I say it was disappointing not flippantly but with a sigh and a heavy heart, and for two reasons. Firstly because Vin Diesel is sexier than ever. That guy is seriously smolderingly hot. *stops typing for a while to fan myself*. I don’t believe I ever found Sylvester Stallone so attractive, even though they are similar in two ways: their deep gruff voices and the macho way they speak, and of course their buff bods. But there’s just something about Vin that’s just, sigh, whatta man. Okay enough drooling.
Secondly, I so loved the first two movies of the Riddick series, which are Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), so I was pretty stunned at how so-so this third one was.
Pitch Black is a science fiction horror that scared me out of my wits, and had me at the edge of my cinema seat rooting like crazy for the characters involved, especially the one so memorably played by Australian actress Radha Mitchell. Raw and tinged with a noir feel, the special effects though impressive is not the main or only draw, unlike so many special effects movies. Pitch Black is packed solid with a great storyline and memorable characters, brilliantly played.
The second movie The Chronicles is so different, a far more opulent affair due to its storyline that involved the advanced but brutal military nation of Necromongers and the production sets of their home Helion Prime. Way more lavish with far more fancy effects, yet it also offers a great storyline and characters, so it was a very entertaining ride. Then there were the two captivating British actresses to add even more sparkle: the always-magnificent Judi Dench who blessed the movie with her regal presence in the cameo role of the ethereal Aereon, and Thandie Newton who shone in the sultry and evil (and fun to watch because it’s a bit campy) role of Dame Vaako.
So I was really looking forward to Riddick. It started off promisingly, picking up from where The Chronicles left off in Helion Prime, and I was happy. I loved the visual treats of that place and now I could look forward to see how it pans out for Riddick there. But very quickly the plot turns to him being abandoned and roughing it out battling creatures in some desolate planet. So I thought, hmmm okay, so this goes back more to the style of the first movie Pitch Black. But unfortunately Riddick is nowhere near the gripping and engrossing cinematic thriller that Pitch Black is. After it became apparent he was stuck on that planet, the movie practically screeched to a halt, and things were boring after that for me. It became one of those special effects movies I hate: undeniably beautiful with impressive CGI so it’s nice to look at, but otherwise there’s little or nothing else. I wish this movie was never made. To me it tarnishes the series because the first two movies were so good.
I liked the design and movement of the scorpion-like creatures he battled with. I thought it was exciting and scary. A lot better than the one in Prometheus (2012) which wasn’t a good movie either, (in fact to me it’s like Riddick: beautiful but unremarkable) the creature there was an alien snake that’s like half-penis and half-vagina. I know that sounds crazy and too disturbing to visualise so have a look here at minute 1:57 of this video. It doesn’t look obscene; just silly.
One character I disliked in Riddick is Santana, the head of the gang of bounty hunters that arrived on the planet looking to capture Riddick. I thought he was badly played. A quick check at IMDB shows the actor is Spanish Jordi Mollà, said to be a talented and respected actor so perhaps it is just a really bad case of miscasting. The monologue bit he did soon after arriving on the planet, where he pompously calls out to Riddick to show himself is just awkward.
I was excited to see Katee Sackhoff, who I loved as Starbuck in the TV series Battlestar Galactica (2005-2009), one of the most under-rated TV series of all time and as far as I’m concerned, a masterpiece deserving cult status way up there with the likes of Twin Peaks. Here she plays Dahl, a member of a group of professional merceneries who are also seeking to capture Riddick. Seeing her in a tough kick-ass character not unlike Starbuck makes me realise I really miss Battlestar Galactica. That left a hole in my heart when it ended.