Riddick (R16)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner7/09/2013

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 119 mins

Riddick makes a welcome return to the stripped-down premise of 2000's Pitch Black and Diesel is on top growly form throughout, but the film is ultimately let down by repetitive action sequences, some appalling dialogue and a deeply unpleasant streak of violent misogyny.

What's it all about?
Co-written and directed by franchise creator David Twohy, Riddick is the third outing for Vin Diesel's space-based anti-hero Richard B. Riddick, following 2000's Pitch Black and 2004's disastrous The Chronicles of Riddick. When he's left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick befriends a CGI space dog and manages to send out a distress beacon, but things quickly get complicated when the signal summons two rival groups of mercenaries – one headed by sadistic, foul-mouthed Santana (Jordi Molla), the other by level-headed Boss Johns (Matt Nable) – both of whom are intent on capturing Riddick dead or alive.

While the two groups bicker amongst themselves, Riddick uses the skills that got him his fugitive status in the first place and starts methodically picking them off one by one. However, when darkness falls, the mercenaries find themselves faced with a whole new danger in the shape of a horde of vicious monsters, and they quickly realise they're going to need Riddick's help to survive.

The Good
Twohy has clearly learned the lessons of the failure of 2004's bloated and overly convoluted Chronicles; accordingly, Riddick's pared down approach works well, harking back to the man vs monsters simplicity of Pitch Black. In addition, Diesel knows the character inside out and is on top growly form throughout, while Molla is suitably sleazy as Santana and there's strong support from both Nable and Katee Sackhoff as Dahl, Boss John's no-nonsense second-in-command.

The Bad
To be fair, Riddick has its moments, most notably a crowd-pleasing kill involving a sword and a transparent box, but once the monsters attack the action becomes frustratingly repetitive, in part because it's impossible to care whether any of the largely repellent supporting cast get eaten or not. In addition, there's a jarring cut at one point that eliminates what feels like a fairly important sequence, which feels like a massive cop-out.

However, the film's biggest problems are its atrocious dialogue (sample line: ‘I love your toenails. They match your nipples’) and a deeply unpleasant streak of violent misogyny – it's all very well casting Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff as a hard-as-nails strong female character (sample line: ‘I don't fuck guys. I fuck them up if they need it’), but that move is somewhat undermined by a) having her do a topless shower scene, b) having supporting characters trying to rape her and c) having even Riddick announce his intention to go ‘balls deep’ in her.

Worth seeing?
Riddick has its moments, thanks to a strong performance from Diesel and couple of decent action sequences, but it's badly let down by some atrocious dialogue and violent streak of misogyny on the part of both the script and the filmmakers.

Film Trailer

Riddick (R16)
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Content updated: 23/02/2020 19:55

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