I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what the premise, no matter who it stars, all action movies are the same thing.
It usually stars a muscular guy (sometimes who is likable right from the start, sometimes needs to save a dog/cat to get the audience to like him), just minding his own business, until some jerks come along and do something bad to him, then he goes off to stop the jerks from doing bad things resulting in explosions, killing (sometimes the jerk kills the dog/cat to show even further just how big of a jerk they are), an all is lost moment where the muscular guy thinks he’s lost.
Until, oh wait, he figured out how to win by killing the jerk, and then everyone lives happily ever after, until the sequel.
Other than the second to last part (killing the jerk), that is Riddick in a nutshell.
I usually enjoy bad action movies. The 80s-90s films we got with Arnold, Stallone, Willis, Van Damme, Segal are the action films legends are made of. Even the semi-recent movies with The Rundown starring the Rock and the Transporter films with Jason Stathem are epically terrible, but fun action romps none the less. Don’t get me started on the terrible greatness that is The Expendables franchise.
The point is, all of those action stars I had mentioned above bring something special with their films. Their characters all have a likable persona or charisma attached to them. The soldier that’s fighting a war he wants no part of (Stallone in First Blood), the older sheriff that can still kick major ass when called upon (Arnold in The Last Stand), these are characters that are fun and are even better when they’re kicking ass.
Vin Diesel as Riddick is the triple U to action films. Uninspiring, Unbelievably full of BS, and ultimately boring.
Other than the look of the character being interesting (can see in the dark) how the Riddick character has gotten three films is beyond me. He is so boring with his monotonic way of speaking (If you’ve seen any Vin Diesel film, it’s pretty much the same thing), and his lack of any human emotion whatsoever makes him completely un-relatable. I know he’s playing a badass, but my God, even badasses show emotion when they get screwed over or hurt emotionally.
The best we get in this movie is generic badass speech number 4387 when Diesel promises to kill someone after they shot his CGI wolf/dog.
Oh yeah, the CGI wolf/dog. I actually got a laugh from this because before Diesel joined up with the dog, who he raised as a pup right after he kidnapped it from its family (OUR HERO LADIES AND GENTS!) and saved the pup from a CGI mud monster. He was totally unlikable. The film made mention of the previous sequels (Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick), but even in those films Diesel played an unlikable badass, so I guess teaming him up with a CGI wolf/dog was the only way the people behind the film could make audiences see him in a positive light.
Getting back to the film, after what feels like a 30 minute prologue about how Riddick got stranded on a planet (almost exactly like the one he was on in Pitch Black) and saving a dog. Riddick decides he wants off the planet and tricks two groups of bounty hunters to come and track him down. The two groups lead by Boss Johns (Matt Nable- Killer Elite) and Santana (Jordi Molla- Bad Boys II), and their henchmen Dahl (Katee Sackhoff- Battlestar Galactica) and WWE’s very own Dave Bautista (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy) along with several others come down and are picked off by Riddick one by one until some alien rain storm comes along and a deal must be made between the two to guarantee their survival.
I will be blunt, the supporting cast is awful and does very little to help the movie. With the exception of Jordi Molla, who plays the jerk, no one has an ounce of personality attached to their character that couldn’t be described by using more than five words.
Want an example? Okay, Bautista’s character, soft-spoken enforcer. Want one more? Dahl- Lone woman, obvious sex object.
The action is definitely the highlight of this fim, but I use the “highlight” term loosely. It does the same thing other action movies have done before, makes the hero invincible. Riddick literally breaks his leg in the opening 5 minutes, and 5 minutes later it’s magically healed, or Riddick is walking it off because he’s turned into Tommy Toughnuts. The action pales in comparison to other sci-fi thrillers like the Alien franchise, Star Trek, Predator, Event Horizon, and I’ll even go as far as to say ET had better action scenes than this movie.
It’s a poorly acted, terribly structured, awfully paced, no need to be made kind of movie who’s run time is about 2 hours, but feels like a 3 hour film. I recommend it to no one, not even the fans of the Riddick franchise, by the end of the movie you’ll be asking yourselves, “did that movie need to be made?” Riddick ranks as one of my least favorite movies of this year and could be in contention for worst of the year.
I award it no stars, I feel dumber for having to gone and seen it.