Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Karl Urban, Bokeem Woodbine, Jordi Molla
David Twohy, Oliver Butcher, Stephen Cornwell, based upon characters by Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
If you approach Riddick as nothing more than an action flick, then there's a chance you're going to find yourself just a wee bit pleasantly surprised mostly owing to the presence of Vin Diesel. Diesel manages to keep things interesting even when co-writer/director David Twohy goes completely nuts with the film's tone and can't seem to decide what he really wants the film to be.
That's most of the time.
This time around, Riddick (Diesel) has been left for dead by Vaako (Karl Urban) on a deserted planet with some serious predators. This leads to an extended, and I mean really extended, section of the film where Riddick is either meant to be in full-on thought provoking mode or Twohy has taken a chapter out of Gus Van Sant's Gerry while amping up the intensity on just everything that Riddick will do to actually survive his dilemma. Heck, he even acquires a pet though I was never quite sure if it was meant to humanize him or simply as another potential torture device of sorts.
Along with acquiring his pet, Riddick encounters a couple of groups of bounty hunters all of whom fit the action movie baddie stereotype to painful imperfection. There's a reasonable one (Matt Nable), a temperamental one (Jordi Molla), a hot lesbian (Katee Sackhoff, "Battlestar Galactica"), a black one (Bokeem Woodbine), and a maniacally praying religious one (Nolan Gerard Funk).
Truthfully, none of them actually matter.
Actually, nothing much matters here with Diesel coasting through his performance and nobody among the supporting players even matching his coasting. The film's CGI is cheesy at best, and the lensing will likely make you long for another M. Night film.
Riddick does manage to work on occasion, though it's nowhere near as successful as the first film which wasn't exactly successful. A few decent scenes can't salvage what appears to be nothing more than a money grab. Do yourself a favor, grab your money and go elsewhere this weekend.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic