Riddick Movie Review
Did you get the memo? Vin Diesel's career isn't dead as previously believed. Following the massive success of Fast and Furious 6, Diesel returns to another franchise that will make him some money, playing the title character in a movie no one was really clamoring for. Thankfully, Riddick is a surprisingly suspenseful action-thriller.
Despite The Chronicles of Riddick only making $115 million worldwide against a budget of $150 million (ouch), director David Twohy has somehow managed to make another movie featuring the see-in-the-dark badass space convict Riddick.
How? The budget was slashed to $60 million and the epic story arc that was started in Chronicles was dropped.
Riddick essentially ignores the previous movie in favor of a story much more similar to that in Pitch Black, but with more mercenaries and a thunder storm instead of a solar eclipse. The result: a much simpler, straightforward and exciting sequel.
The movie has three distinct acts, all entertaining in their own right. The first act relies almost exclusively on Vin Diesel's screen presence, which in fairness asks a lot of the throaty actor. More importantly, Twohy shows incredible restraint as Riddick slowly recovers from injuries and fends off a variety of dangerous creatures. The introduction is long and basic and could have easily been disastrous, but Twohy manages to build an incredible sense of dread minute by minute.
This suspense extends into the second act, which is by far the best part of the movie. Ironically, Diesel disappears for nearly the entire time, but his presence is felt throughout and it's hard not to smile as the group of mercenaries thirsting for his blood are dispatched one by one.
The third act is a bit weaker as the movie shifts away from its slow-build suspense to shoot-em-up monster action, but even still, Riddick is fun to watch.
The film's biggest shortcoming is its special effects, which were definitely impacted by the reduced budget. The sets and scenery are beautiful and the digital creatures look pretty good, but anytime actors are juxtaposed against CGI props - most notably some cheesy looking hovercrafts - Riddick looks like something out of the early 90's.
Thankfully, Riddick is entertaining enough to overcome its lackluster visual effects. Fast paced and exciting, Riddick is a ton of fun and a surprisingly strong start to the fall movie season.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.