Riddick Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

This film is definitely very ambitious. It actually does something that I thought was clever which I’ll get into but ultimately it’s squandered away by tons of animal violence throughout the film and another batch of super unlikable characters. Seriously there is at least one character here who really should have gotten taken out way sooner. This is a survival film through and through which doesn’t hold back.

The movie starts off with Riddick stranded on a desert planet. See, he may have been strong back in the day but he’s lost a step once he became king. He allows himself to be suckered by the most obvious traitor of all time and gets absolutely devastated. I couldn’t believe this, he really just lost to a super whiny character in a situation that was obviously a trap? Well, Riddick has decided to see the silver lining here and figures he will train until he is ruthless and a super powerful beast again. The first half of the film is about him learning how each of the different wildlife acts and adapting himself in turn. It doesn’t make for a very enjoyable watch but it’s interesting. See I thought the whole film was going to be about this and it would have been an experimental film without much dialogue.

Then the two annoying groups of bounty hunters show up and I realized the angle that I liked here. See, when a group shows up on an alien planet the movie is always about them getting picked off one by one from the mysterious alien creatures and the serial killer on the loose. Well, this time we got to see all of them first and then we’re introduced to the villains. So it was sort of a reverse scenario right there. I like the idea behind it at least but the film doesn’t really make the most of it. First off the original group are basically all villains with no interests greater than their primal desires. One of them wants to assault the heroine from the second film throughout the movie, the main guy just wants the money for capturing and murdering Riddick, the other are here for money.

There isn’t much to these villains and the problem is that the personalities that we do get just aren’t that good. For example the perverted villain should have been murdered several times during the movie. Each time the girl would beat him up which is cool and all but considering his intentions he should have absolutely been murdered the second time. I was hoping Riddick really had sabotaged the equipment room so that as soon as the guy opened it, it would blow up. That would have been fantastic because this guy seriously didn’t contribute anything. Bumping him out of the movie would have been a great idea.

The main villain is your classic coward who can only make a move when everything is in his favor. Otherwise the guy just folds immediately and really isn’t much of a leader. So that leads us to the second group and at least they were decent. The leader is the father of the main villain from the first film and unlike his son he actually seems like a very capable commander. The tension here is wondering if the guy will turn evil and fold at the first sign of adversity like his son or if he will do well to the end. It works as a nice parallel even if you have a general idea of where this will go. The movie does a good job of giving you enough fake-outs and turns to keep you guessing. He was a good character though.

I also liked Dahl who was the lady who kept beating up the first punk. She was tough and could hold her own in a fight. Considering how often she was targeted Dahl did a great job of always watching her back and keeping her gun ready. I just feel like keeping the guy alive was too much of a risk considering that he had no moral compass at all. The rest of the mercenaries are mainly forgettable but in general the team of professionals were way better than the random bunch of bounty hunters.

Riddick was back to looking like a true professional after the opening scene so he was really good here. He perhaps took too many risks though once he tried bartering with the other hunters. I feel like his plan wasn’t very strong when he went off to meet them and could have been picked off at any time. He had the power cores as insurance but even so it was a really big gamble that ultimately didn’t pay off. He lost his dog as a result of his plan after all.

Horrible scene by the way and one of the many moments that doomed this film. The instant he adopted an alien dog I knew things weren’t going well and that’s always rough. It’s come to the point where you don’t want to see an animal in any film because you know that’s going to be used as easy revenge bait. Films need to resist this and yet they have not been able to so far. I need the film to surpass its limits and go away from that but it’s probably going to be a while at this rate. Beyond the dog you also have a lot of creatures getting eaten and ripped to pieces either by Riddick or by other creatures.

It’s one reason why survival films rarely end up being very good because part of the genre is seeing what the heroes are surviving and inevitably that means a bunch of animals are going to die. It’s unfortunate but that’s usually what it boils down to. This film goes back to embracing the violence on a high scale like the first film and definitely gets really excessive. Throw in the sub par cast of character and you really have a losing formula here. It’s easily the weakest of the 3 films so the movie series ends on a sour note.

Overall, There’s no real reason to watch this film. You’re better off watching the original if you want the alien plot or checking out the second one for the lore. Of course all the lore gets thrown out here as they make Riddick look super sloppy to have an excuse for the film 2 cast to beat him up. The opening just makes him look soooo bad. I also feel like it wasn’t smart to change the venue so drastically like this because it makes film 2 completely pointless but I suppose it is what it is. Maybe if we get a 4th film they’ll course correct again and go back to the sci-fi wars of the second film. That would actually be pretty funny but something tells me the 4th film will take a while.

Overall 1/10

The Chronicles of Riddick Review

This Riddick film is definitely quite a bit different from the first and the last one. It feels like it has nothing to do with the rest of the series which is what makes it interesting. Still, I can’t say that it’s a good film. It’s heads and shoulders above the other two without a doubt but the world building isn’t as interesting as it could have been and there aren’t many likable characters here. I do think the direction it was going in had some potential though but ultimately this is a sci-fi title that you will soon forget.

