“I don’t know how many times I’ve been crossed off the list and left for dead” growls Riddick (Diesel) in a voiceover. Riddick is left for dead by the Necromongers on a harsh sun-scorched planet with broken bones and bruises with no way to escape. For the first twenty minutes we see Riddick struggle to survive and acclimate to the environment surrounding him while taking on the beasts of the land. The world that we see Riddick stuck on is absolutely stunning thanks to some well-crafted CGI. Riddick isn’t alone though as he makes friend with a CGI canine (or dingo-dongo) who steals a lot of the movie.
Riddick and his ‘dingo-dongo’ find a lodge for mercenaries and figuring out that could be his ride home, signals a beacon bringing about two bands of very different mercs. The two leaders both work in different ways: Santana (Mollà) is more ruthless and shady while Boss Johns (Nable) doesn’t even want the bounty, but wants to be civil and get answers about past events. Unfortunately, the mercs don’t really bring anything new and are more formulaic than ever. The only purpose they provide is being fodder for Riddick as he does his best xenomorph impression (Alien, anyone?) and stealthily picks them off one by one. Only when the groups and Riddick share a common interest do they figure out that they have to work together to leave the planet.
The performances in the film are solid enough that they keep the film interesting. Diesel is as physically imposing as ever as Riddick, grunting and brooding his way through the film with the occasional deadpan one liner from time to time. Nable and Mollà were both a bit overdone in their roles playing extreme opposites. Sackhoff and Bautista, who play the second-in-command for the head mercs, were fantastic. Both were witty and both were violent with Sackhoff knocking out Mollà from time to time. One of the smallest parts played by Keri Hilson was extremely well done for as limited as it was.
For Riddick, Twohy teams up with the writing pair of Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell. The three of them do a decent job at bringing the franchise back to life, but they have trouble balancing the action, drama, and humor. What they do succeed in is creating a suspenseful and thrilling tone that the film never lets up on. Diesel gave up a lot to get this film made and to get “The Chronicles of Riddick” franchise back on track. While Riddick may not be the best suspense film of the year, fans of the franchise will certainly be leased with what Diesel and Twohy worked on.
“Riddick” is now playing.