Last night I finally got my hands on a rental disk of Riddick, the third movie in the series that started with Pitch Black back in 2000.
The movie starts with Vin Diesel’s anti-hero Riddick marooned on a hostile planet, Robinson Crusoe style. “There are bad days. Then there are legendary bad days” Riddick says in voiceover as we get a flashback to what happened after the second instalment of the series that led to his marooning at the hands of the Necromongers. Nice to see Karl Urban return in a cameo.
After putting himself back together and adopting an alien CGI dog creature Riddick resolves to get off the planet before things really turn nasty. Using himself as bait he activates an emergency beacon and before you know it two sets of rival mercenaries have arrived for the bounty.
The movie is broadly broken into three pieces. The first segment is pretty much dialog-free and involves Riddick surviving on the hostile barren planet. The second act introduces the mercenaries and their attempts to capture Riddick, with of course the tables effortlessly turned against them. The final part of the movie returns to the familiar Pitch Black high-concept territory with the planet producing a nasty surprise when it rains.
The movie clocks in at around two hours but for some reason it seemed to last a lot longer. I don’t meant that in an entirely negative way as I quite enjoyed the slow pace of the opening scenes allowing the audience to immerse themselves in Riddick’s situation. I also welcome director-writer David Twohy’s focus on characterisation and the (largely foul-mouthed) interplay between the mercenaries rather than focus on constant shooty-bangs as other directors would. Also the exteriors of the alien planet were impressively created in a studio interior, it’s palette largely limited to browns and yellows.
Overall this is a satisfying return to the Riddick universe. Hopefully a fourth instalment will eventually arrive and we can join Riddick on his search for his homeworld, the mysterious Furya.