Entertainment: Riddick-ulous – Riddick Movie Review
Vin Diesel’s newest action movie completely fails to stand out from the crowd of dime-a-dozen, heavily animated sci-fi films that have recently plagued the box office. Although not saying much, Riddick soars above it’s predecessors, but it’s blatant and numerous annoying imperfections withhold it from being anymore than a waste of Vin Diesel’s talent and production abilities.
The Riddick franchise has always had a difficult time making a name for itself, and the two awful video games matched with a laughable animated movie of the same name hindered rather than helped. Since 2006, rumors began circulating of yet another cinematic installment, but were shrugged off by the average movie-goer as more of a bad joke than an actual possibility.
People had a hard time distinguishing it from other movies of the same genre due to it’s cliche tone. It was reminiscent of other Hollywood blockbusters that had already made the cut: DareDevil, Avatar, and most recently, Pacific Rim; movies with either dark undertones, voluptuous visuals, or both. It seemed that Riddick had nothing left to offer and was simply following in the footsteps of a genre and getting left behind. Nevertheless Diesel was apparently determined to show us the the “final” chapter in yet another one of his “beloved” franchises. The result resembles a stubborn four-year-old, determined to finish a story that no one wants to hear anymore.
Similar to movies of The Fast and the Furious franchise, the fourth installment in the Riddick series comes with a familiar footnote from the producer: ‘I promise this is the last movie (unless it makes a lot of money).’
Riddick follows in the footsteps of three other mildly amusing films: Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, and the lesser known (and animated) The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury. This time, for whatever reason, we are simply given the title “Riddick” which in itself is the equivalent of a bright neon sign flashing the words “We Lack Creativity.”
Vin Diesel plays Richard B. Riddick, a member of a legendary alien race whose distinct ability to see in the dark and infinite survival skills make them feared throughout the galaxy. As the last of his kind, he is stranded on a desolate uninhabited planet with nothing but his bare hands and a strange set of Gladiator armor. He spends the first twenty minutes of the film talking to himself as he limps around the planet like a wounded animal, furiously scowling at every mild challenge that he faces. He will frequently lean against freshly plastered moon rocks and Star-Trek-style set pieces as he attempts to perform grueling medical procedures on himself.
But it quickly becomes apparent that Riddick isn’t in any real danger, as his vast knowledge of survival and self-preservation greatly outweigh those of the Space Wolves and Space Scorpions that roam the planet. His acrobatic, stealthy approach to any “dangerous” situation and his grand ability to kill anything with the flick of his wrist leave him just a dollar short of god-like. Any threat posed to Riddick is simply a handful of computer generated images solely intended to create a mild challenge for our hero. Instead of a man fighting for his life, we see our favorite bald bad-ass turn this deserted planet into his own personal playground. Instead of Man vs. Wild, think Chicken Little vs. Superman.
For these first few minutes, Diesel is a pleasure to watch on screen. His computer generated purple eyes contrasting with the yellow backdrop of the planet leave for a colorful experience that almost distracts from the horrendously fake set and sub-par computer generated monsters. His famous scowl and monotonous stream of consciousness are actually perfectly suited for him as Riddick.
However, after Riddick’s basic situation is established, the movie takes a straight nosedive into the unforgiving black hole of cliche and stupidity, a pit so dark and desolate even Riddick can’t seem to find his way out. The plot is almost worth being spoiled just to prevent anyone else from seeing this B-List A-bomb.
Apart from the first twenty minutes, Riddick spends most of the movie off screen, leaving us with a supporting cast that quickly grab the wheel and fly the movie straight into a brick wall. Every male to be introduced is a pervert, and every female to be introduced is a sex object. As more and more half-layered characters are introduced, each face tells the same story of: I’m fresh out of acting school/I have no idea what I’m doing.
Be prepared to watch Vin Diesel kick butt on-screen without garnering a single scratch. Although exciting at first, this situation provides little suspense for the audience to grasp at and creates an extremely bland action experience. There is never a question of “Will the villain win?” but rather, “When will he lose so I can go home?” And when the antagonist does finally get the upper hand, it’s only because of Riddick’s stupid mistakes that were obviously written in as a way to keep the plot (barely) moving.
From the opening monologue it is made horrendously clear that the writers had no idea what they were doing, with the script resembling something a failed Hollywood executive found in a back alley dumpster. Cheesy dialogue from the supporting characters plagues important scenes and would make even the writers of CSI: Miami shudder.The small handful of action sequences are clunky and could have been better choreographed by a fourth grader. Thankfully, Riddick’s quick and skillful kills are ridiculously satisfying but by no means save the action from being bland and clumsy.
Riddick gives science fiction a bad name. While films such as the new robo-smash-em-up Pacific Rim provide something new and visually appealing to the audience, Riddick’s lack of style, content, and taste make it a nightmare to sit through. Clearly, this is Vin Diesel’s last cry for help as he desperately tries to cling onto whatever miniscule amount of Hollywood fame he may have left. However, after Riddick, it may have hindered rather than helped.
pro: Vin’s purple eyes
con: The writers are idiots
con: The casting directors were on drugs
con: The action choreographers deserve to be fired on the spot