For all its obvious flaws and stupidity, Vin Diesel and David Twohy's sci-fi threequel is consistently entertaining
Having greatly impressed with Pitch Black back in 2000, Vin Diesel and director David Twohy got things horribly wrong with its bloated sequel The Chronicles of Riddick in 2004. Nearly ten years on, and with Diesel admitting to having to risk his house in order to finance the project, the central character gets a third outing and almost succeeds in recapturing the brutal thrills of the muscular original.
Riddick restores things to a more primal survival thriller as Diesel’s titular anti-hero finds himself double crossed and dumped on another unfriendly planet and forced to fend for himself against assorted beasties. Matters get even worse when two rival teams of mercenaries arrive to collect the bounty on his head; as if that wasn't enough, some severely bad weather threatens to wreck everyone’s survival prospects.
Admittedly, there are times during the final third of Twohy’s movie that feel like they are blatantly copying Pitch Black’s recipe for success, while there’s an underlying feeling of misogyny that sometimes leaves a sour taste. But for those who warmed to the central character in the first place, this is most definitely a welcome return. Diesel clearly enjoys playing Riddick and brings a deadpan charisma that’s difficult to resist. The first third of the movie, which finds the character alone against the elements, is kept afloat almost entirely by his presence, while a middle section that involves Riddick hunting down the mercenaries and killing them off in all manner of grisly ways also has a guilty pleasure about it that recalls the likes of Rambo.
Twohy also succeeds in creating another credible and creepy world, while drawing fun – and often self-consciously OTT – support from Jordi Molla, Katee Sackhoff and Matt Nable as the mercenaries on his trail. It's this sense of fun that makes the movie watchable – for all its obvious flaws and stupidity, Riddick consistently entertains.
General release from Wed 4 Sep.