'Riddick' visits uncanny valley
Vin Diesel’s new installment in the story of Riddick is a sad film full of clichés and confusion.
It isn’t that the story is that complicated. Riddick is deposed and finds himself on a planet where his transporters attempt to kill him. If you have followed any of the Riddick Chronicles, you know that he is hard to kill, or you could just wait for him to tell you that in the first part of the voice over.
Which brings the audience to what this film’s real story is – Rocky, and you can choose which installment. Riddick is down and out; he has gone soft. He has to get back to his heavyweight form. However, this is Rocky in science fiction with the requisite a boy and his not quite a dog creature, like the one you last saw in John Carter.
The CGI is far too much. Diesel’s voice over sounds like Sylvester Stallone is doing it, and even in a film where the audience is already willing to suspend disbelief, it just goes too far. The hover bikes don’t look real, the alien dog has no weight, and the alien landscape just looks like someone decided to se what the filters in the editing program did.
None of the characters have any real chemistry with one another. The best part of the movie is Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, Longmire). She plays a tough, sexy bounty hunter. She has had practice – it is her normal character type, and it works for her and for the film.
While Sackhoff played her part to the hilt, the writers named her character “Dahl,” which seems a bit offensive to be calling possibly the toughest, least ridiculous character in the film “doll.” Is it worth the joke to demean a woman who would brook no slight? (The answer is “no” for those who did not realize the question was rhetorical, and “brook no slight” is code for “kick your ass.”)
Dave Bautista, who has been carving out a nice acting niche, also does a good job with the role that he is giving. He keeps it understated until it is time to let Vin Diesel be ridiculous again.
There is plenty of gore, some nudity and plenty of foul language. The movie doesn’t know whether it wants to be bad science fiction or slightly better than bad horror.
Riddick is set up as a sequel generator. Basically, the story that it tells is one that connects to one of the long ago Riddick stories and one that relates to him seeking revenge – probably in the next movie.
At the risk of sounding redundant in the same sentence, this film is basically full of Vin Diesel doing ridiculous stuff. That probably describes every film that Diesel has done including the Pacifier. You are better off waiting for this to get to Netflix.