When we first met Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) in Pitch Black, the notorious criminal had been arrested by a bounty hunter and was being transported to prison when the spaceship encountered a comet and had to make a crash-landing on an uncharted planet.
He escaped, and proceeded to elude his captors in a gruesome struggle for survival which would consume most of their lives.
The higher attrition-rate sequel served up more of the same while, at the point of departure of this episode, we find the feral title character still at large but marooned on yet another desolate planet. Now, he’s being hunted by two teams of badass mercenaries, one led by the father (Matt Nable) of the bounty hunter he’d wasted in the original.
Although Riddick is wanted dead or alive, the reward is double if he’s brought back in a body bag. Of course, that’s easier said than done, since this seemingly-indomitable alien from planet Furya was blessed with superhuman strength, intuition, willpower and night vision, traits which combine to make him a formidable enemy, even when outnumbered badly by pursuers armed to the teeth.
So, this installment boils down to an intergalactic posse’s attempt to apprehend Riddick as he tries to figure out a way to hijack one of the rockets in order to return to his faraway homeland teeming with water, grass and other signs of life. Too bad the scriptwriters of this boring installment ran out of new ideas for their flagging franchise.
Consequently, Riddick does little more than generate a vague sense of déjà vu between the barren backdrop (except for a swarm of voracious critters) and the familiar ways in which the elusive antihero’s adversaries are dispatched. After all, how many different ways can you lop off a head or gut a guy so his entrails spill out?
This edition even includes another round of titillation coming courtesy of a token blonde, in this case Katee Sackhoff as a lipstick lesbian whose sexual preference tends to frustrate the testosterone-blinded members of the all-male crew sharing the space station’s cramped quarters. Nevertheless, job one remains tracking Riddick with the assistance of dubious “futuristic” technology explained by what might best be best described as pseudo-scientific nuttery.
A derivative disappointment that’s more of an uninspired remake than a groundbreaking sequel.
Fair (1 star)
Rated for profanity, nudity, sexuality and graphic violence
Running Time: 119 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
To see a trailer for Riddick, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH3O-CeZckE