So the Sci-Fi Chronicles books invited me to sit down and watch the latest (last?) installment in the Riddick series, and this one I cared for even less than Pitch Black, especially after the cool world building (flawed or not) that occurred in the second film.
Once again, Twohy writes and directs, and Vin Diesel returns as anti-hero Riddick. And if I didn’t really care for his character, and he was a bit of a non-event in the second, then imagine how I felt in this one, where they tried to recapture a lot of the original flavor of the first film.
Riddick is left for dead on a desolate planet.
It seems the ending of the last film was just the beginning of a fall for him. Becoming the ruler of the Necromongers created enemies, especially with Vaako (Karl Urban) who had designs on becoming their ruler but was beaten to it by Riddick, and betrayal followed, which saw Riddick being left for dead. Which, without wanting to paraphrase the movie, was their first mistake.
Don’t leave him for dead, just kill him then and there so you know that it’s been done once and for all.
Marooned on this remote planet, filled with interesting and imaginatively created creatures, all of whom seem set on killing anything that crosses their path. But that doesn’t stop Riddick from palling up with an initially cute little dog creature, that grows up to be his vicious companion. You know to make the character more likeable, and of course, give him a reason for vengeance should anything happen to his ‘pet.’
He eventually sets off a beacon, which draws in two teams of mercs. He knows there’ll be trouble but he needs to get off planet, as a dangerous storm is on its way, and none of them may survive.
In one team my friend Noah Danby appears as Nunez, far too briefly let me add, and in the other team, the very cool Katee Sackhoff. And as awesome as she is, her character is wasted, not to mention the way her relationship with men plays out, and then changes with Riddick. Sigh.
The film, like the rest of the series, still looks really great, and like I said, I like the creature designs, it’s just there’s nothing interesting about Riddick, nor has his character grown or changed at all in the past films, he’s still fairly one-dimensional, and as such, there is just no real emotional investment in the film.
It’s too bad, because, this entire series could have been something special, and opened up a whole new sci-fi playground for a variety of stories.
Oh well. Just shows that not all cinematic sci-fi is Star Trek or Star Wars, nor does it have to be, but you do need solid characters for the audience to be invested in.
There are rumors of yet another Riddick film coming… perhaps the fourth time will be the charm?