Studio-Provided Plot Synopsis: Riddick, the latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000’s hit sci-fi film Pitch Black and 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick reunites writer/director David Twohy (A Perfect Getaway, The Fugitive) and star Vin Diesel (the Fast and Furious franchise, xXx). Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy. The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.
My Thoughts: Fans of 2000s Pitch Black were understandably thrown by its 2004 follow-up. The Chronicles of Riddick tamed things down to PG-13, which meant major changes to the character of Riddick. Universal Studios is hoping that fans of the original will come back for Riddick, which is certainly more in the vein of Pitch Black. Of course, to make this film nearly a decade after its predecessor crashed and burned, Riddick had to be made on a lower budget. Twohy does some creative work to cover for this. Purposely not showing Riddick’s actions when first encountering the crews of the ships allows for the threat of violence to form in the imagination, making Riddick seem potentially more dangerous. But this is also a film that involves a good half hour or so of having Vin Diesel alone on screen, and while Diesel’s take on the character works, the screen time involved may be just too much for him to handle. The supporting cast is largely just window dressing for the film, though Katee Sackhoff does some solid work as lone female Dahl. It’s a step up from its predecessor, but this film will be best viewed almost exclusively by Pitch Black‘s fans. And even then, they may not care for it.