(R and Unrated)
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Vin Diesel as RIDDICK
Jordi Mollà as SANTANA
Matt Nable as BOSS JOHNS
Katee Sackoff as DAHL
Dave Bautista as DIAZ
Bokeem Woodbine as MOSS
Directed by: David Twohy
BY KEVIN CARR
There a certain appeal that the Riddick movies have for me. They’re not particularly good movies, but there’s something about them that I do respect and enjoy.
Coming off the mostly nonsensical “Chronicles of Riddick,” the simply-titled “Riddick” goes back to the “Pitch Black” well. The story finds Riddick (Vin Diesel), having gotten lazy and complacent as the leader of the Necromongers, betrayed and left for dead on a hostile world. However, never being one to surrender, Riddick builds himself back up to fighting shape as he becomes master of his domain.
When Riddick discovers an outpost on the world, he uses it to send a message into space, letting anyone and everyone know where he is. Soon, two groups of bounty hunters – one a gang of criminals and the other a more organized military force – come to the planet with hopes of bringing home Riddick as the prize. However, Riddick is using them for a way to get off world, and soon the hostile creatures on the planet start to attack, and all have to band together.
Compared to the other films in the series, “Riddick” falls somewhere in the middle. It’s not as fresh as “Pitch Black” was, but the characters are better formed. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than “Chronicles of Riddick,” but it doesn’t have the same scope.
Still, that’s okay considering this is nothing more than disposable action sci-fi. The fact that a movie like this is released in theaters is a great thing, as I appreciate any widespread distribution of what amounts to nothing more than B-movies. Sure, the quality of the story isn’t quite up to snuff if you want to spend full price at the theater, but it’s better than most of the similar movies that ended up on basic cable in the 90s.
The unrated director’s cut comes with a couple new scenes, which are actually included in the bonus material from the DVD. Edited into the movie, it makes about as much sense as “Chronicles of Riddick” did, but that’s par for the course for these Necromongers.
Blu-ray exclusive features include three featurettes: “The World of Riddick,” “Riddickian Tech” and The Twohy Touch.” The disc also includes the DVD features “Vin’s Riddick” and “Meet the Mercs.”
Overall, “Riddick” is a perfectly fine sci-fi action film that will kill a couple hours on a lazy Saturday. And on top of everything else, it’s nice to see Diesel in charge of his own franchise, which relies on fan support more than studio meddling.