Out September 6, Rated R
Photos Courtesy of Universal Pictures
“I think I’m in the majority opinion here when I say that I dug Pitch Black, but thought Chronicles Of Riddick was a huge, overblown, overly complicated pile of steamy butt-dumplings. That’s why I’m happy to report that Diesel’s latest attempt to make his night-vision muscle man into a viable franchise almost entirely does away with the story from Chronicles, save for a brief flashback to explain his current situation (stranded on a hostile alien planet) for the two or three people that actually care about that continuity. I’m also happy to report that this movie is a lot of fun - the first half hour is pure adventure shenanigans, with Riddick trying to survive against all manner of alien monsters, armed only with his wits, his improvised weapons, his pet alien wolf (really!), and his determination to be the shiniest, most hairless man in the universe.
“Eventually, two groups of mercenaries arrive to kill him – one, a bunch of scruffy badasses, the other, a tight-knit paramilitary unit. The former provide the most entertainment, particularly leader Jordi Molla, who is the source of most of the movie’s laughs (of which there are a surprisingly high number). The movie spends enough time on the mercs for you to at least know who they are when they get brutally murdered, and while I can’t say I cared about any of them, at least they didn’t just feel like anonymous cannon fodder. This is also the part where the violence ratchets up, including possibly the best use of a giant bear trap we’ll see all year, and a decapitation scene so ludicrous it actually got a round of applause in the theater.
“The final third of the movie goes full on Pitch Black, as monsters attack en masse and Vin and pals try to escape the planet without getting massacred, and while you’ve seen it all before, it’s solidly enjoyable throughout. There’s no attempt to make Riddick into a hero this time around, which is good, because that’s where Chronicles fell flat on its shaved, muscular ass – in Riddick, he’s just a mean old badass who’ll kill you if you get in his way, and it’s such an improvement. I recommend this to anyone who wants a little space-based action this weekend. What I don’t recommend? Shaving all your body hair off to try and look like Vin Diesel. I tried it once, and let’s just say, never again."
“Diesel’s really betting everything on this latest movie working out, actually going so far as to risk losing his home to finance it. With that much riding on it, it’s obvious he had to give it his all this time around, and to his credit, it feels like he has. I went into this one with extremely low expectations, but nevertheless, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Yes, it’s dumb as a bag full of head-polish, but it’s also a two-hour movie that feels like 90 minutes, as opposed to something like The Lone Ranger, which was well over two hours, but felt like four and a half years. There’s plenty to nitpick – the fact that everyone has spaceships, hover-bikes and laser guns, but absolutely no one except Riddick is able to see in the dark always cracks me up – but if you sit back and enjoy the ride, you’ll have a good time. Unless you hate action movies, sci-fi, monsters, spaceships, and people with really gravelly voices, in which case, you’re probably better off having a nap.”
“SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT…THE LAST ONE WAS CALLED CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, AND THIS ONE’S JUST CALLED RIDDICK. OKAY, I GET IT! I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THE NEXT ONE – DICK, STARRING VIN DIESEL. IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING!”