Direction: David Twohy
Actors: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff
Besides introducing the character of ex-convict Richard B. Riddick (the middle name stands for bastard, we’re told), the cult sci-fi/horror hybrid Pitch Black (2000) launched Vin Diesel on a career trajectory as an A-list action star. In this third installment of the blockbuster franchise (following The Chronicles of Riddick, 2004), he reprises his signature role. Disappointingly, the threequel doesn’t break through the tried-and-tested genre formula. The stop-go plot comes up short in the thrills-and-fun department. This time around, the eponymous protagonist is betrayed and left for dead on a desolate planet. He must not only ward off an army of alien predators but also use his survival skills to vanquish a group of bounty hunters. The largely wordless first half-hour or so is fairly engrossing. Unfortunately, the rest of the film plays out predictably, with credibility thrown off along with any feeling of foreboding.
Some of the complications in which the script co-authored by series writer- director David Twohy, places Riddick parallel the first two installments of the trilogy. But the man-versus-monster malarkey is likely to elicit delighted groans from the young adult viewers. Our galactic fugitive even ‘adopts’ a feral critter — a cross between a canine and a zebra — which freaks out his exasperated pursuers. Heavy going for the most part, many of the scenes are further hampered by portentous dialogue and less-than-swift pacing. On the other hand, the creature design is by and large imaginative. Also, the lone female in the cast, Katee Sackhoff is eminently camera-friendly. In the acting department, however, she still has miles to go.
An effects-centric fantasy, Riddick is strictly for fans of grungy sci-fi adventures.