(Universal Pictures, R16)
It's a simple recipe: Take one Vin Diesel, in full-on one-man army mode. Add a lot of sharp-toothed alien beasties, and sprinkle over with a topping of miscellaneous intergalactic mercenaries.Then stir, adding in hefty amounts of gore and a little misogyny as you do so.
If the taste seems somewhat familiar and a little bland it is because writer/director David Twohy has fed you this sort of thing before, in the titular killer's previous on-screen forays in Pitch Black (2000) and Chronicles of Riddick (2004).
It's also more than a little derivative of the Aliens and Predator films, and their multitude of emulators.
Although a step up from the confusing and over-the-top Chronicles, this film suffers from a simple storyline - kill the monsters before they eat you - and some fairly one-dimensional performances.
Katee Sackhoff, who was so good as Starbuck in the reboot of the Battlestar Galactica television series, is largely wasted here, aside from being the subject of some somewhat sexist barbs and the occasional leering camera shot.
The only other female character is gunned down early on - a fate she shares with many of the other women in the Riddick films. I wonder why that is?
And what is Karl Urban doing here, in a scene apparently taken from the cutting room floor when Chronicles was being made? While Urban's star has risen since 2004, on the back of Dredd and the Star Trek films, Diesel's career seems to have levelled off - He is now alternating between this and the Fast and Furious franchise.
Riddick isn't all bad. The dialogue is usually a lot more cringe-worthy in this sort of fare. The alien beasties are very well done (particularly a weird kind of bloodthirsty, otherworldly hyena) and the special effects and hardware look great. But, when the next Riddick film is inevitably made in a few years time, I will be hoping it will be a little more cerebral and a little less open to ... ridicule.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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