Friday, September 6, 2013

Review of the Return of Richard B. Riddick

Riddick ~ Rising from the depths | A Constantly Racing Mind

"The first crime is becoming civilized."
Riddick” is clever, smart, funny, brutal, and a careful study of the character that Vin Diesel made famous in the 2000 film "Pitch Black."  Riddick finds our infamous escaped convict in bad shape and looking for a ride home.  Produced by Diesel, and written and directed by David Twohy, this third film depicts Riddick in a different light.  For those who cared less for the first two films won't care much for this episode.  On the other hand, this film is made for those out there who have been clamoring for more of the Furyan, Riddick.
The first film, "Pitch Black" made on a budget of $23 million, made about $39 million domestically and another $13 million in foreign sakes.  The second film, "The Chronicles of Riddick," was epic in nature.  The film had an epic budget of $105 million and a story that spanned several planets and special effects that were also grander in scale.  In spite of the low critic ratings, Twohy and Diesel decided to give the fans something new to chew on.
"There are bad days, and there are legendary bad days. The whole damn planet wants a piece of me."
The bridge between "The Chronicles of Riddick" is detailed in the first 15 minutes.  Choosing to narrate the sordid details of his fall from the throne of the Lord Marshal, Riddick reminds me of a down and out gumshoe from a detective novel. Why not, he was left for dead with a broken leg on a desert planet.  He fixes his own leg (by re-breaking it - and he even puts in his own screws to keep the bone in place) and makes friends with the CGI created local wild dog-like creatures.  It's an animal thing.  There is a humane and playful side to Riddick.  There is also the ruthless and brutal side as well.  Like "Pitch Black," "Riddick" stays on one planet and deals with the deadly creatures this planet has to offer. 

Riddick ~ Dahl kicks ass | A Constantly Racing Mind

After finding a tin shed in the middle of nowhere, the place turns out to be a mercenary/bounty hunter outpost.  The place is a rest stop and is open to all Marcs.  Riddick sends a beacon and lets all who cares know that he is on the planet: Richard B. Riddick, murderer.  The first to arrive are Santana (Jordi MollĂ  - "Knightand Day") and his crew of bounty hunters that seem to be Hispanic characters from the "Wild Bunch," or "The Three Amigos.”  The second to arrive is a more organized group of bounty hunters -- they have matching uniforms and badges.  They are led by Boss Johns -- yes the father of William J. Johns, the bounty hunter from "Pitch Black.”  Second in command is badass Katee Sackhoff ("Battlestar Galactica") as Dahl.  The two crews totals 11 against Riddick, not fair, you say?  You are correct, it is unfair, and the crew needs to double that number to make it a fair fight. 

The lull before the storm comes near the middle of the film where we have to put up with the two crews squabbling for the right to kill Riddick and Dahl kicking Santana's ass a few times, we find the two crews forming an uneasy alliance in order to take on Riddick.  The fact of the matter is, Diesel and Twohy decided to return to the core story in "Pitch Black" so that they can reboot their own franchise.  In fact, the scene where the surviving bounty hunters are about to decide Riddick's fate, chained and subdued, he tells Johns the tale of how his son met his fate.  Same number of crash survivors, deadly creatures outside on a dark and rainy night.  The similarities are as striking as the differences in the two films.  Once again, Riddick is in chains, both time held by man with the last name of Johns.  Both times, he clangs the chains and makes menacing predictions of their fates. 

Riddick ~ A Furyan and his dog | A Constantly Racing Mind

The differences are in directing styles, and in the amount of time that Riddick's character is built into something more than your usual anti-hero trope.  The man is lonely, he is homesick, he is humane to animals that are friendly to him, and he is utilitarian in how he goes about killing all who threatens him.  The two are working, not only to move to more sequels but to making this vicious character into something more likable or at least understandable.  The action scenes are fun, and paced out throughout the film.  There are new types of space ships and the now familiar motorcycles that were popularized in the "Star Wars" films, and seen similar models in "Priest" and in "Star Trek."  The creatures on planet M-334/G were nocturnal Raptor-like creatures while on this Not-Furya planet, they are weird looking, and water bound, snake-like, venomous scorpion creatures. 

"Leave God out of this, he wants no part of this!"

While Riddick is main character, the members of the bounty hunter crews help support to build the atmosphere as Santana's crew know of and fear Riddick's reputation.  While on Johns' crew, Dahl is the big standout.  Although Dahl states emphatically that she doesn't do men, her inner – Starbuck character stands out.  Musically, the film is reminiscent of "Pitch Black" in many ways.  Graeme Revell who wrote the original score for "Pitch Black" writes new music but weaves familiar themes back into this film.

Riddick ~ Richard B. Riddick | A Constantly Racing Mind
This is an action film at the basic core.  The story is not as deep as in "The Chronicles of Riddick,” there is no need to delve into the concept of the Underverse and how one transcends into Necromonger Nirvana.  By the way, Karl Urban reprises his role as Lord Vaako, only briefly in the beginning of the film.  This story is not as complex and the jokes are cheap and usually at Dahl's expense.  For action-film buffs this is standard fare and is a welcome break, for non-Riddick fans, this film is definitely forgettable.  However, for the rest of us who have been waiting for Riddick's return, this is another Vin Diesel film in my collection.  

In Theaters September 6th, 2013.


Riddick - Creature Trailers
Riddick ~ Motion Comic
Riddick ~ Cinema Spot
Riddick Rule The Dark ~ New Poster 
Riddick ~ New Trailer
Riddick Is Back!

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Year: 2013
Staring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff
Director: David Twohy
Producer(s): Vin Diesel, Ted Field, Samantha Vincent
Writer: David Twohy, Jim Wheat
Rating: R
Running Time: 119 minutes
Release Date: 9/6/2013

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