Exiled by the Necromongers, Richard B. Riddick (Diesel) finds himself stranded on a planet where everything is even deadlier than him. Seeking a way off, he summons bounty hunters to the planet, aiming to steal a ship...
It’s been almost a decade since Vin Diesel’s unstoppable Furyan, Richard B. Riddick, proved all too stoppable thanks to The Chronicles Of Riddick. That movie, which sought to take Pitch Black’s standout character and widen his mythology, was ambitious but had one tiny flaw: it was bobbins. Yet, with the Fast franchise refilling Diesel’s tank, Vin and his long-time collaborator, David Twohy, have managed to eke out a little-goes-a-long-way budget for another shot at the character.
And, to maximize what could be their final moments together, the duo have plumped for an interesting structure: effectively, three films for the price of one.
Film one – Vin Diesel’s World Of Greenscreen – is a Riddick solo adventure, as the Furyan, left for dead on a planet he thought was Furya but, in the best line of Diesel’s Pazazu-impersonator narration, is revealed as “Not Furya”, attempts to survive in an environment where everything he encounters thinks he’s a hairless hotdog.
Largely wordless, the segment reminds us that Diesel still has charisma enough to hold our attention when he’s the only human element on screen for 25 minutes, fending off scorpion beasts and taming feral CG wolf-bastards. It’s almost a shame when Riddick spies an ominous threat lurking on the horizon, and decides to kickstart Film 2 by luring two teams of bounty hunters – aka his ride home to Not Furya. The longest section, it’s effectively a remake of Predator with Diesel as the alien, a barely-glimpsed but spooky presence as he stalks, and occasionally slashes, the rival mercs (one a bunch of psychotic scuzzos, led by the never knowingly subtle Jordi Molla; the other by-the-book professionals led by a stoic Matt Nables). It’s also, you may have noticed, an extended riff on a similar section in Pitch Black, but the bounty hunters aren’t well-drawn enough to hold the interest while Diesel stalks around on the edges of the screen.
He comes in from the cold for Film 3, which stops toying with the idea of remaking Pitch Black, and just remakes Pitch Black, as Riddick and the remaining bounty hunters join forces to fend off a mass nocturnal assault from a slimy, vicious alien threat. Filled with plot holes, character contrivances and, as a randy Riddick makes goggly eyes at Katee Sackhoff’s Dahl, the kind of sexual politics you’d expect in a '70s sitcom (Bless This Riddick, perhaps), it’s the weakest section, only serving to remind us that Twohy and Diesel did this before, and better. But they’ve also done it before, and worse, and for all its flaws, Riddick is lurid and ludicrous enough to make you curious about what Twohy and Diesel would do next time, probably with an even smaller budget. Riddick titting about in a cupboard, perhaps?
Overlong and often overcooked, this is nevertheless a relative return to form for Diesel as the fiendish Furyan.