— Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs from In the Heat of the Night, 1967
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September 6, 2013
Review: Riddick continues the story without much substance
— Posted by Ryan
Synopsis: Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, the other captained by a man from Riddick’s past.
It all started with the film Pitch Black which quickly became a cult classic, sci-fi/action film. The film’s main character Riddick (Vin Diesel) steadily rose in popularity which spawned a sequel to the film (Chronicles of Riddick) to expand upon the character’s story and further adventures. The most recent film, Riddick, attempts to tell Riddick’s story following the last film but instead reiterates what we already know without much elaboration.
The story starts with an injured Riddick stranded on a planet and struggling to survive. The curiosity of how he became stranded continued to build as I watched Riddick show off his survival skills for close to half an hour. In my opinion, the opening half hour was about 25 minutes too long and this was just the beginning of the long-winded moments throughout the film. Throughout the entire film I never had my level of curiosity satisfied because there were too many insignificant action sequences and not enough backstory to transition the film from the previous one. I did enjoy some of the action moments but after awhile they just seemed redundant and lost their luster. Honestly how many times can you watch Vin Diesel battle a slimy, overgrown alien before it gets old? I think that the director was attempting to capture the essence of Pitch Black but instead created a poor carbon-copy.
Another thing I didn’t like was the progression of Riddick’s character. What I initially liked about Riddick was that he was an anti-hero and since Pitch Black he has been losing that appeal becoming more of a compassionate hero. I found it difficult to believe how ruthless his character was after seeing too many moments of mercy and caring. He did have a little of that “B-Movie” action-hero dialogue that I found amusing at times but the humor just reinforced the fact that he had significantly evolved since his first film.
The root of all the problems with this film is that it’s lazy. The plot was simple, uninteresting, and generic. He’s stranded on a planet, needs a way off, and there’s multiple obstacles preventing him from leaving. Even in its simplicity, the film managed to fill two hours by focusing on uneventful action rather than focusing on expanding the plot. Seeing that the film was shot in IMAX, I was hoping for an opportunity at some eye candy with some crisp visuals. The landscape scenes, which should have been taking advantage of IMAX, were noticeably scaled down and instead the character dialogue scenes received the IMAX treatment just wasting the technology. Overall I did find moments of entertainment but they were few and far between. Even if you are a die-hard Riddick fan, it may be exhausting to watch this film.
This post was written by :
First and foremost, Ryan Brown is a fan. He has been an avid fan of both the theater and cinema since an early age and his passion for both has been continually growing ever since. When dissecting a film, he focuses on all elements of film-making including some fan/cult factors. He believes that character development is the foundation of a good film and usually starts his analysis of a film from there moving forward. His writing style may be influenced by his background of narrative and argumentative studies in the subject, but he tends to enjoy a more conversational style to better interact with the readers, unlike some other pretentious and pompous writers.
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