Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Riddick

Lowdown: In order to get away from a god forsaken planet, Riddick has to invite mercenaries to hunt him down.
Review:
I am no fan of Vin Diesel nor the horror genre, but I consider 2000's Pitch Black to be a good movie; not my ultimate cup of tea, but a good one nevertheless. 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick, the sequel, was a different can of fish: it was a proper science fiction movie, and a pretty good one at that. Given the lineage, I expected 2013's Riddick to be even better. To put it bluntly, it isn't.
Problems start from the start: it is hard to figure out what's going on with this one. As in, after a brief exposition we witness Riddick getting himself stranded on a desolate desert planet haunted by a collection of vicious animals, I was missing the context. What led Riddick to where he got to? Are we expected to remember where Chronicles of Riddick last left us at, back in 2004? Diesel's way of slurring his dialog does not help in the comprehension department either.
Then there is the plot. Us viewers are stuck with scenes of Riddick fighting to survive on this desert planet of his for a long while once the movie starts, which left me wondering when it is actually going to start. It took a long while till it dawned on me that this is it, this is what the movie Riddick is all about. In other words, it is not about much at all.
What Riddick is about is some sort of an ego trip. At one point or another during his survival match with the vicious planet, Riddick realises a big storm is coming and he needs to get out of the planet, pronto (we are not told why he thinks that). His escape method? Show himself up at some remote station's cameras so that bounty hunters everywhere can come to get him. Not that he's planning on letting them catch their prize; he wants to hunt them down instead and use their spaceships for a getaway.
Two such parties of bounty hunters answer the call. The first thinks it can overpower Riddick, the second tries to outsmart him. That second group also includes a woman, Dahl (Katee Sackhoff, who is probably more familiar to viewers as Battlestar Galactica's Starbuck). The rest of the film is all about the stand off between Riddick and the two groups. One against many.
Which brings me to my next problem with this movie. It keeps on telling us how good and perfect Riddick is, and how the bounty hunters don't stand a chance against him, but other than Vin Diesel looking cool and trying to sound cool we have no proof for the matter. Or rather, little proof. What we do have is some sort of an immature teenager's fantasy: a male hero that sleeps with multiple naked ladies at once, all of them shaved downstairs; a male hero that talks the tough talk and can even screw armour directly to his flesh when required (hope he had antibiotics to go with that); and a totally redundant scene designed solely to show off Ms Sackhoff breasts (because we've waited through the whole of Battlestar Galactica for that to happen); and last, but not least, we have our Riddick turning a lesbian over - because if there is a man that can achieve that, it's Riddick.
I will summarise what Riddick brings to the table: A Dune like setting + Mad Max like clothing + Star Wars like technology + Rambo like plot + male fantasy wish fulfilment. I don't know about you, but when it's all added up, all I'm left with is bad taste in my mouth.
Overall: A hell of a nothing of a film, the redundant affair called Riddick earns 1.5 out of 5 crabs from me.

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