“A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was a movie called Pitch Black. It was a low budget scifi that turned a lot of heads. In it, there was a group of space travelers caught on a world that was about to go into a permanent night. And on this world were creatures that only came out in darkness. And they found people yummy. Our travelers unlikely hope was a prisoner named Riddick, whose eyes had been altered such that he could see in the dark. Now, this movie should have just been lost in the plethora of sci fi films that were unleashed to lead us into the new millennium, but it wasn’t. The reason was that Riddick was an incredibly bad ass and dark character, portrayed by Vin Diesel. A couple years later, the Hollywood powers that be decided to give Riddick a big budget scifi that was more on the fantasy end of the spectrum. We’d get to learn more about the culture in this version of the future, and find out what became of our unintended “”hero””. But the big budget brought big concept and small audiences, and the Riddick story seemed to die. I for one was very bummed out when nothing more happened, because I was really getting into his backstory and I wanted to know more of the mythology about his race of Furyans.
Turns out, Mr Vin Diesel is rather attached to this character as well. He too wanted to continue Riddick’s story. Getting him back to the big screen became a passion project. His cameo in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift was done in exchange for the rights. He personally financed part of the film when funding wasn’t going thru. And the street cred he was gaining with the Fast franchise allowed him to get the green light. I was thrilled when I heard the news, and so anxious to find out more about this character.
Except, it went in a different direction than I’d expected. I thought we’d get more of the Chronicles of Riddick type of story, delving further into his universe and finding out more about his past. Instead, we got a sort of Pitch Black redux. Riddick (and here I mean the movie not the character) went back to its low budget roots. I’m all for that, except it seemed to go rather low budget with the story as well. The first half hour or so was just him wandering a new planet all by himself. We do eventaully find out how he ended up there, and while I was grateful for the Karl Urban cameo, the story was kinda forced and rushed. Now Riddick is wandering around until we encounter some new baddies. They try and kill each other, until the rains start coming and with the rain comes a new breed of creature. Similarly with his night vision evening the playing field in Pitch Black, he’s evened the playing field for himself by building an immunity to their venom, which none of his new space “”friends”” have. From there it’s basically a race out into the planet to get supplies and get gone. Sound familiar?
I really didn’t feel like we got much that was new. Chronicles of Riddick left off with such potential, and it just kinda threw that out of the window and started over with pretty much the exact same thing we saw the first time. I may have even nodded off a bit during the middle. I can appreciate the low budget sci fi action, and Diesel can certainly carry that well, but I need to have a reason to care. In this case, him being one of the most bad ass boys in the galaxy wasn’t enough reason.
Maybe I expected too much or had anticipated too long. I really would like to see another one of these come along some day, but I’d particularly like it if I felt it added anything to what could be an incredible franchsie
Riddick – \m/ \m/