Now Playing: ‘Riddick’-ulous

The way I see it, there are three types of people who will want to see ‘Riddick’ this weekend: 1) those who enjoy the established character and want to see more, 2) those who like Vin Diesel and his ‘Fast and Furious’ movies, and 3) the pervy ‘Battlestar Galactica’ geeks who want to see the rumored Katee Sackhoff topless scene. I’m here to tell you that no matter which of the three groups you may belong to, you’ll be disappointed by the movie. Let me explain.

If you fall into the first category (you like the character, ‘Pitch Black‘ and ‘The Chronicles of Riddick‘), you’ll be disappointed that ‘Riddick’ doesn’t pick up where ‘Chronicles’ left off. For those who don’t remember, ‘Chronicles’ ended with Riddick becoming the god of the Necromongers – or something like that. That ending offered an endless world of possibilities, but, as the poor visual effects in the new ‘Riddick’ reveal, the budget of this third film was exceptionally limited and wouldn’t allow for a proper follow-up. I presume that this was due to the fact that ‘Chronicles’ flopped. A brief voiceover flashback sequence in the first 30 minutes gives a flimsy explanation as to why we’re not seeing that movie instead.

The biggest disappointment of ‘Riddick’ is that the plot is basically a rehash of ‘Pitch Black’. We open with a meandering sequence that shows Riddick acting like Survivorman on yet another extremely deadly and overexposed planet. Unlike the planet from ‘After Earth’, this world actually feels like everything on it has evolved to kill humans. After Riddick tames a wild beast and kills several others (which takes half an hour), he finds a mercenary outpost. At this point, the remainder of the movie pans out exactly like ‘Pitch Black’. Riddick and an unlikely group of ding-dongs fight to survive each other and the unpredictable environment. As they get picked off one by one, you can’t help but notice how much this all feels familiar.

If you fall into the second category (you’re a V.D. fan because of the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies), then you haven’t noticed that Diesel has the acting range of golf driver in my hands, which is about 12 yards. The ‘Fast and Furious’ fans who walk into ‘Riddick’ expecting the same sort of entertainment won’t make that same mistake again. That is, if the heavens open and a fourth Riddick movie gets produced.

And if you fall into the final category (you want to see Starbuck topless), you’ll find her nude scene brief and utterly pointless. Pun intended. Sorry, pervs. She hardly shows any skin.

At this point, I can’t see anyone funding another Riddick movie. I’m sure that Vin Diesel doesn’t want to go down as an actor known only for one car-chase franchise, so he’s trying to resurrect his only other hope. Sadly, it’s a wasted effort. In every way, from screenplay to acting, directing, VFX, etc., ‘Riddick’ is sub-par and not worth your time or money.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆


  1. That’s a shame. Pitch Black is one of my favorite sci-fi B-movies. But yeah, the trailers for this look very clearly like a shameless retread of that. And of course, Chronicles of Riddick in between already sucked.

  2. “If you fall into the second category (you’re a V.D. fan because of the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies), then you haven’t noticed that Diesel has the acting range of golf driver in my hands, which is about 12 yards.”

    Well put. 🙂

  3. I find it funny the way that the first movie was rebranded as “The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black” for video when the last sequel came out. Would that make this “The Chronicles of Riddick: Riddick”?

    Otherwise, it means that the franchise has gone from “The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black” to “The Chronicles of Riddick” to “Riddick.” I guess the next one will have to just be called “R.”

    • Well, that’s still not as bad as:

      First Blood
      Rambo: First Blood Part II
      Rambo III

      I was never a huge fan of PITCH BLACK, so I guess I’ll be waiting for cable on this one.

  4. I’m in the first and I actually like Chronicles much more than Pitch Black, Pitch Black was a great Scifi flick but I like the grand and epic scale that they took the character too in the sequel, shame that it flopped and all of that is just dumped because they have no money, but why in the world would they just make the same movies as Pitch Black all over again? While I will still see this and probably enjoy it, I knew from the trailer it would be a big rehash

  5. James

    I fall into the first category and actually quite enjoyed it. I, of course, don’t prescribe to the notion that if the movie isn’t what I wanted it to be, it must be garbage. I did want to see what the “big budget” follow-up to chronicles would have been, but that’s not what they made. They made a smaller character study of Riddick with the basic goals of “how badass can we make this character?” and “how much can we throw at him before he will break?”

    There’s also something that Luke is not telling you about the plot. Without spoiling it, they don’t *just* retell the same story as Pitch Black, but instead reference that movie in ways that flows naturally into this one.

    Is it masterful storytelling? Surely not. But it’s a great deal better than a one star review might suggest. In my opinion, it’s head and shoulders above in quality, storytelling, and having fun than most low budget sci-fi films in this day and age (like Lockout, Doomsday, and Death Race) and this is the kind of entertainment I want to support. If just so that they don’t just stop making these R-Rated, sci-fi adventure films at all in the future.

  6. Drew

    I only have this to say – Based on this review, I would bet that Luke hasn’t even seen ‘Pitch Black’.

  7. Drew

    If you saw it, you certainly didn’t pay any attention to it. Otherwise, there’s no possible way that you could say it pans out exactly like ‘Pitch Black’.

    You should refrain from making statements like that, when you haven’t seen the film that you’re comparing it to, in 12 years.

    • Luke Hickman

      Here’s what I remember about ‘Pitch Black’: I group of people are stranded on a deadly planet. They have to survive the planet’s indigenous beings. One-by-one, people are picked off.

