Riddick is the third chapter in a franchise that started with Pitch Black back in 2000. Followed up by The Chronicles of Riddick in 2004. I’ve seen Pitch Black but missed Chronicles. Turns out you really don’t need to see part two to understand part three, but that’s mainly because Riddick doesn’t have a very strong story.
After being betrayed by Vaako, played by Karl Urban (his only scene), and left for dead on a strange planet, Riddick must figure out a way to survive against the elements and leave the planet. That’s basically the whole plot. He finds a futuristic rest stop and activates an emergency beacon which brings two sets of bounty hunting teams to the planet to try and capture/kill Riddick.
The first act of the film follows Riddick by himself as he struggles to survive after being stranded. He comes across creature after creature that he must fight. He eventually befriends a dog/hyena creature while roaming the planet. He learns that there is water and possible life in a different area but he’s unable to get there due to a scorpion type aquatic creature that inhabits the lakes and bodies of water standing in his way. These guys are huge and don’t mess around. They’re not too much trouble for Riddick though, he gets around one and is able to move on to the more inhabitable area.
This is where he finds the rest stop and activates the security beacon. He knows that more than one ship will appear looking for him. He’s got quite the bounty on his head apparently. Doubled if he’s brought in dead. Riddick takes a bit of a backseat, while we are introduced to the two bounty hunting teams. This is actually the more interesting part of the film, because Riddick begins stalking the teams and picking them off one by one like a classic slasher film.
The film feels like it should be an episode of a tv show rather than a 2 hour movie. It feels long and drawn out and has no real story. Vin Diesel does a good job as Riddick but the rest of the cast feels stale and cliche. Writer/Director David Twohy has a big imagination when it comes to landscapes and creatures but needs to focus a bit more on story and characters. I suggest you check out a different Twohy film: A Perfect Getaway. Not a perfect film by any means but much more entertaining than Riddick.
I give it a D+.