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on September 6, 2013
If you're a diehard Vin Diesel fan, then you probably remember him even for his lesser known roles in films that include Saving Private Ryan, Boiler Room, and Knockaround Guys. But, the rest of us have come to know Diesel in basically two roles and two roles only: Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious franchise and Richard B. Riddick in the Riddick franchise. Depending on how you feel about these two particular franchises - odds are that's how you judge whether you like or dislike his acting choices, which have largely included the role of the thug or tough guy. Regardless, The Fast and the Furious franchise quickly lost its flavor without Diesel involved, eventually leading him to disappointing and lackluster roles in films, such as The Pacifier and Man Apart. Eventually, Diesel reclaimed his role in the Fast franchise over the course of three more sequels - not to mention his fame. And, much like Sylvester Stallone with Rocky and Rambo, Diesel hasn't forgotten the character that put him on the map. It's been nearly 10 years since Diesel played the role of Riddick, but after a lengthy wait - the saga of the shiny-eyed convict finally continues in the second sequel (unless you count Dark Fury, then it would be the third sequel), simply titled - Riddick.

David Twohy (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick) is back to direct Riddick, starring Vin Diesel as Richard B. Riddick - a convict, last seen in The Chronicles of Riddick, had just conquered the Necromonger Empire. However, it was only a matter of time before Riddick was betrayed by his underling, Vaako (Karl Urban). Riddick attempts to return home, but is instead marooned on a desolate planet by the Necromongers - and must once again ward off not one, but two groups of mercenaries looking to collect the bounty on his head. At the same time, a storm is approaching that will once again allow a massive race of predators to unleash maximum carnage. Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, and Katee Sackhoff also star in supporting roles.

Personally, nothing pleases me more than when a franchise has the same director for all of its films. As a devoted fan of these flicks, I believe it's of the utmost importance to establish and maintain a rock-solid continuity. It appeases the fans that have stuck with the franchise and makes the entirety of the story flow in ways that most franchises just don't care enough to sustain. More often than not, it's brutally (but not always) obvious when a film is shot by one director, and then said director hands off the reigns to someone else. A recent example would be Jon Favreau leaving his directing duties on Iron Man 1 & 2, giving way to Shane Black in Iron Man 3 - who obviously has a completely different style of directing than Favreau. In any event, director David Twohy is back in the director's chair for Riddick - his third stint (out of a possible three) in the Riddick saga. His imagination and fingerprints are all over this franchise, from the development stages to the plot direction - all of which have contributed to this pure, high-octane series of action sci-fi films.

It seems relatively easy to say any given role is the best for an actor. Since I already used the Iron Man reference, a perfect example would be me saying Iron Man 3 is Robert Downy Jr.'s best performance to date. Some people might agree with that assessment, but it's the same character being portrayed by the same person over the course of several films, so why does it really matter? That's the rule of thumb I'm applying to Vin Diesel in the Riddick films. Without a shadow of a doubt, Riddick is Vin Diesel's best work. In this case, that's not a very large stretch to say since Diesel has only had a handful of characters in his tenure as an actor. Riddick could be comparable to Dominic Toretto, but Riddick is much more a savage character - active, deadly, and a character that says what he means and means what he says. I suppose that's a completely backwards way of saying he's a total badass. If you've seen the first two flicks, then Riddick is more of the same - meaning immensely enjoyable in terms of overall entertainment quality.

While Diesel thrives in his role, there are still some bothersome issues about this film. First and foremost, Riddick reflects Pitch Black too much for its own good - visually and plot-wise. Don't get me wrong, Pitch Black was a quality flick with a pleasing plot and plenty of action, but there's still a moderate amount of disappointment surrounding the fact that after waiting nearly 10 years for more Riddick, the film is a rough rearrangement of the first film. Speaking of disappointment - it's also a major disappointment that Karl Urban only shows up for a matter of seconds. You heard it - he has nothing more than a brief cameo. There's an endless amount of potential lost with writing a script that didn't include Urban, especially since he's established himself as a top name in Hollywood. Since his role in The Chronicles of Riddick, he has ballooned into a near household name - but I suppose a brief appearance is better than no appearance at all. Hopefully, Riddick will accumulate worldwide success and before long, Riddick will be knocking on Vaako's door in a not-so-distant sequel.

