Nine years after its previous installment, Riddick comes back to screens as the latest episode in the futuristic sci-fi saga of the same name.
The film starts with Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) stranded on a desolate planet. Audiences are unaware of how Riddick got into his current predicament, but the titular character is injured with a broken leg and a deep cut across the side of his face. As he roams around searching for food and water, Riddick is slowly introduced to the beautifully treacherous environment and its incredibly dangerous inhabitants.
Through a series of flashbacks we soon learn that Riddick was betrayed by the treasonous Vaako (Karl Urban), and abandoned on this unnamed planet.
Once he is finally recovered, Riddick experiences a rebirth to his formerly uncivilized self. He searches for shelter, takes a zebra-wolf hybrid as his pet and comes across an area of the planet that shows signs of vegetation. Unfortunately, he must first pass through a cavernous, mud-filled area inhabited by an alien race of predators equipped with poisonous teeth and scorpion-esquetails.
Riddick eventually traverses this valley of death and makes it to the more Earth-looking area where he comes across an outpost. He activates an emergency beacon in an attempt to escape but instead draws attention from mercenaries looking to collect the bounty on his head and a group led by someone from his past. These groups arrive on ships that are his only hope of escape, but the humans and aliens stand in his way.
Riddick is by no means an Oscar-worthy film, but it is still very entertaining. Riddick possesses all the elements that make over-the-top action films so appealing. The humorous banter trying to establish a power structure between “badass” characters is as present as ever, the futuristically innovative weapons and vehicles are on full display and the impressively gory deaths are impactful and fitting. It is successful in what it sets out to achieve.
Diesel reprises his role as Riddick perfectly. To a certain extent, the character is one-dimensional, but this is purposefully done. Other actors also stand out in their roles, particularly Matt Nable as Johns — a father searching for the truth about his son — and Katee Sackhoff as Dahl, a lesbian mercenary who (literally) fights off advances from male counterparts while attempting to capture Riddick.
One of the most impactful aspects of the film, however, is the scenery. The planet’s environment is visually striking and Riddick’s survivalist journey serves as a wonderfully adept way to explore the natural splendor of the land.
Overall, Riddick is very entertaining. If you want cinematic brilliance, go watch something else. But if you want to see exactly what you’d expect from a Vin Diesel movie, I encourage you to see Riddick because it embodies the expectation of an entertaining film.