Those who’ve seen Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick—purged from memory due to use of the word “Necromonger”—know exactly what to expect from Riddick—and the fact that it delivers that is a terrible, wonderful thing. Terrible if you need things like “plot” and “good dialogue” for entertainment. Wonderful if you check your brain at the door—and any need for gender equality in a film—but why would you bring either of those to a Vin Diesel movie?
The first 20 minutes of the film are perhaps its best. There’s not a single word of bad dialogue—because there is no dialogue. This part of the film could be called Riddick versus The Alien Planet. You can guess who wins. As a bonus, Riddick has a puppy! He also wins major points for the most hard-core splinting-the-injury scene ever.
The greater part of the film—in duration, not quality—features two groups of bounty hunters doing their best to bring down both Riddick and the movie as a whole. Anyone who enjoyed the character Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) from Battlestar Galactica might openly weep. The sad realization also sets in that like an ill-made pudding, this movie’s plot will never, ever thicken. While part of us rejoices at the movie’s lack of Necromongers, at least their appearance in Chronicles meant the attempt at a grander plot. Riddick sputters out with a climax featuring nothing new.
Given its stereotypical characters, cringe-inducing one-liners (Santana being the worst offender), and threadbare plot, you’re probably thinking you should skip this movie. But you’re forgetting one thing—checking your brain at the door was a requirement. Once you’ve gotten over yourself (I’ll admit, trying to get over the rape jokes may cause a mild aneurysm), this flick’s a ton of fun. You start to enjoy the corniness of the one-liners. And there are some genuine moments of entertainment, such as Santana’s death, helped along the way by a complete loathing of his personality. With characters this bad, it’s easy to be entertained when Riddick starts dispatching them one by one.
So sit back, relax, and turn your brain off for two hours. After all, isn’t that what movies are for?
By Jen Matteis