Way back in the year 2000, I saw Pitch Black, the first Riddick film in theaters. It was awesome. I was blown away. Part of its awesomeness was because it wasn’t about a single character. There were multiple stories being told, the characters had varying motivations, and while some had secrets, not everyone did. Some of the characters were just folk who happened to be part of the story. One of the characters, perhaps the most interesting, was Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel) an escaped convict and stone-cold killer with a literal shine to his eyes that lets him see in the dark.
How cool is that?
Turns out, for as bad as Riddick is, he actually had a moral code. He’d kill you, but he’d have a reason . . . like you were breathing heavy or something.
Still, he was so cool that in 2004 he warranted his own film with a bigger budget: The Chronicles of Riddick.
It was mediocre at best.
Amping up the already amped up character to epic amp levels (and beyond), the movie introduced so many crazy elements to Riddick that it was laughable. Riddick’s eyes were genetic, not a “surgical shine job”. Riddick was a child of prophecy. Riddick was the last survivor of a whole race. Riddick was the best fighter/killer, by several orders of magnitude, in the entire universe. Riddick could throw lethal energy waves like a character from Mortal Kombat.
What the what?
Yeah, not so cool.
But the character had enough inertia from the first movie that maybe, just maybe, it could carry a third movie.
Enter 2013’s Riddick.
Instead of upping the ante (after conquering the entire galaxy I’m not certain where they would have gone), this movie returns Riddick to his roots, a desolate planet with lethal creatures and a band of mercenaries. That’s all decent stuff, but the mythos of Riddick is still ratcheted to high, and the mercenaries are so cardboard you could package DVDs with them. Katie Sackoff’s breasts are actually more interesting than her character. The CGI dog that Riddick raises from a pup (over a period of a week or so) is more interesting (must be the Puppy Chow!).
I also found the ending to be rather “meh” worthy. Better, by far, than the craziness that was Chronicles, but I was left feeling that writers had no idea what to do, and so they tacked on this awkward semi-resolution. To make matters worse, neither Katie Sackoff or her breasts even make an appearance. Where’d she go? What happened there? What the what!?
So yeah, that’s Riddick. Here’s hoping that with even less money, they can make an even better film next time.