Overall, Riddick is chock-full of memorable moments that will have Riddick fans screaming to the rafters with joy (present company included). Recent news reports have cited the difficulties Diesel endured financially to make this sequel, so he should be commended for making a film for his fans - especially since there are plenty of actors out there that would have passed on such a gamble. In my opinion, Riddick pays off with dividends in terms of action, CGI visuals, acting, characters, and complete quality of the end product. Even more impressive is the fact this movie was filmed on a reduced budget of $38 million, compared to its predecessor, which cost more than $100 million. Obviously, this film warrants a view, but there are strings attached - and this is where Riddick might hit a snag in the "success" department. The major drawback is that it's been 13 years since Pitch Black was released, and 9 years since its sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, was released. Naturally, that means if you haven't seen these two films, you'll need to watch them before watching Riddick - as there are heavy details from both films that tie into Riddick. But, if you're caught up on these flicks already, you're good to go.

GRADE: B
FNDNreview.com
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on September 7, 2013
This latest sequel in the Riddick series, takes us full circle as the baddest anti-hero in the galaxy finds himself betrayed by the Necromongers and left for dead. The first part of this film is essentially a great survival story, where Riddick returns to his more feral roots however the tenor quickly changes when he finds a way to signal for "rescue" but instead gets reminded that he's still a wanted fugitive (VERY wanted). At this point, the movie becomes semi-horror reminiscent of the original "Pitch Black" (except much better) as he reminds everyone, including the audience, just why he's so feared.

This is easily the best of the trilogy in my opinion and presents a darker and more violent story than "Chronicles" represented by the PG-13 back to R rating however it doesn't saturate the dialogue with gratuitous profanity as in the first film; there's also very brief nudity and again, lots of violence but these things all supplement what is essentially a fierce tale of survival and a very well made sci-fi film.

As I was watching Riddick at one point, surrounded by enemies in the midst of a raging storm, I was reminded of a line from a poem: "Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed." :o)
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on October 29, 2013
When I heard Riddick was coming out, I did not need to see a trailer or review. There are two roles that were made for Vin Diesel. One is Dominic Toretto. The other is Riddick. Unlike his character in the Pacifier, he was meant to play these two characters. No matter what the critics say, I will go see Vin Diesel in any film he portrays these characters.

On Riddick's opening night, I went to see the film. I was disappointed. Riddick is almost the same exact film as Pitch Black.

Aside from a few minor differences, this film contains many of the same elements. Allow me to list them (Beware. Spoilers ahead.):

1. The film takes place on a desolate planet that does not have much life.
2. There are bounty hunters that want to capture him.
3. There are monsters on the planet that want to eat all of them.
4. The main plot is to get off the planet.
5. Two hot women. One will die.
6. Scene of Riddick battling the monsters with his bare hands.
7. Scene where Riddick cuts the monster in the stomach and its guts come out.
8. Sexual frustration between the lead woman and Riddick.
9. Monsters will come out of their respective habitats once the conditions are in their favor.
10. Bounty hunters must work with Riddick in order to survive.
11. Takes the team through the monsters in order to reach their goal.

I thought I was going to see a film with Riddick as the Lord King Marshall of the Necromongers. I guess with a budget of $40 million, the makers of the film could not afford to create that storyline. Chronicles of Riddick had a budget of just over $100 million.

This is still a decent film, mainly because of Vin Diesel's charisma and on screen presence. That is why I give the film 3 stars. Add a star if you did not see Pitch Black.
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on November 12, 2013
They just don't make them like this anymore. With the ever growing trend of churning out PG-13 flicks, it's awesome that Riddick went back to rated R. This movie only made it to the big screen because of Vin Diesel's passion for the character of Riddick. He put up his own home to fund much of the budget. He said he felt like he made a promise to the fans to bring it back.

