Vin Diesel as Riddick
Jordi Mollà as Santana
Matt Nable as Boss Johns
Katee Sackhoff as Dahl
Dave Bautista as Diaz
Bokeem Woodbine as Moss
Raoul Trujillo as Lockspur
Conrad Pla as Vargas
Danny Blanco Hall as Falco
Noah Danby as Nunez
Neil Napier as Rubio
Nolan Gerard Funk as Luna
Karl Urban as Vaako
Andreas Apergis as Krone

Directed by David Twohy

“Riddick” is a strong entry in the film series. Featuring impressive production design, three distinct and entertaining acts, and a lot of bloody action, it should entertain anyone looking for a solid action/sci-fi film.

After being betrayed and left for dead on an uninhabited planet, Riddick barely clings to life. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that every living thing on the planet is out to kill him, but you know what they say about cornering a wounded animal.

Riddick manages to survive through toughness and a thirst for revenge. He even manages to train an alien dog as a pet. But when he runs across a new threat on the alien world, he realizes he must do whatever it takes to get off of the planet if he wants to continue to survive.

Riddick sends a distress beacon into space which is answered by two parties of bounty hunters. One is a ragtag band of bloodthirsty thugs. The other is a group of highly-trained and thoroughly-equipped mercenaries. But as they all soon discover, Riddick is the least of their worries.

“Riddick” is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity.

What Worked:
“Riddick” is a great treat for any fan of R-rated sci-fi action. It features impressive alien worlds, cool spaceships and hover bikes, and bloody action that’s sure to please. I’d say it’s not quite as good as “Pitch Black”, but a step up from “The Chronicles of Riddick.” And what’s nice is you don’t really have to see the previous films to follow “Riddick.” It certainly helps, but it’s by no means necessary. That should help new fans jump on board the series.

This film is really told in three acts. The first features Riddick simply trying to survive on the alien world. Various creatures try to make an easy meal of him and find out that he’s not so easy to kill. Then he must deal with horrible wounds from the initial assassination attempt that left him stranded on the planet. It’s basically your classic survival tale set on an alien world. Along the way Riddick raises an alien dog (Scooby-Doo?) that becomes his companion. It really adds character to the story and occasionally steals the spotlight from Diesel.

The second act then introduces the two rival bounty hunter teams into the mix who unsuccessfully try to kill Riddick. Surprisingly, Diesel is largely absent from this portion of the film as he stalks the bounty hunters. This allows the rest of the cast to shine for a while. Jordi Mollà is a lot of fun as Santana. Despite the fact that he’s a murderer, a coward, and likely a rapist, Mollà manages to make him pretty entertaining and he adds a lot of life and comic relief to the story. When he’s inevitably killed (no spoiler alert necessary there), you’re almost sad to see him go. Dave Bautista is given some great one-liners as Diaz. It’s definitely a breakout film role for him and I look forward to seeing him in “Guardians of the Galaxy” now. Fans of Katee Sackhoff will be glad to see her as Dahl. She’s the same tough chick she is in “Battlestar Galactica,” but now she throws in R-rated content into her routine. She’s definitely a match for Riddick. Then Matt Nable does a pretty good job as Boss Johns, a man with a personal reason to track down Riddick. This could have easily been a weak point of the film, but Nable manages to bring the right mix of toughness and heart to the role.

The final act, as you’ve seen in the commercials and trailers, is a swarm of killer alien animals attacking our heroes and anti-heroes. It’s a visually impressive moment and when you see it, you’re amazed to see what they’re able to get on the screen for a relatively modest budget.

“Riddick” is essentially Conan the Barbarian in space. He’s tough, violent, and loves the ladies. If that at all sounds appealing to you, then you’ll want to see this film on the big screen.

What Didn’t Work:
While the first and second acts of “Riddick” are pretty solid, the final act where the alien monsters attack feels like a rehash of “Pitch Black.” And, unfortunately, “Pitch Black” had a level of intensity and high stakes that this final act lacks. None of your favorite characters feel like they’re in jeopardy and you never feel like Riddick is in any danger even though it appears he’s making a last stand.

“Riddick” also lacks the surprises of “Pitch Black.” While the first film shocked you with who lived and died, there’s none of that here. You can pretty much identify who is going to buy it and in what order.

Riddick himself feels a tad on the invincible side. We first see him terribly wounded and about to be killed by alien creatures, yet he always feels 100% in control of the situation. Then, when the bounty hunters arrive, Riddick picks them off without the least bit of trouble. By the time the alien creatures start swarming in the third act, it never feels like he’s in real jeopardy. I think for this third film in the series, they needed to up the stakes for Riddick and throw him in more situations where he’s unprepared for the situation and having to think on his toes more rather than being an invincible and omnipotent character.

The Bottom Line:
If you liked the previous Riddick movies or if you’re simply in the mood for old school, bloody sci-fi, then this film is worth checking out on the big screen. I think it will perform well enough that we’ll see a fourth Riddick movie.