This week I watched two sequels; one from a considered-dead movie franchise and another from a very promising horror movie franchise. This post will focus on the former, the third film that features the buff intergalactic anti-hero Riddick.
This newest installment, simply titled ‘Riddick’, almost didn’t get made because of the critical and commercial failure of the second film ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’. Personally I liked that film because for a movie that reeked of testosterone, it was so full of high camp. And that’s not because Dame Judi Dench was in it.
Anyway, after a slew of maneuvering that only the movie industry can churn, Vin Diesel managed to come up with a third installment, most probably to steer the franchise back to its gritty sci-fi roots.
Did it work? Well, the film was successful in recapturing the lean and mean intensity of the film that started the franchise (‘Pitch Black’). From the harsh environment of the planet whose name we didn’t really get–only that “it’s not Furya”, to the highly-evolved alien creatures that could give the horned beasts from ‘Pitch Black’ a run for their money, even the urgency of the situation that the characters found themselves in when the storm unleashed the main predators of the planet.
‘Riddick’ is a very enjoyable and entertaining sequel, but over-all I kept feeling that I’ve seen it all before. I’m not sure why I felt this way. It’s probably because the film looks and feels too much like ‘Pitch Black’. Even one of the characters has a familial relationship with the bad guy from the first movie. But it’s actually fine by me. To be fair, even if the film really feels connected to the first film in terms of plot and aesthetics, they also managed to amplify the elements that made ‘Pitch Black’ wonderful. This is Vin Diesel in all his gruff and mean but yummy and adorable glory.
Cute alert: Nolan Gerard Funk plays Luna, one of the mercenaries who also happens to be a devout Christian. Talk about character complexity. Also, a throwback to the character of Keith David in the first two films–a devout Muslim. I’ve seen Nolan before in Glee but in this movie, he shines as the only twink among the daddies.
My verdict: watch it, before it’s too late!