The Riddick franchise is an interesting beast. On one hand, it is so entirely self-serving to his primary character, Richard B. Riddick, that each instalment feels somewhat like an attempt by Vin Diesel to shout to the world “look how cool my roleplay character I made is!” On The other hand, it does feel like a franchise Diesel feels like he cares a lot about, and takes a great deal of personal stake in it. The tie-in video games which are some of the finest video games in that genre demonstrate this personally. And despite all, I have always quite liked the Riddick franchise. However, I’m left not quite knowing what to feel about this latest endeavour.
We last saw Riddick formally on screen ten years ago, in the somewhat confusing and big budgeted Chronicles of Riddick. This instalment sought to return to the roots of the franchise, and be more similar to the original title, Pitch Black. In many ways, this film is Pitch Black redone. There’s a disturbance on a planet, a mercenary ship descends, and one by one they get picked off. The major difference in this is that for a lot of the movie, the major monster picking them off one by one is Riddick himself, which is remarkably hilarious for the audience. All of this is fine, and would make for a decently enjoyable movie, were it not for one thing…
Ten years ago, we were given a major plot point and cliff-hanger for Riddick to have to deal with in the next movie, and this movie has almost failed to address that point at all. I was happy to see that the director’s cut available on DVD has added in about 8 mins of removed footage, which adds in a link to a future movie where these answers were to be supposedly given, but at the same time I do feel somewhat cheated. If Diesel was sending this movie out as a sort of teaser, to gauge the mood of a movie-going public, he needs to remember that at some point he needs to deliver the goods. I believe in you Vin, just don’t keep me waiting forever.
Riddick is more Pitch Black than Chronicles, and is a fine movie to watch even if you are unfamiliar with the universe as a whole. It’s a cult classic sort of film, but one that even an average audience can kick away a rainy Saturday night with at home.