A bright yellow desert sun blazes across an arid landscape as Vin Diesel’s signature mumble fills the theatre: “There are bad days, and there are legendary bad days. This was one of those.” That pretty much sums up the entire movie.
In “Riddick,” Vin Deisel reprises his title role as the predatory killer and anti-hero Riddick. The movie opens with Riddick pitting himself against the harsh natural elements of a planet he has been marooned on. Stumbling through a new and unknown terrain he comes up against packs of jackals, pterodactyl-like buzzards and water-dwelling scorpions. Eventually, Riddick moves on to a more inhabited part of the planet and finds a number of new foes to face, including but not limited to two teams of bounty hunters, the parents of old adversaries and a storm that heralds a migrating herd of deadly creatures.
If combined correctly these elements could have produced a decent action film. However, there is just enough filth in this film to tip the scales from what is acceptable for an anti-hero film to what is not.
There is a gratuitous amount of swearing throughout “Riddick.” It is used frequently and without any attempt at control. There is also a significant amount of both male and female nudity that is shamelessly shown for shock effect. None of it advances the plot, and there is not even a vague attempt at trying to make any of it artistic. Viewers are simply presented with naked humans for a few frames, and then the story moves on.
A blatant level of disrespect is shown toward the women in this film. The only woman with a substantial role in the movie is subjected to constant sexual slurs by the men in the film, is nearly raped and in the end succumbs to Riddick basically due to his sheer masculinity. In short, neither sex is portrayed very favorably in this film.
And of course, what anti-hero film is complete without the token cowardly-Christian, whose constant mutterings eventually lead Riddick to mutter: “Kid, leave God out of it. He wants no part of what happens next.”
“Riddick” certainly delivers the promised amount of action from a movie starring Vin Diesel. There are lots of slow-motion scenes, epic poses and more than enough blood and gore. Many of Riddick’s “kills” are so improbably executed that the only reaction for the viewer is to laugh at the incredulity of it all.
If viewers are able to look past all of the above, “Riddick” does have some impressive computer-generated landscapes and characters. Most of the planet is computer-generated, and there are a number of alien creatures that are interesting to watch. Sadly, even this is not enough to redeem the whole film.
“Riddick” succumbs to the same format that every movie of its genre is prey to. It brings you violence, sex, vulgarity and hubris all in a nice two-hour package and leaves you with nothing substantial at the end.