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MOVIE REVIEW

“The Chronicles of Riddick”
Dir: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Matt Nable, Jordi Molla
Monte’s Rating
3.00 out of 5.00


Movie Review — “Elysium”

MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 9/11/2013

Title character Richard B. Riddick brought a brutish, yet fun, quality to the science-fiction action franchise with “The Chronicles of Riddick.” Portrayed by seminal tough guy with a growling voice, Vin Diesel seemed tailored for the role.
“Pitch Black,” the first in the series, crafted an eerie survival film amidst a swarm of aliens.
“The Chronicles of Riddick” banking on the success of the first film, expanded the world with a disorganized, bigger story that lost sight of the simple enjoyment of the first film. “Riddick” dialed the storytelling back and tightened the focus, making a forgettable, yet fun film.
In the movie, Riddick is betrayed and left for dead on a barren planet. Hurt, Riddick fights for survival, looking for food and water, while fending off a few well-designed, man-eating creatures. But, as Riddick seems constructed, he becomes the dominant force on the planet to the extent of raising a young hyena/dog hybrid into an obedient traveling companion. He is looking for a way off the planet, and his salvation comes in the form of a group of mercenaries looking to collect a bounty placed on Riddick’s head.
Writer/director David Twohy threw some clever touches into the film, playing with narrative themes and tones, though at numerous moments the film lingered close to the edge of self-destruction. The film began as a reintroduction of the title character, giving quick insight into the backstory of the second film and into the thoughts of Riddick through a narrative voice-over. While this became time-consuming, there were a few good moments. In one instance, emulating a moment from a classic film, Riddick cleansed himself of his old, more compassionate persona and returned to the menacing mentality displayed in the first film. A relationship established with a CGI animal that was impressively rendered but also functioned as Riddick’s sole emotional companion on the desert planet brought a nice element to accommodate his solitude.
Once the mercenaries arrived to track down Riddick, the film shifted tone and focused on the group of hunters, transitioning the hunted into a secondary character. The mercenaries were composed of the usual archetypes, though they were given more personality than most films offer. The tone shifted to something similar to a horror film; Riddick becoming a predator in the vein of a slasher film. The tension developed surprisingly tight, offering jump scares that were quite obvious though executed with enough violence to remain startling. It was an interesting change in form, but Twohy accomplished the transition with positive effects.

“Riddick” wasn’t a great film. At times, it was not even a good one, but it had some clever narrative switches and fashioned a nice atmosphere with some suitable visual effects. Riddick was a simple character that Vin Diesel made something more than just ordinary. The dialog was terribly stiff, and the narrative was overly predictable; but the film, once violence and blood ridden dust had settled, accomplished the task of being distractingly, mindlessly entertaining.