Saturday 7 September 2013

Movie Review: Riddick

It's been an uneven ride but clearly, based on the ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, it's never been a good ride, never mind a hit. Is Riddick an acquired taste? I have now seen all three films in this supposed trilogy (I'm not sure there was a definite plan: Let's make a film and see what happens.) and I can easily see how this will retain its cult following but fail to break into the mainstream. In comparison, The Matrix franchise has a profundity which gives it an intellectual panache. You keep going back over and over again. You see Riddick once and you've got everything it has to offer.

Vin Diesel. Mr. Tough Guy. Whether it's Fast and Furious, xXx, or a me against the world opus (The Pacifier? Ha ha), Mr. Diesel impressively rolls out biceps and minimal guttural drawl to show off that one dimensional don't f**k with me tiger on the verge of pouncing or, should I say, layin' a beatin' on ya. Don't get me wrong, such a character is admired and in great demand for how else to explain Arnold and Clint? Both are popular but I don't think either one ever got an Oscar for demonstrating their method acting for emoting on cue unless you include scowling. We do love our tough guys. Although Bruce is popular because his tough guy is also funny, more of your wise-cracking everyday man rising to the occasion.

I hadn't thought of it but one review labelled this film hero worship then added "homoerotic." That cracked me up. I admire my tough guys but I hadn't thought about having sex with them. Ha, ha. Is there a fine line between worshipping your hero and worshipping your hero? Aside: There is an amusing web site called "On Knees For Jesus" which mocks the Christian far right for their screwball unwavering faith over facts approach to life. The tagline for the site is, "My life is all about getting on my knees and faithfully servicing Jesus until He comes." That one is certainly worth an O-M-G followed more than one exclamation mark.

This third outing in the Riddick series reminds me of the third Alien movie. Obviously they did it to make money but the outcome is a confused mishmash of previous films. While Riddick #2 did dismally at the box office and was crucified by the critics (Rotten Tomatoes = 29%), I liked it and thought it was a logical and good next step in the series the same way James Cameron's Aliens (Alien #2) was a good second outing. - Sorry, there is no way you can compare Alien and Riddick. Not even in the same ballpark. Alien is waaaaaaay better. - So basically this is the same old, same old and if you liked the same old you are bound to like some more same old.

The Trilogy
I look at the gross of each film and think of the three films of The Matrix franchise grossing $1.6 billion. Yep, Riddick is small fries.

Pitch Black (2000)
Budget: $23 million
Gross: $53 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
Budget: $105 million
Gross: $115 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%

Riddick (2013)
Budget: $38 million
Gross: n/a
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%

Final Word
If you're a fan, a fanatic, you'll go. If you're curious like me because you saw the other films and you just have to see what they came up with this time, you'll go. If you don't fit into either of those categories, I would advise you take another look at the marquee and choose something else. This is an acquired taste which means you have to be a science fiction tough guy nerd. Hmm, now that I think about it, maybe it does seem homoerotic. (Joke: I know a guy so homophobic, he only buys skim milk.)

As I sit here writing these words, I realise something. I've completely forgotten about this film and I am thinking of what to do next. Memorable? Nope. I'm not going to go so far as to ask for two hours of my life back, but I have seen better and would tell you to re-watch The Matrix #1 or #2 or Alien #1 or #2 (Aliens). If you rent, you can watch it at home and pause it when you have to go to the bathroom. IMAX wouldn't do that for me... twice. Geesh, I shouldn't drink so much coffee before going to the movies. Ha, ha.


Rotten Tomatoes: Riddick (2013): 59%
It may not win the franchise many new converts, but this back-to-basics outing brings Riddick fans more of the brooding sci-fi action they've come to expect.

Wikipedia: Riddick (film)
Riddick is an upcoming 2013 American science fiction action film, the third installment in the The Chronicles of Riddick film series. Produced by and starring Vin Diesel as the title character, Riddick is written and directed by David Twohy, who previously wrote and directed the first two installments, Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004).

Rotten Tomatoes: Pitch Black (2000): 57%
Despite an interesting premise (and a starmaking turn from Vin Diesel), Pitch Black is too derivative and formulaic to recommend to sci-fi or action fans.

Wikipedia: Pitch Black (film)
Pitch Black (known as The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black in later home media releases) is a 2000 science fiction thriller film co-written and directed by David Twohy. The film stars Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Keith David.

Rotten Tomatoes: The Chronicles of Riddick (2004): 29%
As an action movie, Riddick offers some thrills, but as a sequel to Pitch Black, it's a disappointment.

Wikipedia: The Chronicles of Riddick
The Chronicles of Riddick is a 2004 American science fiction film which follows the adventures of Richard B. Riddick, as he attempts to elude capture after the events depicted in the 2000 film Pitch Black. It is written and directed by Pitch Black director David Twohy, with Vin Diesel reprising his role as Riddick and now also acting as producer. It is the only film in the franchise to be given a PG-13 rating.


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