Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Shades of grey

Third entry in sci-fi series isn't Pitch Black, but it has its moments

  • Print

The title Riddick is so much simpler and less pretentious than the title of the last entry in the franchise, The Chronicles of Riddick.

As goes the title, so goes the movie.

The character of space fugitive Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) was introduced in the nifty 2000 sci-fi entry Pitch Black, a kind of futuristic disaster movie in which Riddick, an intergalactic felon under the guard of an equally psychopathic cop, emerged as an unlikely hero.

In 2004, writer-director David Twohy steered the terse, violent protagonist into more mythic territory with The Chronicles of Riddick, which saw the big guy contending with a cult of super-warriors called "Necromongers," trading dialogue with Judi Dench, and ending up very much in the same neck of the genre woods as Conan the Barbarian.

In addition to being an unsatisfying hodgepodge, it was also rated PG-13 in the U.S., in a transparent effort to trade off some of the savagery for a shot at a wider audience.

Riddick quickly jettisons the excess mythic cargo -- and the PG-13 niceties -- in its first act, which sees the brooding brute betrayed by the Necromongers and left marooned on an especially savage planet to die. He doesn't seem especially upset by this. (Flashbacks of being lured to a giant bed by a bevy of naked courtesans registers as just another work obligation on the impassive face of King Riddick.)

Once he sets his own broken leg and snacks on a space vulture, he seems positively jubilant about "zeroing the clock" and getting back to basic survival. We understand that Twohy is also zeroing the clock and taking the character back to a Pitch Black-like story of wicked monsters and even more wicked men.

Hence, realizing there is only so far he can go on a planet populated by mutant dingoes and reptiles that can bite from either end, Riddick summons fellow humans to his planet when he comes across an abandoned human outpost.

Two ships come calling. One is stocked with scummy bounty hunters led by the repulsive Santana (Jordi Molla). The other contains a well-disciplined fighting force, including a beautiful lesbian warrior named Dahl (Katee Sackhoff recalls some of the more butch supporting femmes that popped up frequently in James Cameron movies of the '80s) and led by "Boss" (Matt Nable), a man with a connection to Riddick's past that might be summed up as ... awkward.

We know most of the cast will be picked off one by one, either by Riddick or by the aforementioned creatures. And as Riddick is really the only character with whom we have some investment, this is one of those movies that gives us lots of supporting roles for the purpose of inviting us to guess, who, when, and how they will be killed off.

Fortunately, Twohy is a pretty imaginative genre filmmaker, and on a fairly modest budget (roughly one-quarter that of Fast and Furious 6), he creates a nicely realized world of desert, rocks, toxic pools and slimy/fanged fauna.

He also knows how to deliver the B-movie goods, now that he is free from the more genteel obligations of a PG-13 classification.

Diesel seems to be enjoying his own freedom in returning Riddick to his badass roots, even if he doesn't get to do line readings with Dame Judi.

Taking a page from his hard-to-kill hero, Diesel will presumably survive.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2013 G1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Premier, Mayor comment on CMHR opening

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the Canadian Museum for Human Rights use the word 'genocide' in exhibits on Indian residential schools?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google