The movie starts with Riddick dodging bounty hunters and proving why he is still one of the most dangerous guys on the planet. Unfortunately he underestimates a galactic army known as the Necromongers who show up and quickly put him in his place. These guys have been taking down whole planets and so Riddick wasn’t much of a challenge. He escapes but then gets captured again and that’s sort of how the film goes. The movie tries to give Riddick a lot of hype while at the same time giving a lot of hype to the villains and so what happens is there’s a whole lot of back and forth the whole time. Honestly I thought it was a bit overdone and ended up just making Riddick look a little bad. At times there was nothing he could do to be sure, but it was still rough for him. Can he stop this empire?

Like I said the plot is a bit odd here because instead of this being an alien survival film suddenly you have cosmic dynasties, people with superpowers, a lot of lore, interuniversal wars, etc. It’s all rather wild but I like the idea behind it. Like Riddick is just a guy in a really massive universe so the first film was just a little pocket. Hey it’s a good way to expand the rest of the universe but the downside is that you probably won’t care for a while. This could have easily been leveraged into a huge sci-fi franchise but that didn’t happen. I’ll touch more on this in the sequel but this plot ultimately doesn’t matter much. Of course I don’t think it’s fair to judge the film in hindsight so for now we’re not going to worry about the third film.

I mentioned that you’re just not very interested in the whole cosmic plot and that’s the real underlying issue here. The movie also brings back the heroine from the first film, Jack. Jack’s completely different now though as she’s a hardened murderer who has seen and experienced a lot of rough stuff which has made her very tough. It’s a rather rough backstory for her that’s needlessly edgy and everyone looks bad in the process. Basically Riddick abandoned her for ages thinking that he was helping by keeping the heat off of her but other villains came anyway and got her so the whole thing was messed up. I do feel like you have to always take the person you want to protect with you because otherwise you really don’t know if that person is safe or not. Trusting that things will go well isn’t viable in the real world, let alone a sci-fi universe with super aliens in it.

I do like Jack’s new personality quite a bit as she’s really tough and can fight now. She definitely takes some serious risks but in a prison filled with the worst thugs in the universe you have to always emit a tough persona or you’re doomed. I’m not a big fan of films that take place in a prison ordinarily for this reason though as the characters will all be so nasty that even as antagonists they aren’t even remotely interesting.

Jack and Riddick really have to carry the film. While Riddick loses a lot and doesn’t match his film 1 portrayal, he still talks tough all the time and gets his share of wins. I always like seeing him take down some villains and kick things into the next gear. The final fight in the film gave him a lot of credit in the determination side since he was completely outgunned but never gave up. That’s not an easy thing to pull off.

Speaking of the final fight though, the power levels get a bit wonky here. So the head Marshal has super speed and strength which seem classic for a super villain. The big problem is that writers forget how overpowered super speed is. When you have that then you shouldn’t be losing to just about anyone. It’s just not going to happen and Riddick shouldn’t be landing any hits. Of course the guy gets a little overconfident and doesn’t watch his back but you still have a hard time buying into it. The actual fight is great and I liked that we were getting into the superhuman feats here but the power levels were definitely iffy.

There’s also the general named Vaako whose wife keeps telling him to overthrow the leader and rule the place but I never liked him. He was completely indecisive for the entirety of the film so she had to keep on goading him. Honestly she made for the much better villain because at least she was scheming and cackling throughout the whole movie. She had actual ambitions and was doing whatever she could to secure the win. That’s what you want to see in a villain and she was even threatening the wind elemental. The lady knew no fear! (Yes there are wind elementals here but this doesn’t really add anything to the plot. I guess it’s cool to have spirits running around but you could cut her out of the film and not much would change)

I would have liked Vaako more if he had ambitions of his own. Instead he hesitates so much that he squanders his opportunity. Even Toombs was better as the bounty hunter villain here even though he wasn’t very smart either. The guy definitely got too greedy and it cost him which is a running theme for the villains. The film isn’t as violent as the first one but still gets rather intense. The film can often focus on the violence more than it needs to which doesn’t do it any favors. At least there isn’t much time for romance here. The film isn’t devoid of it completely but for the most part it stays focused and on task.

Overall, The main problem with this film is that while it is very ambitious in introducing a ton of factions, armies, and new concepts, it doesn’t do much with them. It feels like they are retroactively trying to make this the next Star Wars and failing epicly. The only real benefit of this approach was that we got to really see the future technology more this way. The final fight was a great visual spectacle and Riddick is still a solid main character. It can’t get over the issues so I would recommend watching the Star Trek movie instead but if they keep this storyline up (….we’ll see) then there is potential here. I’ll have the review for the third film up soon.

Overall 4/10

Riddick vs Bass

This is a tribute to Pitch Black. Riddick may be a pretty tough guy, but can he really hope to challenge the might of Bass? He acts tough and claims to not be afraid of monsters, but he hasn’t met a being as fearsome as Bass. Bass just needs one hit and the match will be over in an instant. Things didn’t work out so well for Riddick. Bass wins.