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  Riddick Dammit, Planet
Year: 2013
Director: David Twohy
Stars: Vin Diesel, Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, Conrad Pla, Danny Blanco Hall, Noah Danby, Neil Napier, Nolan Gerard Funk, Karl Urban, Andreas Apergis, Keri Hilson
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Riddick (Vin Diesel) awakens under a pile of rubble and ponders his next move. He is on a planet he had hoped would be his long lost home of Furya, but as is often the case with him he was double-crossed and left for dead, though he's not finished yet. He does have a busted leg, however, which he's going to have to attend to if he wishes to survive, so mustering all his self-preservation techniques he sets the limb just in time, as a pack of the local wildlife are taking an interest in him with a view to making Riddick their next meal. He avoids them by hiding in a handy pool, then once they have dispersed he re-emerges and sees about getting off this godforsaken world...

Who knew that after The Chronicles of Riddick flopped we would ever see the character again? One man did, and he was Vin Diesel, being as he was very attached to the role which had made him a star in the original Riddick flick, Pitch Black, so much so that he had purchased the rights to the character expressly so he could make more films featuring him. His partner in crime, as it had been twice before, was writer and director David Twohy, who dreamt up another plot for him to play out, except that rather than a straight continuation of the immediately previous instalment he rehashed the first one, stranding Riddick on an alien planet and essentially saying to him, "Now get out of that."

That was not to say we were starting afresh, as there was a bit of business, longer in the original cut, where it was explained that Riddick was an unpopular ruler of the Necromongers, which was where we last saw him, and a conspiracy led by Commander Vaako (Karl Urban, whose services were evidently a bit more expensive by this stage given he hardly appeared this time) saw to it that our anti-hero was abandoned on a place which he had been fooled into thinking was his homeworld. A typical example of having a character care very deeply about something most of the audience weren't too bothered about, this search for Furya wisely didn't take up too much of the movie as mostly Riddick has to find out how to kick off his galaxy-spanning adventures once again.

There was a feeling of "back to square one" about watching this, but as far as it went Riddick's Ray Mears impression to get by on the hostile landscape was fairly compelling, even if the extensive computer-designed visuals - backdrops and foregrounds and weird creatures alike - were never quite as convincing as you might have hoped, mainly since the budget was modest for a space opera. Riddick even picks up a pet pooch, also CGI, which he trains to obey his commands, useful when his craftily conceived plans come to fruition. Mostly that fruition took the form of attracting a spaceship to give him a lift, willingly or otherwise, though in effect he had a choice of two who answer his distress beacon in an outpost he happens to discover for shelter.

Those ships contain a couple of bands of mercenaries, one more professional than the other; the first are a rough and ready bunch who want to kill him to claim the bounty, led by Santana (Jordi Mollà), a real creep who we wish to see get a comeuppance. The other lot are led by Boss Johns (Matt Nable), who is the father of a character you may or may not recall from Pitch Black, but bears a grudge after his son expired - by Riddick's hand, he believes. Also along with that group is the sole female role of any importance, Dahl, played by Katee Sackhoff of TV's Battlestar Galactica remake fame, though many found her part problematic here as while she is playing a lesbian, and a tough one at that, her character took an unholy amount of verbal and at times physical abuse from certain other members of the dramatis personae. As it was, that offensiveness was about the only reason to sustain interest with the movie getting bogged down in tit for tat and cat and mouse, Riddick disappearing for a long stretch too. There is a good idea in this franchise, but it rarely shines. Music by Graeme Revell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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