** out of 5
Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
For anyone who has been clamoring for a sci-fi version of Marley & Me starring Vin Diesel and a CGI dog-hybrid, Riddick is for you. For anyone else, they probably don’t even know that this is the third attempt to bring theatrical validity to the titular character, and hopefully the last. It’s a good thing for Diesel that his Fast & Furious series happens to oddly be getting better with each sequel, because if any series ran out of gas before it even started, it’s this.
Riddick finds criminal Richard B. Riddick (Diesel) left for dead on a hostile alien planet. When he’s not fending off giant scorpion-looking aliens, he’s being tracked by “dingo-dangos” that look like zebra/hyena hybrids with bat ears. Taking one of the animals as his pet, Riddick attempts to create a new life, but not before a ship full of bounty hunters come to crash his party. Lead by Santana (Jordi Molla), they have arrived to collect Riddick’s head in a box—literally. Soon enough, another ship arrives carrying Boss Johns (Matt Nable) and his right-hand woman Dahl (Katee Sackhoff), with Johns looking for answers to what happened to his son.
Will Riddick save himself and find his way back to his home planet Furya, or will the bounty hunters collect his head? Either way, prepare yourself for one of the year’s most boring “action” films. Packed with the most ludicrous dialogue this side of a SyFy Original production and some of the lousiest special effects seen in years, there’s not a moment of excitement to be found in the way too long 119-minute running time. Sackhoff was obviously cast to excite the geeks (who will probably buy a ticket immediately after me telling them right now that you do get to see one of her breasts bare), but she’s as bad as you’d expect from an actress so heavily involved with television. Molla can’t deliver a line to save his life and Nable looks like a “Hawkeye” reject who just walked out of an Avengers casting call.
Director David Twohy has absolutely no idea how to make use of his IMAX alternating ratios either. Anytime we see the group of characters standing around bickering, he utilizes the full screen. When he cuts to any type of establishing shot, he switches to scope when they should be used in reverse. I’m not sure who Diesel and Twohy think their audience is anyway, especially considering neither of the first two were huge successes by any means. I guess all it shows is that Diesel loves playing the character, seeing how he’s listed as a producer and has made public that the film needs to do well since a lot of his own funds were sunk into the production costs. I hate to tell him, Riddick’s box office failure is imminent.
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures