Ever since Vin Diesel moved us as the enormous robot in The Iron Giant, the public has had a soft spot for him. Women want him and men want to be him. He is the epitome of the perfect action hero: buff, handsome, suave, mysterious and an all around badass. Though he has disappointed his fans with such cheap comedies as 2005’s The Pacifier, many can forgive him because of Pitch Black, the cult sci-fi film that started the Riddick franchise.

In this third instalment of the Riddick saga, Riddick (Diesel) is betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a remote planet. He desperately fights for survival against hungry predators and thirsty aliens. Once they realize the man who can see in the dark is alive, bounty hunters from all across the galaxy go on the hunt for him. Little do they know they are merely a pawn in his great game of revenge.

Instead of putting any effort into this picture and releasing it upon the masses, director David Twohy should have just given Pitch Black a theatrical tour and gave it a 3D gimmick, much like Disney does with their older releases. Riddick so closely resembles his older film that it’s almost a remake. I say “almost” because, while Twohy has the story right, he does everything else wrong.

The writing for this movie is absolutely atrocious. Though it is expected that we lower our expectations regarding the writing for an action flick, it is mediocre at best. There is no tension or suspense in Riddick, we don’t even get cheesy dialogue that could make this picture at least somewhat fun. Even though Riddick has been betrayed and abandoned, the emotions do not resonate and the camera doesn’t do its job at making Riddick a lonely hero. Though Vin Diesel’s acting is decent, it doesn’t make up for everything that fell apart.

Published in Volume 68, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 25, 2013)

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