Cinematic Releases: Riddick

David Twohy tries to revitalize the flailing Riddick franchise with a third in the trilogy. After audiences basically hated The Chronicles of Riddick, we all thought we had seen the end of Vin Diesel's hyper violent alter ego. Well not so fast. Twohy somehow got funding to go ahead with another Riddick movie that tries to recapture the original appeal of Pitch Black.

Despite a few great action scenes, this third in the trilogy will probably seal the coffin shut because this new uninspired, long winded, absolutely desperate piece of derivative sci-fi is not only a failure but a daunting task to get through. My sighs could be heard throughout the theater as Vin Diesel delivered bad one liner after bad one liner in an attempt to recapture the glory days of Pitch Black. Is it the worst thing ever? No. But, it's pretty sad when you have to go back to the well a third time and the only thing you find is an uninspired over long near replica of your first franchise entry.

The first sign of trouble arrives in the first act when we spend nearly a half hour on another lonesome and dreary planet with a newly buff Riddick and an alien dog with virtually no dialogue. Other than a few lines aimed at the dog, this whole section could be written off as needless exposition that never goes anywhere other than to build Riddick's relationship with a dog. This is not what paying audiences want. They want action. They want suspense. They want to see Riddick spill the green oozing blood of aliens while grappling with a band of blood soaked mercs that have one thing in mind: Kill Riddick. When this all begins to happen, it's way too late and most audiences will probably have lost interest.

Thirteen years ago, David Twohy made a promising film called Pitch Black. It was a unique action/sci-fi/thriller that mixed elements from numerous other films but did it in a way that felt fresh for the time. It was dark and claustrophobic. It was the type of movie audiences were chomping at the bit to see. It became a bit of a sleeper hit and did great numbers in the home video market. Then came the second entry. This movie went in a completely different direction by not dealing with creatures but instead had Riddick pitted against the no good Necromongers. Chronicles failed at the box office but was a fresh attempt to try something new. Twohy wanted to move the character of Riddick forward in to grander schemes and bigger landscapes. Audiences revolted.

And this is what they got: A wannabe summer movie that has no heart at the end of a disappointing summer of big budget flops. This is not the way I expected the summer to end......with the whimper of David Twohy asking himself why.

- Review by Chris George