Film Review: ‘Riddick’ Reboot Tumbles off the Cliff

Vin Diesel opened up the summer box office in “Fast & Furious 6”. Unfortunately, don’t expect his latest action flick, “Riddick,” to score so high in closing out the summer. Diesel reprises his role as escaped convict Richard B. Riddick, starting where “The Chronicles of Riddick” left off. He finds ruling the Necromancers tedious and prefers to search out his home planet, Furya.

The commanders take him to a desert planet (“Not Furya”) and leave him for dead. Riddick survives the attack but is left stranded. In his narration, Riddick says that he became “too civilized” by his time with the Necromancers and wants to get back in touch with his “animal” side. Ironically, the ordeal involves taming an alien creature that resembles a hyena. He also encounters some monsters that could easily be a rip-off of “Aliens,” as already pointed out in David Hiltbrand’s review. It’s almost too bad these aliens couldn’t invade bodies and burst out of stomachs. The opening segment unfolds slowly, too slowly, ruining the pace of the action scenes and interspersed gore.

Riddick sees a horde of aliens in the distance and decides it is time to hitch a ride off the planet. Two groups of bounty hunters touch down at his distress call. The first pack is led by crass and rough Santana (Jordi Mollà), who wants Riddick’s head in a box. In contrast, Boss Johns (Matt Nable) heads a sophisticated and polished team with advanced weapons. He wants answers from Riddick about how his son died, which links viewers back “Pitch Black,” the first Riddick film. Riddick is captured but the aliens arrive ready for blood, forcing everyone to work together towards an escape route.

Unlike “Chronicles of Riddick,” this new installment has an R-rating and rightly so. It is heavy on profanity and does not spare on the gore. Santana constantly hits on a female bounty hunter on Boss Johns’ team by the name of Dahl (Katee Sackhoff). Yes, Dahl sounds very much like “Doll”, perhaps an intentional move by the production team. The misogynistic treatment and attempted abuse toward Dahl is rather disturbing even though she is a strong fighter. The unwanted sexual advances and remarks (too many) reduce the film to the realm of propped up male fantasy.

It is difficult to find redeeming qualities for this installment of the Riddick series. “Riddick” certainly sets itself apart from “Chronicles” in an attempt to return to the dark themes and gore of “Pitch Black”. However, the slow pacing and underdeveloped dialogue fails to make the plot memorable. In fact, some viewers at the closing credits may say, “That’s it?” At best, “Riddick” serves a bridge to the next chapter, where Riddick may or may not find his way back to Furya.

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