The third instalment of the Chronicles of Riddick series opts for an appropriately clipped title – Riddick. The eponymous character is the survivor of the stories (portrayed by Vin Diesel) and has something of a cult following. The studio thus dispenses with unnecessary accessory in both film and title, and lays the focus entirely on the seasoned protagonist.
Newcomers to the series may feel slightly baffled by the plot as only the latter part of the back story is rehashed, but it soon becomes clear that the story isn’t of much importance. What is revealed is that Riddick (aka Rick), instead of being taken back to his home planet as he had wished, has been dumped on an inhospitable planet by members of a religious cult of which he was formerly king.
After brutally quelling the planet’s various hostile beasts (and taking one as a pet dog), escaped convict Rick attracts the attention of two separate groups of bounty hunters, the first headed by a greasy amoral mercenary, the second by a squeaky clean all-American hunk with loftier motives (namely, wanting to find out what’s happened to his missing son, which constitutes the listless plot). Rick is a master craftsman of violence and just seems to be grateful for the chance to practice his trade. Despite being perpetually injured, he deftly swaps the roles of hunter and hunted and ends up joining forces with and leading the bounty hunters against the rain-relishing scorpion creatures of the planet.
Anyone with a predilection for gore and flesh-juddering violence will find enough to satisfy them here, and there’s a tremendously silly expletive-laden script to compliment Rick’s ingenious savagery. In one particularly sublime moment, Rick manages to disarm and decapitate someone while strapped into a chair, making sure that their head falls neatly into a box at the end. The film has the virtues of not being obscenely long or taking itself too seriously. Despite not really performing at all, Vin Diesel is surprisingly charming as our anti-hero. His brazen cynicism seems to percolate outside of the film itself, perhaps reflecting on his role as an actor. This is a satisfying romp for fans of Riddick and slapstick violence, but those searching for something more meaty or cerebral are advised to look elsewhere.
Riddick is released nationwide on 4th September 2013.
Watch the trailer for Riddick here: