Review: 'Riddick' as heroic anti-hero
|Vin Diesel in a scene from "Riddick"|
As the movie begins, we see Riddick abandoned in a strange planet only inhabited by vicious predatory beasts. He relies on his instincts in order to survive such an inhospitable environment. He even tames an alien dog to be his companion. Later, mercenaries come and try to take Riddick back with them for bounty. These mercenaries clearly do not know who they are up against.
"Riddick" is already the third of a series that began with "Pitch Black" (2000), followed by "Chronicles of Riddick" (2004). If "Riddick" is the first one of the series you are watching, you will not really appreciate it as well as one who has seen all three. I don't think it stands alone by itself very well. I believe you should at least see the first film, "Pitch Black," to get introduced to this unlikely lead character with the shiny eyes.
"Pitch Black" is a great science fiction film with a great story and awesome special effects. Riddick is a murderer who has special eyes which can see in the dark. He was a passenger of a spacecraft that was forced to crash-land on a planet with flying predatory beasts that thrive in the dark. When an eclipse plunges the planet into pitch black darkness and the beasts come out in deadly swarms, the crew needed Riddick's unique abilities to get them out of there.
The events of "Riddick" happen about 10 years after those in "Ptich Black." Basically, "Riddick" follows the same progression of story: Riddick on a new planet with violent beasts, Riddick interacts with new human characters, Riddick fights the beasts to get out of the planet.
Among the mercenaries who try to capture Riddick are the crazy psychopath Santana and a man with a connection to a character in Riddick's past, Boss Johns. The best scene of the film was that one where Riddick makes good his promise of getting Santana's head in a box. As for Boss Johns, you may not pick up the connection right away if you have not seen "Pitch Black" where one of the guys on the ship with Riddick back then was also named Johns.
The most interesting facet of "Riddick" is with the character development of Riddick in the first act, from a broken man to one who rediscovers his inner animal instinct and confidence to fight and survive. We will get to meet the more human aspect of this ruthless killer. These aspects elevates "Riddick" from being a one-dimensional violent sci-fi kill-fest into one of deeper meaning. 6/10
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."