Movie Review: Riddick (2013) (IMAX)

September 16, 2013 in Movie Reviews, Reviews by pacejmiller

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I don’t really remember much of the first film in the trilogy, 2000’s Pitch Black, and I remember even less of the sequel, 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick. Despite these things, I went and watched the third and final instalment in the franchise, Riddick — in IMAX, no less — and I’m surprised to say I quite liked it.

Expectedly, Riddick again follows the fantastic adventures of Richard B Riddick (played by the supersized Mini-Me, Vin Diesel), the notorious criminal and unstoppable force of nature who can for some reason see in the dark and keeps finding himself in situations where that ability would prove very helpful against outmatched enemies. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t see any of the earlier films, or like me, can’t remember them. Even though the plots of all three movies are linked, Riddick easily stands on its own as a separate motion picture.

The film begins spectacularly, with a solitary and badly injured Riddick fighting for survival on a strange planet against a bunch of really nasty alien monster dogs and poisonous serpents. This is the best part of the whole movie, with almost no dialogue and just awesome survival horror action in a beautifully designed world. Unfortunately, other humans — in the form of dimwitted bounty hunters — eventually come for Riddick with a whole bunch of weapons and hi-tech gadgets, fully intent on putting his head in a glass box. The bounty is double if they bring him back dead, you see.

And so begins a cat and mouse game where Riddick toys with his inept foes (mostly involving over-the-top, gory violence), all while looking extremely cool and menacing and very un-Mini-Me-like. Even when he’s chained up he’s a lethal danger spewing sexist one-liners. It sounds cheesy, and it is, but it’s also quite fun, and funny. The film has practically no plot and no character development whatsoever, but it manages to stay afloat through well-executed action sequences and, simply, the badassness (that has to be a real word) of its titular character.

Riddick sadly outstays its welcome a little with an overlong climax and a total running time of 118 minutes, when something along the lines of about 100 minutes would have been perfect. But overall it’s a fairly enjoyable, adult-targeted popcorn movie that might very well be the best of the franchise.

3.5 stars out of 5