Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Riddick

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I wish I could see in the dark...my toes would thank me.




Riddick – 4 out of 5

I’m a big fan of the character Riddick. I love Pitch Black, even though most people hated The Chronicles of Riddick, I enjoyed how the film took the character from a Sci-Fi/horror movie and put him into a Sci-Fi/Action film, and I was a little more than excited to see Vin Diesel return as Riddick for another go around on another violent planet that seems hell bent on murder all of the soft, squishy humans that happen to set foot on it.

I could make a fart joke here but I won't...eh, but if I did--Nah, I won't.

Still, it could be really easy to make one with this still...

Some people just look more badass when restrained
with chains.
When we last left Riddick, he accidentally became the leader of the Necromongers and, during that time, he became obsessed with finding his home world, and has an utter refusal of truly becoming one of the Necromongers and it has lead to some animosity. While visiting a foreign, inhospitable planet that is claimed to be his home world of Furya, Riddick is betrayed and left on the planet to die. Since he is a predator by nature, Riddick learns to survive on the planet and soon locates an abandoned base. There, he uses an emergency beacon that positively identifies the man and, soon, two squads of bounty hunters converge on the planet to claim Riddick for the price that is on his head—one of them, as it turns out, has a past with the man who can see in the dark. Since he is Riddick after all, he doesn’t go quietly and starts picking off the team of mercenaries; however, Riddick and the bounty hunters soon learn that the planet holds a dangerous secret. When the rainy season begins, it unearths deadly and venomous serpent creatures and it forces Riddick and the mercs to work together to try and get off the planet.

Also, Riddick gets some sort of hyena/tiger dog thing as a pet and companion.


While the main consensus with this film with audiences and critics is mixed, I found that I really enjoyed it. Right off the bat, like I said earlier, I really like the character of Riddick. Who doesn’t love a good anti-hero? When I first saw Pitch Black, I was enthralled with the guy because he was everything a great anti-hero was supposed to be. He rode the line of good and bad perfectly, he was sarcastic and funny, he was cold and cool and it didn’t hurt that it seemed to be the role Vin Diesel was born to play and, additionally, could see in the motherfucking dark!!! No matter what it was—The Chronicles of Riddick, the animated film Dark Fury, Pitch Black or the two video games that starred him—I was a fan of the character and that alone sold me on many of the properties he was involved with. 

Christ, what is he listening to on that ear thing?  R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts?"


It’s been nearly a decade since The Chronicles of Riddick and it feels like no time has passed. Vin Diesel still embodies the character, and the tone and atmosphere of the film looks not much different from the other films. Riddick feels like an amalgam of the two previous live-action films. There were horror (and monster) elements from Pitch Black and there was a heavy emphasis on action like in The Chronicles of Riddick. Also, like Chronicles, this film does a lot to help further establish the universe that Riddick exists in. This melding really helped create a film that felt familiar but didn’t feel completely like a rehash of the last adventures and made for a new journey for the man.  Plus, it has great action and doesn't shy away from the guts and blood...so, that's a plus!

Remember when he was the Iron Giant and made us all cry at the end of the movie?
You're crying now aren't you. It's okay...so am I.


You can be badass but you'll never be "fighting alien
serpents on a mountain while it rains and lighting
strikes around you" badass.
My only real complaint about the film is the fact that the movie starts to feel rushed at the end. The majority of the beginning of the film is there to set the stage for Riddick’s recovery from the betrayal he suffered from the Necromongers and how he’s come to adapt to this strange new world. The next part deals with the bounty hunters arriving and trying to ensnare Riddick only to have them start getting picked off one by one. Finally, the rains arrive and the monsters come out of hiding and the film enters into its final phase. None of these parts are bad, mind you, but the end part where the real slaughter should start when the serpents rise from the mud ends up getting rushed towards the credits and all the characters that are killed by the beasts do so in the early moments when they arrive. Had the scenes of Riddick adjusting to the new world been shortened or the entire running length stretched out (I would have sat through an even longer Riddick film), we might have had a more balanced film that didn’t feel like it wanted to hurry and get through the monster half of its story. I know I already stated that I enjoyed how the film felt like a merging of the genres and themes of the previous films but, elaborating a little, I didn’t dig how uneven they ended up feeling.

"Emergency Bacon Activia?"  Wut?  Whoops, I read that wrong.  I thought
Riddick was getting some emergency poop yogurt that tastes like bacon.


Aside from the title character, this movie does a decent job of adding in new and interesting characters to the mix. Matt Nable comes in to play a person who has a connection to Riddick’s past and helps connect this film to the first.  While Nable may not have been the most dynamic of actors chosen for the role, the character itself is interesting because the drama that it creates with Riddick.  Nable wasn't a terrible actor (he did his job just fine), but the character really helped the film move forward.

Quick, take a guess who this man is...you guessed a relative of one of the creatures
Riddick fought in Pitch Black, didn't you?  Nice try.  I'll give you an 'A' for effort.


Bautista has few lines in this film...that might be the key
to getting a good performance out of him.
(I'm kidding, Bautista...please don't kick my ass.)
Jordi MollĂ  is pretty entertaining as the reckless bounty hunter Santana and, even though you know his fate thanks to the Red Band trailer, he was still fun to watch as he gets his ass handed to him pretty much every second of the film. Dave Bautista surprised me as he showed me he can actually do a decent job of acting as he played the grunt Diaz in the film. I found him to be terrible in The Man with the Iron Fist but seeing that he can act in this film fills me with hope for his role as Drax the Destroyer in the next Marvel film I am really, REALLY pumped to see; Guardians of the Galaxy. Finally, Katee Sackhoff is entertaining as Dahl…even though she is still basically playing Kara Thrace.

You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace Dahl.  You will lead Riddick to his end.


The biggest downfall with the characters, however, is that a lot of them go viciously underdeveloped and that pretty much creates a blazing, fire-red neon sign above their heads saying, “This person won’t live to the final act.” But, at least, the movie is kind enough to let us bask in the glory that is Karl Urban…

Anytime you get Karl Urban in anything, everybody wins.


Riddick may not be as perfect as I think Pitch Black is and it is not as overcomplicated as Chronicles was (let’s face it, as much as I enjoyed it, there was a lot of silly Sci-Fi and fantasy elements working on in that one), and the film may have some issues with the overall rushed feel and lack of balance in the film’s story but I still really enjoyed the movie and found it to be a kick-ass action film with a badass anti-hero leading the way and leaving decapitated beasts in his wake. The film is even kind enough to leave a teaser ending that suggests that Riddick's adventures aren't over.

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