“Chronicles of Riddick” Review

Evan Trainer, Staff writer

Opening in the end trails of the summer blockbuster season is the long lost sequel to 2004’s “Chronicles of Riddick,” confusingly titled Riddick. Not being a fan of Vin Diesel or the Riddick franchise, I wasn’t looking forward to this film, and based on the trailers I thought this film looked abysmal. Thankfully, after the box office flop “The Chronicles of Riddick,” Diesel knew in order to reboot the franchise he had to take the time and make a good film. He did.

The film opens with Diesel’s Riddick awakening on an alien planet and fighting for survival alone throughout the first act. This slow first act may try many people’s patience, but I think it works to the film’s benefit. This opening allows new viewers to the franchise a chance to gain their footing with an exposition, heavy flashback sequence and a great action heavy introduction to Riddick.

In the second act, right when the audience starts to feel comfortable with anti-hero Riddick, he is pushed to the background, and becomes much like a slasher villain, killing off two groups of bounty hunters who want to leave the planet with his head. In the third act, Riddick sets forth his plan to escape the desolate planet as a disastrous storm nears.

Riddick has a very simple storyline which is odd for a film with such an expansive universe. It would be like if they made a Star Wars film where Luke was stuck on a planet and had to take down storm troopers in order to get off with Darth Vader nowhere to be seen.

The Darth Vader in this instance is Karl Urban’s Vaako who makes one small appearance in a flashback. Although many people would be against seeing a Star Wars with such a small scale, that telling a smaller story is a good way for this series to get back up on its feet, because if this film does well they can save the epic for a bigger budgeted sequel down the road. Yet, this film’s smaller budget than the previous installment does not detract from it.

“Man of Steel,” “Iron Man 3″, and ‘The Lone Ranger” all had budgets of over $200 million while Riddick only had a budget of $38 million, but Riddick looks just as great as all of those films. The CGI alien creatures look amazing in the film, although the planet seems to oddly only have two animals, and almost feel like characters themselves rather than a visual effect. Writer/Director David Twohy excelled with his camera movement and what you don’t usually notice, lighting.

What Twohy gained in directing, he lacked in writing. Every character, other than Riddick, is very two dimensional, expendable, and don’t have a character arc. Twohy also tries to mix comedy into this sci-fi action film, which mostly consist of dumb one liners, and the majority of the time they fall flat.

While Riddick is a fun action science fiction film, it definitely isn’t for everyone. The film received a R rating and it earned it. The film contains nudity, graphic gore and violence, and strong language throughout, and most of it works in the film’s favor. Watching Riddick tear apart a super-sized alien scorpion hybrid and its blood and guts spilling out made me want to stand up in the theater and cheer.