Dir: David Twohy
Star: Vin Diesel
, Matthew Nable, Jordi Molla, Katee Sackhoff
I was quite surprised they even made a third one, the second having not been a critical or commercial success from what I'd heard. But it seems to have acquired enough of a following, for someone to throw a relatively-small amount ($38 million, compared to its predecessor's nine-figure sum). And it's not as if Diesel is doing much. Well, except for the Fast and Furious series, I guess [he was paid for his cameo in Tokyo Drift with the rights to the Riddick franchise]. The film opens with Riddick (Diesel) marooned on a planet, betrayed by the Necromongers whom he took over at the end of Chronicles. Making his way past some nasty critters, he finds a mercenary station, and sends out a message using its beacon, announcing his presence: as a wanted fugitive with a large price on his head, he knows this will bring the mercs running, with a ship he can use to get off-world. Two crews show-up: the first is a standard set of bounty-hunters, led by Santana (Molla); the other, under Boss Johns (Nable), has a different agenda, because Johns' son was part of the crew in Pitch Black, and his father wants answers as to his son's fate. However, just as in the original, Riddick may not be the biggest threat.
"Just as in the original." That's probably the sentence which best sums this up, as it plays almost like a remake, on a different planet and with a different set of monsters, but almost the same set up and approach: Riddick is theoretically under the control of someone else, yet we all know it's only a question of when he can be bothered to uncurl and start kicking ass. Here, that occurs in a scene involving a machete, where he makes spectacularly good on an earlier promise, and which is likely the Cinematic Death of the Year for 2013. It's clear that Diesel is entirely at ease with his character by this stage, and a good chunk of the entertainment value is simply from watching him act like a total bad-ass: a simple pleasure, yet certainly a satisfying one. That comfort helped me enjoy it more than the first, but it lacks the loopy excess which made Chronicles such a deranged piece of pulp cinema, and you can see why it cost about one-third as much. Glad to see Riddick back, regardless; hopefully Diesel and Twohy can continue to churn these out down the road.