Friday, September 6

Riddick Review

Dir: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Matt Nable, and Jordi Molla

There is a brutish yet fun quality that the title character Richard B. Riddick brings to the science-fiction action franchise started in 2ooo. Portrayed by seminal tough guy with a growling voice, Vin Diesel seems tailored for the role. “Pitch Black”, the first in the series, crafts an eerie survival film amidst a swarm of aliens. “The Chronicles of Riddick” banking on the success of the first film, expands the world with a disorganized bigger story that loses sight of the simple enjoyment of the founding film. “Riddick” dials the storytelling back and tightens the focus, that makes for an altogether forgettable, yet fun film.

Riddick is betrayed and left for dead on a barren planet. Hurt, Riddick fights for survival looking for food and water while fending off a few well-designed, man-eating creatures. But, as Riddick seems constructed, he becomes the dominant force on the planet to the extent of raising a young hyena/dog hybrid into an obedient traveling companion. He is looking for a way off the planet and his salvation comes in the form of a group of mercenaries looking to collect a bounty placed on Riddick’s head.

Writer/director David Twohy throws some clever touches into the film, playing with narrative themes and tones, though at numerous moments the film lingers close to the edge of self-destruction. The film begins as a reintroduction of the title character, giving quick insight into the backstory of the second film and into the thoughts of Riddick through a narrative voice-over. While this becomes time-consuming, there are a few good moments. In one instance, emulating a moment from a classic film, Riddick cleanses himself of his old, more compassionate persona and returns to the menacing mentality he's known for. A relationship established with a CGI animal that was impressively rendered but also functioned as Riddick’s sole emotional companion on the desert planet brings a nice element to accommodate his solitude.

Once the mercenaries arrive to track down Riddick, the film shifts tone and focuses on the group of hunters, transitioning the hunted into a secondary character. The mercenaries are composed of the usual archetypes, though they are given more personality than most films offer. The tone shifts to something similar to a horror film; Riddick becoming a predator in the vein of a slasher film. The tension develops surprisingly tight, offering jump scares that are quite obvious though executed with enough violence to remain startling. It's an interesting change in form, but Twohy accomplishes the transition with positive effects.

“Riddick” isn’t a great film, at times it’s not even a good one, but it has some clever narrative switches and fashions a nice atmosphere with some suitable visual effects. Riddick is a simple character that Vin Diesel makes something more than just ordinary. The dialog is terribly stiff and the narrative overly predictable; but the film, once violence and blood ridden dust settles, accomplishes the task of being distractingly, mindlessly entertaining.

Monte’s Rating
2.75 out of 5.00

No comments:

Post a Comment