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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Riddick may have topped the last film, critics say

Durga M Sengupta, Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, September 06, 2013
First Published: 15:55 IST(6/9/2013) | Last Updated: 14:49 IST(9/9/2013)

Critics have given their word. Riddick is a film not for everyone. Following three other Vin Diesel flicks that include Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, the animated movie The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury about Riddick the anti-hero action figure, the new film produced by Diesel is yet another crowd puller.

"Riddick can be cheesy and silly, not to mention excessively violent, but it’s also fun. The story moves quickly along, and even when the outcome is plain, the journey remains entertaining. Diesel looks like an oaf but makes for a winning anti-hero. It’s almost enough to make you wonder what he could accomplish if he stopped reprising the same roles again and again in the Fast and Furious franchise, not to mention this series. Regardless, this probably isn’t the last we’ll see of Riddick," writes Stephanie Merry in The Washington Post.

David Hiltbrand has an interesting observation to make in The Inquirer. "The movie is rather gratuitously smutty, but it's comforting at least to know that centuries from now in a galaxy far away, tough guys will still be trading the same blunt banter they do in bad Steven Seagal movies. Purely as an action film, Riddick is passable, if grueling. The problem is tonal. In previous outings, our interplanetary protagonist was brutal, sure, but at least there were shadings of noble savagery. This time, he's a sadist."

Rafer Guzman is all praises for Riddick in Newsday. "There are few things as pleasurable as high-quality pulp, and Riddick, starring Vin Diesel as humanoid ex-convict Richard B. Riddick, fits the bill. It's B-grade cinema made with A-level intelligence and imagination -- skillfully directed, surprisingly well acted and gratifyingly preposterous," writes Guzman almost flatteringly.

"Riddick repeats many a beat (and scene, and line) from the first film, but there are several improvements. Diesel mixes vulnerability into his machismo -- he at least winces while hand drilling screws into his shinbones -- which makes him more likable and less predictable," he adds.

We're not complaining.

"It takes a certain amount of brains to play dumb fun right, and Riddick infrequently shows that spark of self-aware wit. Action sequences are carried out with lavish and welcome brutality, and Diesel plays his growling convict with gleeful macho bluster. But those moments are brief bursts in this overlong popcorn flick, marooning viewers in vast wastelands of interminably dull dialogue and plodding plot progression," notes Barbara VanDenburgh in AZCentral.com.

Hmm, so it isn't really the best action flick of all times then?

VanDenburgh says no. And she explains why. "Riddick aims much lower than the stars and still doesn't quite hit its target. But when you consider a summer overstuffed with disappointing prestige pics that cost the GDP of several island nations to produce, Riddick's more modest (and less expensive) stumbling doesn't seem so bad in comparison."

However, she isn't the only one to not have loved the Vin Diesel styled action flick.

"Not only is this third installment in the series tedious, grisly and inane, its star, Vin Diesel, plays a ridiculous amalgam in the title role. He's a killing machine with a heart of gold, a malevolent mush-ball who plays fetch with alien critters," writes Claudia Puig in USA Today.

Ahan. But Puig doesn't stop there.

"Riddick's computer-generated pet dingo — who has no name-o — is the best actor of the lot," she declares.

Ouch?

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an indecisive 56% on the tomatometer with the comment, "It may not win the franchise many new converts, but this back-to-basics outing brings Riddick fans more of the brooding sci-fi action they've come to expect."

Well that sums it up, eh?

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