Riddick - DVD Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
IT’S been almost 10 years since the character of Riddick – so good in Pitch Black and so awful in The Chronicles of Riddick – last graced our screens but his belated return proves to be worth the wait.
Written and directed once again by David Twohy, Riddick reverts back to the muscular style of the original and finds the eponymous anti-hero once again battling beasts and mercenaries on another unfriendly planet.
The sun-scorched venue in question this time is the result of Riddick (Vin Diesel) being double-crossed and left to fend for himself against hyena-like dogs and water-dwelling creatures that exhibit scorpion-like tendencies.
But matters get worse once two rival teams of mercenaries arrive to claim the bounty on his head, only to take a turn towards the critical once bad weather threatens to reveal the full extent of the planet’s hostile inhabitants.
Having clearly learnt from their mistakes with Chronicles, it’s refreshing to find that this third movie gets back the basics and plays to its obvious strengths, even though the freshness has gone and there are some admittedly stupid plot directions.
The whiff of misogyny that also seems to gather momentum the longer the film lasts also feels unnecessary but then most of Diesel’s signature roles rely on heavy doses of testosterone.
With that in mind, there is a guilty pleasure to be found in revisiting this particular character, especially when gleefully and ruthlessly picking off rivals during the film’s middle section a la Rambo.
The first third of proceedings also intrigues as a solitary Riddick sets about trying to survive the planet’s worst elements, thereby proving just how much charisma the actor brings to the role. He does carry much of the film virtually single-handed.
That said, Twohy’s direction helps to create another suitably creepy and believable alien landscape (which should appeal to broader sci-fi fans as well as Pitch Black devotees), while self-consciously OTT support from the likes of Jordi Mollà, Katee Sackhoff and Matt Nable adds to the overall enjoyment.
Riddick isn’t without a lot of flaws (and belatedly feels like it’s just plain copying Pitch Black) but you can’t help but admit that it remains consistently entertaining. Diesel’s commitment to the cause (he risked his house to get the film made) deserves to find a healthy audience.
Running time: 119mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: January 13, 2014