Culture, Film

Movie Catch-up: Riddick (2013)

Riddick movie posterVin Diesel and collaborator writer-director David Twoghy scale back from the grand space opera of Chronicles to remake their own Pitch Black, with Diesel’s laconic outcast again stranded on a desert planet with assorted toothed-and-clawed nasties and a bunch of mercenary bounty-hunters.

Unlike its’ spectacular, fun predecessor, Riddick is a testosterone fuelled, mean-spirited, misogynistic re-hash of Pitch Black.

As a creature-feature, Riddick is more than eye-catching with its’ scorpion-tailed carnivores set in impressive alien landscapes. Sadly, the best acting is perhaps from Riddick’s rescue-dog, the lovingly realised giant CGI hyena.
Which reflects poorly of the human cast, a rag-tag band of space mercs imported from Halo or Call of Duty, while Diesel has established his mono-syllabic grunting and muscle flexing as the ultimate Bear Grylls survivalist crossed with a space-faring Conan the Barbarian.

Jordi Molla (Columbiana) and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) are the low-rent mercenaries lifted from any number of video games (or 80’s Arnie actioners), swearing and growling through a man-hunt gone rapidly wrong.

Enter Matthew Nable’s ramrod-straight Boss Johns (yes, a link-back to the original Pitch Black), with his crew featuring ever-reliable Bokeem Woodbine and, doing herself no favours, Katee Sackhoff as Dahl (pronounced ‘Doll’). This space-going lip-stick lesbian, Annie Oakley with a sniper rifle, we’re supposed to believe is tougher than most of the men. The dialogue by Jim Wheat,Ken Wheat and, presumably, Shredded Wheat, serves her particularly badly. Yes, we know from Battlestar Galactica she can do tougher-than-a-man tough, but context is all and this is a travesty. Perhaps that’s why she’s missing from the final signing-off scene.

But there’s more of Dahl than the poorly-developed monster-fodder in the background, including a cut-price Danny Trejo (Raoul Trujillo) and Nolan Gerard Funk’s Bible-thumping young rookie – who surely wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in Molla’s crew.

So it’s a creature-feature shoot-em-up with Hover-Harley’s and a lot of CGI. How do you think it’s going to end? Yep, that’s it. Double-crosses, storms, darkness, more monsters than Aliens, and Diesel ghosting his way through the dot-to-dot plot like a super-charged Rambo.

Whichever way you look at it, Riddick should be irredeemable; a laughable, over-the-top popcorn sequel and yet, well-paced and executed with panache by Twoghy, somehow Riddick holds its’ own. RC

Riddick (2013)
Director: David Twohy
Writer: David Twohy, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Rating: R/15
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Running time: 1 hr. 59 min.
Cast: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista, Karl Urban, Jordi Molla, Matt Nables, Raoul Trujillo, Nolan Gerard Funk, Bokeem Wodobine, Keri Hilson, Conrad Pla, Noah Danby, Neil Napier

Related: Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

About Robin Catling

Robin Catling gained degrees in both arts and technology which led to a diverse portfolio of employment. A freelance systems analyst, project manager and business change manager for the likes of American Express, British Airways and IBM, he moved on to web design, journalism and technical authoring. He has also worked in film and television, both behind and in front of the camera, including productions by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Ron Howard and Ridley Scott. A qualified three-weapon coach, he runs West Devon Swords teaching sports fencing to all age groups, and in recent years qualified with the British Federation of Historical Swordplay to teach medieval and renaissance combat in the Historical Western Martial Arts.


4 thoughts on “Movie Catch-up: Riddick (2013)

  1. Welcome to the Meat-headed Teenage Boys Sci-Fi Club.

    Posted by E W Heizniku | Feb 6, 2015, 1:13 pm
  2. Glad to see we’re still making 80’s creature-feature movies.

    Posted by CJ | May 17, 2015, 11:37 pm


  1. Pingback: Review: Dredd (2012) | Everything Express - Jun 14, 2015

  2. Pingback: Review: Spectre (2015) | Everything Express - Nov 4, 2015

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