Review: RIDDICK (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Review: RIDDICK (2013)

Despite its back-to-basics approach, RIDDICK is unbelievably bad, protracted and amateurish.

It's been nine years since 2004's big-budget misfire of THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK crashed and burned at the box office. Now, Vin Diesel and writer-director David Twohy returns to their roots (small scale, that is) in the independently-financed RIDDICK at which they tries to recapture the darker and grittier feel of 2000's PITCH BLACK. At the first glance, it's a smart move. But unfortunately those fans who are expecting PITCH BLACK-like level in RIDDICK will be left shockingly disappointed. Yes, it was so disappointing that made the halfhearted attempt of THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK looks like a sci-fi classic in its own right.


After being betrayed by the Necromongers in THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, Riddick (Vin Diesel) is left for dead on a desolate planet. With badly-injured leg, he is forced to fight for survival all by himself against a number of alien species until one day, he manages to tame a wild dingo-like species as his unlikely companion. Then along came two group of mercenaries (they are called "merc" in this movie). The first group to arrive is the one lead by the cocky Santana (Jordi Molla) who is out to find and kill Riddick at all cost. The other group is lead by Boss Johns (Matt Nable) who also want to hunt Riddick down, except that they want to keep him alive for some reasons.  

The first 30 minutes or so where Riddick is struggling to stay alive while fending off against a host of deadly species is fairly promising, especially the way writer-director David Twohy wisely opting more on visual storytelling and keeps the dialogue as minimal as possible.

The gory scene where Riddick stylishly kicked the sword up in the air and plunges right through Santana's head.
It's a shame that the promising first act is all but wasted once the two opposing merc clans are introduced. From there, RIDDICK suffers from a series of ill-timed comic moments (mostly from Jordi Molla's idiotic Santana role), long-winded exposition and worst of all, the story here is a jumbled mess. Twohy and co-writers Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell have no idea what kind of story they actually wanted to tell. Instead, they waste so much time on depicting the two mercs (Santana and Johns) bickering nonstop at each other on how they plan to capture Riddick, while Riddick himself is laying in wait for a great amount of time. Then there's the ridiculous cat-and-mouse game between Riddick and the two mercs (especially the one involving Johns' true intention of wanting Riddick so badly). But even by the time all the motives are revealed, there's little payoff to be found here. I can go on and on, like how Santana is trying his luck opening the booby-trapped locker while the other mercs are waiting breathlessly somewhere in the corner. That so-called suspenseful scene feels more like a parody and a complete waste of time as well. The action scenes are poorly executed with too many tight closeups, and yet with little imagination (especially the one involving Riddick and the mercs battling against the deadly creatures) while the random slow-motion moments (e.g. the part where Riddick made an unnecessary air bike stunt over a swarm of deadly creatures) are mainly included for the sake of showing off.

As for the acting, Vin Diesel's role as Riddick is nothing more than the same bad-ass character that fans have come to know him since his inception in PITCH BLACK. It's also a shame that Twohy fails to explore his character further after two movies already. Meanwhile, the rest of the supporting actors are largely forgettable. Even the so-called colorful characters like Jordi Molla and Katee Sackhoff does little to spice up this enormously dull movie.

Seriously, RIDDICK is the kind of movie that tends to test one's patience. This is clearly among the worst movie of the year I've ever seen so far.

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