Vin wants to follow this movie up with at least another sequel with hopefully a much bigger budget and on a much bigger scale (think Chronicles). Vin wants to take Riddick through the Underverse to Furya or something like that. I hope it happens. I absolutely love the Riddick universe and want to see the mythos expanded. The problem is Vin isn't getting any younger. I wish his priorities were the Riddick movies and not the Fast and Furious movies, but those Fast movies make all the money, unfortunately. Vin says he can't put out sequels to Riddick like Fast and Furious because "they're too dark". Come on, that's not the reason. But whatever, I'm glad we got to see a real Riddick movie again.
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on September 9, 2013
The third installment of The Chronicles of Riddick
starts off with a bang. We find him already stranded on an unknown planet, left for dead. He's severely injured and immediately has to battle for his life.
Through a flashback, we find out what went wrong on the necromonger ship (if you want even more of the backstory you can read the online comic), but in true Furyan fashion, his powers of recuperation have him up and running in short order.
But this new planet has treacherous lifeforms ready to kill at a moment's notice. The leopard dogs and water-dwelling creatures that have a very crafty attack prove to be all a severely injured Riddick can handle, but he adapts and eventually finds some sort of a bounty hunters' PlayStation where he alerts mercs that he is alive and waiting.
Two crews show up in short order. One is intent on bringing Riddick back dead, the other has a more clandestine agenda. There is a minor twist that plays out through the rest of the movie and by the end you're mot really sure which way it plays out.
There are some pretty cool kills like a merc who's killed by a couple predator-restraints and Riddick displays a fair amount of bravado. But if you liked the other two movies, particularly Pitch Black, you'll like this one. There's a storm coming and when it finally arrives, the entire environment changes.
I'd give this movie 3 out of five stars. There's something cutesy that happens early on, but they keep it to a minimum and it actually plays into the story. The ending leaves room for another installment which I'd definitely be in line for.

Gerald Rice
Author of The Zombie Show
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on December 22, 2013
***SPOILERS AHEAD*** -- Stop reading now if you want to watch this film

Riddick is a poster-child film of why Hollywood is so bucked up. I don't know how many films have done exactly what Riddick has done, but the first one that comes to mind is Event Horizon. Like Event Horizon, Riddick starts off with a promising premise. A sort of training ground, if you will. Riddick is tired of being Lord Marshall and decides not to take the oath to remain in office. As a result, a lot of people around him disrespect him and that decision and want to kill him so they can usurp the title from him.

Being tired of the role he's been forced into, Riddick decides to run off and look for his home world Furya, with the help of some people that, for whatever reason, he trusts. Unfortunately, that trust is misplaced when they strand him on a fairly inhospitable world, not unlike the planet in Pitch Black. These people also attempt to kill him before stranding him, but the best they accomplish is sending him hurtling down a landslide to a broken leg. After coming to, Riddick realizes he's become complacent and rusty. He realizes he needs to hone his skills, to get his edge back. After being dropped on this eat-or-be-eaten world injured, he begins overcoming the odds by going from prey to predator using only his wits and skill. Again, an awesome starting premise.

Unfortunately, this is the point where the promising start ends. At about the half-way mark in this film, the writers take an about-face and turn this film into a Pitch Black clone with slightly different rules. Instead of darkness bringing out the creatures, rain does. And that's when the killing begins, at least mostly not by Riddick's hand. Riddick also realizes he needs to get off the planet by trying to obtain a ship. Unfortunately, he has a few surly bounty hunters he needs to dispose of first. So, the remaining part of the film is about either Riddick or the creatures picking off the bounty hunter ship crew one by one until they join him or die. Riddick does have a few choice scenes in the latter half, but not enough to make up for the incredibly trite last half of the film.

