If you like films in which all the cast members look as if they desperately need a shower and if you like films in which a lot of the action occurs in subdued lighting and if you like films in which the lead actor probably was graduated from the Keanu “I-Can’t-Act” Reeves School for the Subpar Performing Arts, then “Riddick” is the movie for you.
For the second consecutive week I found myself watching a film and thinking I would never be able to recoup the 119 minutes of my life I wasted viewing the kind of movie I loathe the most – a dreary, dirty-looking science fiction flick filled with ugly, slime-slobbering creatures and inferior acting. Now before all you Vin Diesel fans (I can’t believe there are any.) rise up in indignation, allow me to say I know that both he and his portrayal of Riddick have been extremely popular. Therefore a market for these films (This is the third in the series.) certainly exists, but I’m just not a part of it.
Moviegoers first met Riddick back in 2000, when “Pitch Black” hit the silver screen and virtually launched Diesel’s career. The actor (Can we really call him that?) reprised his role in 2004 with the release of “The Chronicles of Riddick,” and now he’s back in “Riddick,” the trilogy’s final film, which is set five years after the “The Chronicles.” As the latest chapter begins, we find Riddick emerging from the rubble in which he was buried alive. He has suffered a broken tibia, and he manages to set it just in time to fend off some nasty jackals and engage in a war with Mud Demons, water-dwelling scorpion-like creatures that salivate slime ala “Alien.”
After the battle, Riddick and his pet jackal make their way to a mercenary station where Riddick learns a huge storm is brewing and bringing with it a swarm of Mud Demons. Using special beacons at the station, Riddick summons two spaceships, but both of them are piloted by guys who don’t like him very much, and this introduces more conflict into the film.
Riddick’s main nemesis ends up being Boss Johns (Matthew Nable), and the film turns into battle for survival as the Mud Demons arrive en masse. Riddick also must contend with Johns, who wants to capture him alive for questioning.
So what does this film have to offer? Well, those who are into this kind of science fiction probably will like the nasty-looking creatures and the action sequences. They may even find the sets interesting, but the best thing of all will be that Diesel is back on the big screen. And once again, I have no idea why he has such a huge following. In the production notes, Diesel explained why he likes the character of Riddick.
“I fell in love with the role on paper because Riddick is such a well-executed character and a true antihero. People identify with his plight, and that’s why they gravitate toward him. They identify with being prejudged, ruled out, given up on and underestimated; those are feelings we all have at some point. The fact that Riddick is able to overcome that through action is something people welcome.
“There’s another huge reason why I gravitate toward this character. We all have a quest for identity to some degree. Riddick is no exception and wants to know more about where he’s from.”
Now usually when you speak of a trilogy, it means that the third in the series is the last one, but this may not be the case with the “Riddick” films. In the production notes, Diesel definitely left the door open for another movie about the character.
“Any artist hopes that he affects people. With this film, I just want audiences to escape for a couple hours. He (Riddick) just wants to go home and discover his identity. A lot of people that come out of the movie feel like it’s an homage to Pitch Black, and yet, keeps the question alive: Where is Riddick from, and where is he going?”
Whereas many may flock to see “Riddick,” I can give it no more than a lame four as a final score. Despite some decent special effects (especially the Mud Demons), I thought the pace of the film was slow, and I didn’t find the action scenes all that stimulating. And, of course, anyone who thinks Disesel is an accomplished actor is suffering from a severe case of terminal disillusionment.
Here’s one final thought. If I don’t see a decent film fairly soon, I am going to begin a new blog titled “Bill Hanna’s TV Show of the Week” because many of the programs on television are far superior to the garbage playing in the theaters. And you don’t have to lay out $9.50 for a ticket and $200 for popcorn and a drink!