I do have a soft spot for Vin Diesel, maybe it’s the hair, but more likely it’s because of the first time i saw him. This was before XXX and before The Fast And The Furious, way back in 2000 when he was Richard B Riddick in a little film about a prisoner transport ship that crash lands on a planet full of nasty, bloodthirsty creatures that hunt in the dark. A planet that is about to experience a month long eclipse. A film about a prisoner who had his eyes altered so he can see in the dark. A gritty dark, nasty little film that became a cult classic.
Sure Vin has made his fair share of cinematic mistakes, and lets be honest, he’s not the worlds most talented actor. But he plays a particular role very well. And that role is of the underdog that has been left for dead. A man who has to channel his dark side, his primal savage nature.
And this is exactly where we find him in Riddick. Betrayed and left for dead on a hostile planet that is about to get a whole lot worse, trying to survive a barren wasteland where the nicest animals are over sized, saber-toothed dogs that want to eat you, and the worst things are buried deep in the earth waiting for the coming rains. The kind of creatures that would give Ellen Ripley nightmares.
It’s this coming apocalypse that forces Riddicks had, and when he discovers an abandoned mercenary outpost, he deploys the distress beacon, telling any mercenaries that he, the universes most wanted man, with a sizable bounty on his head, is waiting to be picked up.
Of course Riddick isn’t going to make things easy for them, and in true Riddick style, he begins to pick them off one by one.
Riddick is a shot back at it’s Pitch Black roots, gone is the gloss of the over blown sequel, this is a budget affair, and it shows every now and then in the special effects. But this is minor, as this is a film about Vin’s most endearing character, and despite the nasty little critters that inhabit the alien planet, Riddick is the most scary thing on the screen.
Vin grunts and mumbles along the three act film, going from crippled and left for dead, to a man re-made and ready for battle. Along the way Vin throws in some gratuitous nudity and plenty of gore to make sure he gets an R-rating to keep his core fans happy, and happy they should be. It’s occasionally over the top and b-grade, but it’s packed with action, thrills and it’s visually stunning. Diesel’s downplayed humour works well, and Riddick’s combination of killer moves and and threatening talk combine to make a cracker night out.
No previous knowledge of the Riddick films is necessary to enjoy this one, which could be a standalone film that re-boots the series, but fans are definitely going to enjoy this ride as much as the original.
Rating: R16 Violence, sexual references & offensive language.