Riddick (the film) simply becomes a clone of Pitch Black and ultimately a been-there-done-that moment. This film doesn't deserve one star because it's at least entertaining up to the half-way mark including a few parts of the second half. The effects are reasonably decent and the jet-cycles are completely cool. If the writers had continued on with Riddick having some quality alone-time and honing his skills, then quickly making his way off the planet to go after the guy who stranded him there, I'd have been all over that plot. Unfortunately, it turned into a sentimental journey reminiscing about the Pitch Black days and also mimicking Pitch Black in the process. At the end, you're left scratching your head trying to decide what everyone really accomplished.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 6, 2013
First I want to talk about baseline tolerance. You know how some people have to put on more cologne each day just so they can smell it, while the rest of us gag? That is baseline tolerance.

Now let's talk about Computer Generated Imaging: Starting with the 1973 Yul Brynner oater "Westworld" and decades later "Avatar" in 2009, we have seen so much CGI, we gag. Hollywood can't seem to smell it yet and I admit some of it is dazzling, but how about a good script? Lots of cologne can't mask a failure to bathe, nor can lots of CGI mask a lame script. Which brings me to this third installment of a third Vin Diesel franchise ("Fast and Furious" and "xXx" are two others); it has brilliant CGI but some of the dialog made me wonder how the actors kept a straight face...

Here they are:
* Vin Diesel ("The Pacifier") is Riddick, the legendary loner who sets his own broken leg (don't ask).
* Karl Urban ("RED") in a 30-second bait and switch. Do NOT go if you are expecting to see Mr. U. in an actual role...
* Jordi Mollà ("Knight and Day") is Santana, the bounty hunter. To him, Riddick is worth more dead than alive.
* Matt Nable ("Killer Elite") is Boss Johns, seeking Riddick to learn more about his son's death.

The story? Left for dead on a sun-baked planet, our hero fights against all odds and plots revenge. That pretty much covers it.

This has some of the best CGI work I have seen to date, the production design is wonderful, the photography is masterful, the story is basic but involving, and like other Diesel outings, includes an anti-drug bit. On the other hand, the R-rated plot is rudimentary, the comedy is crude, the fight scenes are endless (use your fast-forward on your DVD from Amazon), and one of the monsters eats its own entrails. Fan boys loved the action, while I admired the CGI. Yup, I said it!
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on March 26, 2014
I was actually really disapointed with this installment, this movie should be titled "Pitch Black Redone", and not as well. I mean heres the synopsis in a nutshell. Riddick stuck on strange planet, hounded by bounty hunters, Ships become inoperable so they need a way off, and oh oh wait for it..... Strange creatures lurk about that only come out in droves when it rains.... I honestly could be a bit forgiving of this if they actually gave us some decent or atleast gave us 45 min or so of an overview of what happened to Riddick as he led the Necromongers, but we basically get a 10 min disertation.... I'm just disapointed, I love the Riddick Character and World, but sadly in my not so humble opinion, this 3rd installment just missed the mark!
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Riddick is trapped on an alien planet and he is injured. Every living creature on the planet wants to eat him for dinner. His only choice for survival is to activate an alarm system and call in bounty hunters looking to kill or capture him. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place....

I am just a Vin Diesel fan and a Sci-Fi fan and I couldn't resist getting this DVD and watching it. I enjoyed the film and the special effects. The storyline just was not as fresh as the first version of Pitch Black. I like Pitch Black and the Chronicles of Riddick more than this film. Pitch Black was a fresh, hot and shocking story and this film just seems like a continuation of that one as if no time had really passed. It was time for a new storyline and not a major rehash/duplicate of the original series opener.

I did enjoy Riddick's new pet dog. That was some great CGI effects. I would watch one more Riddick finale but it should be done with a flare of how the baddest man in the universe confronts those that want to kill him. I would like to see Riddick going after them instead of being trapped on a planet and having to escape! That story is getting old.
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on April 4, 2014
I'm a fan of the Riddick films (Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick) mostly because the Necromongers have such a unique, interesting style and perspective.

This film would have been way better if we had seen Riddick continue as the leader of the Necros, as we saw him becoming in the ending of Chronicles. We could have been entertained seeing him interact with them, and watch all the intrigue and plotting to get rid of him. That's the direction the film should have taken. Instead, we see Riddick battling a bunch of water monsters.
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