Directed By: David Twohy
Written By: Jim and Ken Wheat, and David Twohy
There was a time before The Fast and the Furious when Vin Diesel had potential to be a good actor. We saw it in Saving Private Ryan and we saw it in this film. Somewhere in the years that followed I think his image went to his head too much. Take the Riddick character for example, he’s much more down to Earth in this movie. Not the “I’m going to kill you with this teacup” Riddick we see in the post-Fast and Furious/XXX franchises sequel to this movie. Somewhere along the line he got too cool for school and it went to his head. The guy started trying too hard and it showed on screen. I haven’t seen the last few sequels to Fast and the Furious and while I hear that they are good I refuse to give them my time. Despite that I have seen enough of Diesel’s work to suffice for my standing opinion. He wasn’t bad back when this movie came out, when he was humble and just getting his career started. Once his persona went to his head he became just another meat head actor. No different than your typical pro wrestler turned actor who can’t branch out of the action and family comedy genres.
While Riddick ultimately becomes the anti-hero in this movie he is hardly the star for much of the film. This works to Vin Diesel’s advantage in this movie. I like the Riddick character and even though Diesel’s performance in The Chronicles of Riddick was much different I still enjoyed that film. Although this film often looks like a cheap made for TV movie you would find on the Sci-Fi channel (I know it’s SyFy now but that still doesn’t make sense to me) it still has a cool story. It made the most of a limited budget and its lack of funding didn’t hurt the movie too much.
This movie does a bit of a balancing act between the genres of horror and science fiction. I have always considered the film to be the latter because it follows into a sequel with zero horror elements within it. There are parts of this movie that can easily qualify it as horror but not enough to sway my opinion. There may be some mega fans out there that want to compare this series to the Alien franchise because of the similarities but that would be a mistake. Maybe the first film of the series in each both feature aliens and a horror/sci-fi genre but that’s as far as any similarity goes. Riddick isn’t that big. In fact I had looked forward to the third film for years but when I read the synopsis that all changed. When I read that they weren’t carrying on the story the second film ended with and instead more or less doing this film again I was really disappointed. So disappointed that I still to this day haven’t seen the latest film and don’t intend to. If anybody out there really feels it was worth something let me know and I’ll reconsider.
I like Riddick. I liked this movie and despite Vin Diesel butchering the character the second time around I liked him in the sequel too. It’s the combination of Diesel’s current persona on screen and the lack of what I perceived to be good story that I haven’t watched the lastest installment. If I want to see Riddick battling monsters and mercenaries I’ll watch this one. I think seeing that in a third film is pointless. The second movie ends with Riddick in position to take over an empire and that was what ultimately gave me hope for the future of the franchise. Instead, as I see it, the franchise took a step backwards instead of moving forward with a story that had a lot of potential. I am aware I could be wrong about this given I didn’t watch the movie. If anybody reading this has seen Riddick and wants to set the record straight leave a comment and let me know if it was any good.
As for this film I’ll stand by it any day of the week. I watched it when it first came out and specifically remember it catching me off guard when I found myself getting into it. It was never one I intended to add to our collection but I really liked the second film despite the campy crap that brought it down. I may have never bought this movie had it not been for the sequel but I think it is still worth your time. It can be hard to make a good sci-fi movie without rehashing old themes but occasionally one can set itself apart from others. I think this movie does do that and I think it is a good movie for the genre.
NEXT MOVIE: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (1987)