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Riddick
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177 of 201 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
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
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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
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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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
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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81 of 96 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 7, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
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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74 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
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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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
Riddick is one of the coolest anti-heroes to come out in very, very long time. The man is an efficient killing machine, but has more depth to him than merely his talents. Riddick is a back to basics kind of movie, and gives us the character with the best of the previous renditions (which include movies, video games and a direct to video animated feature). This R rated flick is more than just the violence Riddick fans crave. It touches on different aspects of the character and gives us a better look at his view on life, the universe and such.

So Pitch Black was the fan favorite. Riddick was just a bad guy who was going some good, but only because it benefited him. Then in the end we see there is more to him than just a selfish killer. Dark Fury (the animated feature) was basically lip service for the fans who craved seeing Riddick as a complete bad ass. Chronicles of Riddick (a disapointment for many... not me) put the character in a grandiose setting and while he kept talking like he was just looking out for number one there were plenty of other people he was standing up for. From these two movies we see Riddick evolve to being more than just tough guy. The fans didn't like the direction, so director David Twohy and star Vin Diesel decided to go back to the roots. However they didn't just redo Pitch Black. Far from it. This is probably the most personal Riddick movie to date.

The movie starts with Riddick getting unceremoniously tossed from the Necromongers of the previous film. From there he is stuck in an alien world having to fend for himself. The first act of the film is just Riddick. You get to see how his mind works as he finds ways to survive no mans land. You also get to hear some reflection on who Riddick is and the thinking behind why he is the anti-hero that he is. It's a really nice change of pace from the previous movie, which was practically non-stop with the bravado.

The second act is even more interesting. Riddick finds an abandoned outpost and hatches a plan to get off the planet, which includes signaling mercs to come get him. Riddick knows there isn't much time until this planet's monsters start coming out of the woodwork and kill everything in their path (here's the Pitch Black reference). Riddick spies on the mercs and learns more about which ones are particularly brutal and which are professional. From here it appears he picks his targets, killing off the bad mercs one by one. It's a reminder that Riddick doesn't just kill for the hell of it. He has his own moral code (the Chronicles of Riddick reference). We even get the over the top "he's too bad for words" example when he calls out exactly how he will kill one of the mercs... while he is captured and bound (sounds like a Dark Fury reference). If you look for it the second act is an almost complete profile of Riddick.

Then the third act comes along. Tons of monsters everywhere and everybody is in a panic on how to get out. Riddick's plan is starting to come to fruition, but not without it's hiccups. This is where the full on action from Pitch Black comes into play. It feels similar of course, but at the same time it's a very different animal. Riddick has two enemies to deal with, the mercs and the monsters. There is a pretty intricate play on alliances and betrayal that moves the act to more emotionally charged (and satisfying) heights. You also get to see a back story (again a reference to Pitch Black) come full circle. All in all the story is rock solid and hits all the marks that the previous franchise items got right.

The production values of this movie are remarkable. This was a low budget movie when compared to other A list sci-fi/fantasy films being made these days. It looks a lot more expensive. Sure there only a few sets, but the story was perfect for it. Sure the computer animation can be noticeable at times, but I have seen a lot worse with movies several times the budget. The pacing was right with just enough reflection at the beginning and the right amount of thrills in the end to give this film a very polished look. At $38 million dollars Twohy and Diesel were able to make a movie filled with depth, story, action and thrills. Considering all the movies done that year that were $130-$200+ million in production costs, but fell flat this is a great achievement. Add to that the fact the movie made almost $100 million worldwide (more than twice the return on investment) and I would call Riddick is standout success of the year.

This Blu-Ray has scrawled on the top of it Unrated Director's Cut. Usually you see this in video releases as just a way to entice you to buy it hoping to see something shocking, titillating or just plain interesting that wasn't included, or maybe taken out to keep the rating, in the theatrical release. Often times the unrated moniker is worthless with nothing added even worth noting that. With Riddick you do get something special. It's only an additional eight minutes added to the film, but there are two big additions that make it worthwhile. The first is more time on Riddick's role as the Necromonger ruler at the beginning of the film. It's essentially a live action version of the animated short Blindsided. Though the theatrical release did a good job transitioning you from the previous film this additional time really fleshes it out more. Plus you get a lot more Karl Urban as Vaako. The other notable addition is an extended ending that eludes to a sequel. Maybe it was taking so as to not keep our hopes up. However I welcome the lead in.

Like the Chronicles of Riddick blu-ray you get both the Theatrical version and the Director's Cut in this disk. Visually the disk really stands out with a 1080p/AVC transfer. Reports say the color and contrast are near perfect. Audio will be strong with with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The special features are a bit lean on length, but are good on content. I am a bit disappointed there isn't an audio commentary. I would think Twohy and Diesel would have loved doing one and giving the fans even more dirt on the Riddick movie and franchise. Here is a list of the other features:

The Twohy Touch - A six minute featurette on director David Twohy's contributions to the Riddick franchise. There are cast and crew commentaries covering their experience with Twohy as well.

Riddickian Tech - Going a bit over ten minutes this feature covers the various vehicles and weapons on the film and how they were designed and implemented on the film.

The World of Riddick - An exploration on the design and inspiration for the movie's setting, "Not Furya". 11 minute run time.

Vin's Riddick - Similar to The Twohy Touch this featurette cover's Vin Diesel's contributions to the franchise and also includes interviews with cast and crew talking about Vin. Running time about eight minutes.

Met the Mercs - An interesting compilation of interviews with the supporting cast and their comments on the characters they portray. It goes into some detail with discussion about the weapons used and clothes they wear. 11 minute run time.

Riddick: Blindsided - This is the animated short that was released prior to the movie to help promote the film. It chronicles Riddicks role as the Lord Marshall of the Necromongers just before his betrayal. The animation is more like an animated comic book than full on animation.

Riddick brings the best of all the previous films together into one cohesive and satisfying film. I dearly hope with the success of this movie that we will get to see Diesel and Twohy's ambitions for this character come to life with future productions.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
To begin, yes I'm a fan of this series and love both of the preceding installments (Pitch Black/Chronicles of Riddick). However, after sitting through this sequel last night I found myself very unsatisfied with what I had watched.

If you were to watch Pitch Black and Riddick side by side the only significant differences you'll find is the first 20 minutes or so -> this time around you follow Vin as he recovers from being betrayed and finds himself an odd choice for a pet. Along with this there is also significantly less time spent fighting off the aliens that reveal themselves as the darkness and rain arrives. This movie literally felt like a cheaper version of Pitch Black (and Pitch Black was a low budget film..).

The struggles between the aliens began and ended within 12-15 minutes and you're left with a scene with Johns and Riddick are facing one another in opposing aircrafts exchanging hokey dialogue and then the credits come.

For as much as I typically like these movies, this was just bad and there is no way around that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
***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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