      How is that any different from ‘Riddick?’

      If that’s what I remember from ‘Pitch Black’ (and I can’t be the only one out there who remembers that aspect of ‘Pitch Black’ when thinking back on it), then there’s an obvious problem because that’s EXACTLY the same as ‘Riddick.’

      Like I said, I brought two big Riddick fans with me to the screening and they both agree with my opinion of ‘Riddick’ being exactly the same. The only difference between the two is the 30-minute ‘Castaway’/’I Am Legend’ intro of ‘Riddick.’

      Having said all of that, Drew, how did you like ‘Riddick?’ Are you a fan of the franchise?

      • I like Pitch Black. Your memory of the plot of Pitch Black is exactly correct. What you say about Riddick confirms the impression I got from the trailers – that it’s just a carbon copy of the first movie. Every other review I’ve read says the same thing. With that in mind, and considering how bad The Chronicles of Riddick was, I’ll wait for Blu-ray.

  8. Loved it and it gave me exactly what I expected out of it, good kills, fun one liners and Vin Diesel being bad ass. While it was similar to Pitch Black, IMO it was a very different movie, it kept what worked with Pitch Black but made it different enough for fans to still have a good time with it.

    As for reviewing this film, I’m not sure why the people that havent seen the film at all or in this case, havent bothered or cared about the franchise, get to do the review. You are automatically biased, you said it yourself that you watched Pitch Black once and that was enough, did you see Chronicles once as well or did you skip over that because you didnt like Pitch Black at all? There is no way you were going to like this movie unless you were a fan of the series, which you clearly arent. Watching the original ONCE 12 years ago isnt enough to make any fair comparisons with this one, hate to say.

    • C’mon, Chaz. You should understand by now that there is no rule that requires only fans of a movie to review it. If anything, someone who’s a huge fan of the other Riddick movies will be far more “biased” than someone who’s apathetic to them.

      • The problem with that statement is that someone who was a fan of the franchise would have a more honest opinion about whether it sucked or not. If someone who really enjoyed Pitch Black AND Chronicles reviewed this and told me it was pretty damn bad, I would hesitate on seeing it, but instead someone who is not a fan pretty much at all is telling me that its crap and honestly couldnt even get the review right OR the comparisons (supposedly) to the first film in the series. That just makes me want to see it more because I knew he would be wrong, so who is really more biased here?

        I agree fully with Drew on this one and feel its an unfair comparison and review for this film, its one thing to not like it, but not liking the franchise from the get go which in turn made the reviews “facts” about the movie all wrong just gives people the wrong impression

  9. Drew

    Here’s the bottom line – the MAJOR difference between this and ‘Pitch Black’ is that this time — SPOILER ALERT — it’s Riddick that is picking people off, one by one. It’s NOT the indigenous species. Someone that had watched ‘Pitch Black’ more recently than 12 years ago, would have picked up on this.

    On top of that, as Luke has already admitted, the opening 30+ minutes couldn’t be more different. They are very different films. This is most definitely not a carbon copy of ‘Pitch Black’. Not even close. I watched ‘Pitch Black’ the day before seeing ‘Riddick’. ‘Riddick’, only has about 15-20% of the entire film in common with ‘Pitch Black’.

    • It still doesn’t sound very different. Riddick stalks the crew of the ship at the beginning of Pitch Black.

      In any case, 15-20% of a movie is a pretty big percentage to copy.

  10. Drew

    I didn’t say 15-20% was copied. I said there was only 15-20% of it that had anything in common. I’m going to say that 0.5-1% was copied. In other words, literally, almost nothing. Trust me the trailers give the wrong impression. They were deliberately trying to mislead people into believing that it would be exactly like ‘Pitch’, because they knew that ‘Pitch’ was well received. And Luke’s review is just flat out wrong. I won’t disagree with his rating, as that is not my place, but almost nothing in ‘Riddick’ pans out like ‘Pitch Black’. I’m not the only one commenting that has pointed thid out. If Luke would have seen ‘Pitch’ more recently, he would have understood this.

    Luke, to answer your questions, let me say that I am a moderate fan of the series and the character. For me, ‘Riddick’ is the best, followed by ‘Pitch’, and then ‘Chronicles’. They are all bad movies, but there’s something that I really like about the series. It’s not dissimilar from ‘Resident Evil’ or ‘Underworld’, in that regard. ‘Riddick’ was just the most satisfying, by far. And I would have bet anything that I never would have liked it more than ‘Pitch’, prior to seeing it. As a matter of fact, I was convinced that it probably wouldn’t even hold up to ‘Chronicles’.


  12. Lord Bowler

    Yes, this movie is very much like a Pitch Black retread, but I liked it more than Pitch Black.

    We get to see more of Riddick being Riddick in the beginning, overcoming an impossible situation and surviving despite the odds against it.

    Then the movie unfolds like Pitch Black, except in Pitch Black Riddick only killed one person, if I recall. I enjoyed the call back to that with Johns’ father in this movie and that the father is honorable, where the son wasn’t.

    I hope we see a sequel to this that is more like Chronicles since the last attempt to expand the universe failed.

    I enjoyed the movie for what it was and I went into knowing exactly what it was. It was not the movie I really wanted too see, but we won’t get that movie unless the franchise proves it can be profitable. It’s the nature of business. Sometimes you get Star Wars and sometimes you get Battlefield Earth. This is in between (more towards Star Wars than Battlefield Earth).