Riddick – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

riddickRiddick – 3/5 –   This is going to be a review for the new Vin Diesel film; Riddick.  For a person who isn’t as knowledgeable of the first two films, I went into this with a fresh perspective.  With only knowing the basics, I expected to at least be entertained by the sci-fi elements.  By the end, I got what I expected, and a little more.  With some formidable characterization and common action scenes, Riddick is a film that will entertain.

Premise: Left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick is alone and fighting the elements of this strange world. After activating an emergency beacon, Riddick finds himself facing against a new breed of mercenary, including a link to his past.

Reprising his role of the titled character is Vin Diesel.  As Riddick, he provides a cool and calculated individual.  He has a charm in his gruffness, as he takes a focus to becoming true to his what he was before (in Pitch Black).  Being stranded on a desolate planet, majority of the film focuses on Riddick’s characterization.  With a lack of dialogue for most of the running time, Diesel does a great job in exuding the ‘stern’ and ‘strong’ archetype through his brass mannerisms.  No matter if it is his interactions with the planet, creatures or Mercenaries; he does a good job in providing a gritty individual.  Outside of him, the other characters are typical that can be found in any other ‘generic’ sci-fi film.  The rest of the human cast consists of mercenaries that arrive on the planet to hunt Riddick.  Within the group, some stand out are Matt Nable as Boss Johns, Katee Sackhoff as Dahl and Dave Bautista as Diaz.  These three do a good job in providing a formidable force for Riddick, but there is no strength within their character development.  For the rest of the mercenaries, they are pretty much just plot devices used to either be killed by the ‘creatures’ or ‘Riddick’.  As mentioned, another intergral part are the creatures of the planets.  From the ‘dogs’ and ‘squid like carnivores’, you get a sense of awe when watching them on screen.  They are very ‘animalistic’ in behavior; which helps provide a realistic aspect.  This also helps with adding depth for both Riddick and the film as a whole.

The film (as you watch) feels like a three part film.  The direction between all three parts is linear and flows seamlessly, but they still standout as three parts.   In the first act, we get a reintroduction to Riddick.  It is five years since the events of Chronicles of Riddick, and he is left for dead on a random planet (because of some evil circumstances).  Through this, we see a ‘reimaging’ of sorts for the film’s arching themes, as the bombastic storyline of the past films gets grounded into a singular tone.  This brings a strong ‘character focus’ for the first act.  Through a cliché ‘montage’ style, we watch as Riddick explains the fallout of the past; causing him to want to find his ‘true-self’ again.  Once the film get’s through this lengthy introduction, we are then introduced to shifting of tones for the second act. Within this part, the ‘character focus’ turns into a standard sci-fi/action film.  When the Mercenaries arrive, they have one goal; kill Riddick and get the bounty.  Even as the film shifts, it keeps to its sci-fi elements, but the fighting is grounded, keeping a structured flow from the first to second act.  After another lengthy act, we get some ‘convenient’ plot devices involving Riddick’s capture and a ‘worst case’ scenario for both parties, with the arrival of the massing squid like creatures.  Once certain events bridge the second and third act, the last part kicks the film into another gear; turning it into a ‘race against time’ scenario for the group to get off the planet.  We are then lead down the path of relevant cheesy lines, classic death scenes and a ‘pseudo’ happy ending for some of the characters. Once the film ends, you feel entertained, but there isn’t anything that stands out to make the film feel anything more than average.

The visuals of the film are a real standout part of the film.  With this being a sci-fi film, we get a very intriging and imaginative world created by the director.  From the desolate planet, to the spacecrafts/weapons and creatures, you get a sense of distinctions that helps the film stand out.  With the advancement of CGI from the previous films, you get this ‘realism’ aspect that helps encapsulate the films narrative, characters and visuals as one.  The score is a relevant part of the film, but doesn’t help or hinder its progress.

Overall, Riddick is an average action/sci-fi film.  With a strong character in Riddick, and some fun action scenes, you will be entertained.  If you’re a fan of the series or Vin Diesel, this is a film for you.

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