Riddick (2013)

Summary:

Riddick features a lot of badass, if not cheesy, moments that are the standard with anti-hero films. Even though it walks the fine line between awesome and ridiculous, it’s often enjoyable thanks to Vin Diesel’s performance. The action is cathartically visceral and impressively choreographed, with just enough one-liners thrown in to keep it feeling fluid. The resolutions to the film are absolutely hollow, and characters undergo unbelievable change without any sort of catalyst. Dialogue isn’t the smartest, characters aren’t the deepest, and the story isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s an honest effort that botches a few steps here or there. Audiences that can appreciate one-liners and over the top action for coolness sake will find something to enjoy here, but Riddick (2013) will have a hard time breaking out of its cult following.

Hello and welcome back! Took a few weeks vacation time to regroup but now it’s back to the grind. This week we’re starting back up with the latest movie release, Riddick! I remember going to see The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) in theaters but it didn’t leave a very memorable impression for me and never coaxed me into starting from the beginning with Pitch Black (2000). Going into Riddick (2013) I decided to keep a relatively fresh palate and just catch up with the series with quick plot summaries. Walking out of the theater I was satisfied with my expectations but Riddick is far from a wholesome experience.

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Picking up five years after The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Riddick once again finds himself betrayed and stranded on a desolate planet. Feeling he has lost sight of his savage animal instinct, he returns to his roots by living off the unforgiving planet. However, when a severe thunderstorm threatens to awaken a horde of scorpion like monsters, Riddick has no choice but to activate an emergency beacon, alerting a group of nearby bounty hunters.

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Riddick features a lot of badass, if not cheesy, moments that are the standard with anti-hero films. Even though it walks the fine line between awesome and ridiculous, it’s often enjoyable thanks to Vin Diesel’s performance. It’s the over the top action we’ve come to know and love Vin Diesel for, and Riddick is no exception. The surrounding cast also helps keep up the fun nature, often delivering nice comedic relief during tense moments. A couple of my notable favorites were Dave Bautista (The Man with the Iron Fists) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galatica), even though Sackhoff’s character Dahl had so little to work with but more on that later.

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The film gets off to a rather slow start but gradually picks up. Its slow pace can make the film feel like a drag at times but once it gets into the stealthier parts of the film the slow crawl only adds to the tension. The action is cathartically visceral and impressively choreographed, with just enough one-liners thrown in to keep it feeling fluid. The various different monsters on the abandoned planet all sport neat designs and are menacingly fun to watch on screen. They serve as wonderful enemies for Riddick to face and each face off is as thrilling as the last. Visually the film dips here and there, but for a low budget Sci-Fi/Action film it makes the most with what it has. It won’t blow people away but it supplies enough mindless action to satisfy action junkies.

As a relative newcomer to the series, Riddick does a well enough job of standing on it’s own, filling you in with just enough details to cover for the first two films. Its simple story works to the benefit of the movie and helps keep the focus on the action and suspension. I almost feel as though Riddick (2013) is a spiritual remake of Pitch Black (2000) due the derivative feel of the film. There are a lot of similarities between the two movies and the addition of a major character that has a special history with Riddick helps show the parallels.

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Characters don’t always make the most logical choices and the believability comes into question here or there, but for the most part the first two acts are solid for what it is. The third act is where I find my biggest complaints for the film, mainly due to the rushed nature of the conclusions. The resolutions to the film are absolutely hollow, and characters undergo unbelievable change without any sort of catalyst. For a brief second I felt as though a major section of the last act was cut and was left ultimately confused.

Minor Character Spoilers

I mentioned Dahl was one of my favorite characters despite having so little to work with. For majority of the film she is a tough bounty hunter who can definitely hold her own against the chauvinistic men. Like most of the characters she serves little more purpose than cannon fodder, but at the least she maintains consistency with her tough girl persona. However, in one final scene she goes from being a sharped tongue badass who rejects any and all advances to an implied sex object for Riddick with a newfound attraction to him. It’s quick 180’s like this in the end that feel unnatural and add to the film’s hollow resolution.

End Character Spoilers

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Even though Riddick (2013) does a well enough job standing on its own story wise, it fails to execute a satisfying conclusion to tie it altogether, leaving it ultimately feeling like set up for the next installment. The rest of my complaints are rather nitpicky given the nature of the film. Dialogue isn’t the smartest, characters aren’t the deepest, and the story isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s an honest effort that botches a few steps here or there. Audiences that can appreciate one-liners and over the top action for coolness sake will find something to enjoy here, but I find it highly doubtful that Riddick (2013) will break out past a cult following.

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3 responses to “Riddick (2013)

    • Exactly! I would definitely love to see more! I mean there were definitely seeds of interesting story here, they just never really came to fruition. I liked the idea of the father mirroring the same actions of his son but succeeding where his son had failed. If they really would have hammered this a bit more, as well as more interesting plots for the other secondary characters, it would have been more than just a dumb fun movie. Here’s to next time!

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