Coming nine years after (the actually not that bad) Chronicles of Riddick, it’s safe to say that expectation is high for Riddick’s return to his roots in the Pitch Black-esque sequel.
Dial down that expectation though as unfortunately the problems start early for the film, the opening act, despite promising a return to Riddick’s wild side, sees him pair up with a pretty poorly created CGI pet dog. It may have been bearable and possibly even added something to the plot if it had been a little shorter or somewhere approaching funny but it’s not and feels completely off-kilter with what we already know about the character.
Shortly after this a team of mercenaries arrive to collect the bounty on Riddick’s head and for this hugely bloated middle section the titular character inexplicably takes a back seat. In his place we have generic, badly written and shoddily acted mercenaries. Of these Katee Sackoff’s lesbian ‘bad ass’ would have an offensive representation when the first came out in 2000, let alone in 2013, especially when you factor in the gratuitous nude scene. As for the rest, well you won’t recognise them anyway and are unlikely to see them on screen again any time soon, as they provide dreadful performances throughout. Whilst it’s easy to blame the actors, the script has even more to answer for, insipid flat dialogue that tries desperately to emulate the witty banter found in such action classics as Predator with one-liners failing quicker than the film’s weak excuse for a plot.
Riddick starts intriguingly enough with a half decent flashback that fills in the events between Chronicles and him being left for dead on this barren planet. There is early mention of Riddick seeking his home world and this would have made for an interesting story. However this is thrown out of the window early on and what we get instead is a flat action fest infested with easily killable CGI creatures that pale in significance to Pitch Black’s creations.
In all honesty, David Thowy should be a little ashamed of this effort, Chronicles of Riddick may have been panned (and whilst it wasn’t a classic) the film still has its fans. On the basis of that failure Thowy would have not had an easy time getting his beloved character back onto the big screen. So to promise so much with this dreadful third effort and deliver this dire mess is an insult to anyone who stuck with the character. Avoid.