs 10x more f-bombs" was encouraged, it was a bit inordinate, but oh well.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:15 PM on August 12, 2019

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