Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Riddick: Blu Ray Review

Riddick: Blu Ray Review

Rating: R16
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

In the second sequel to the thrilling Pitch Black (which bowed 13 years ago), Riddick finds himself left for dead on sun-scorched planet after being betrayed by the Necromongers from The Chronicles of Riddick movie. Firing off an emergency beacon as an impeding horde of aliens close in on him, Riddick sets in motion a chain of events as two sets of mercenaries head to the planet to kill him and claim the bounty on the head of this criminal.

On one side, there's the vile (potential rapist) Santana (Jordi Molla) and his crew of scumbags; while on the other, there's Matt Nable's Boss Johns, who's been hunting Riddick for 10 years and shares a personal connection to his prey.

While they try to track down Riddick and form an uneasy and uncomfortable alliance, Riddick's lurking in the shadows, engaged in a long term game of cat and mouse.

However, when a new threat arises on the planet which threatens them all, all three sides have to work together to survive. So, here we are with a film which in no way meets the highs of the anti-hero of Pitch Black but is a major improvement on The Chronicles of Riddick.

Vin Diesel is dialled down and damn near silent in the first part of this film, where he channels his inner Bear Grylls to survive the scorched wastelands after being betrayed by the Necromongers of the last flick. WhereTom Hanks had his Wilson in Castaway, Riddick has a dingo / hyena / leopard striped dog creature to help him get through the days as he bonds and bounds around the landscape.

But it all heads south when Riddick activates an emergency beacon and two teams of scumbag mercenaries show on the scene to claim the bounty on him. And not just on screen either - because the turgid script takes a dive and turn for the uglier. As their quarrels and mistrust escalates, the game of cat and mouse eventually escalates (after a lot of slow meandering that doesn't build on tension but serves to drag it out) before a greater menace than all of them shows up.

Visually and technologically impressive, at its leanest, Riddick is a great movie; a taut game of suspense potentially there for the taking as the aliens' marauding menace places our protagonists under siege. But no, thanks to neanderthal dialogue, and an appalling treatment of a ballsy woman in a sci-fi film (Katee Sackhoff's character is apparently a lesbian, so they just have to make unnecessary comments about it; claims that Riddick will go "balls deep" into her are just utterly disgustingly repugnant, ugly and hideously out of place despite the character being an anti-hero and criminal); add into that, an unwarranted topless shot of Katee Sackhoff and further comments here and there, it all adds up to the squandering of what real potential it could have had for a great moody and atmospheric outing. It even equates to a backward step in terms of the treatment of women in sci-fi, which is disturbing, given how much ground's been covered - and how Katee Sackhoff helped redefine that with her role as Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica.

With interest waning after a stunning opening half hour that pits Riddick against nature and the elements, Riddick generally loses the way and the plot, falling into a horde slaughtering mentality a la Tremors that lacks in visual prowess and feels limp in terms of spectacle and emotional connection.  Instead, despite some impressive sequences and moments, it serves as a queasy, misogynistic and uncomfortable slice of sci-fi that doesn't remotely hit the mark and even scotches any chance of redemption for the film franchise.
Extras: Meet the mercs, Riddick behind the scenes


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