Riddick (d. David Twohy USA 2013)

Riddick (d. David Twohy USA 2013)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews.


Riddick is, technically, the fourth instalment in the series following the character of Riddick (Vin Diesel). Pitch Black (d. David Twohy USA 2000) introduced the character and series to reasonable success. Many forget The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (d. Peter Chung USA 2004) and The Chronicles of Riddick (d. Twohy USA 2004) wasn’t a success. Riddick therefore seems like an attempt to reclaim a franchise – a return to roots. This was very much a film that could fall either way: have they realised what went wrong? Or will it seem like a desperate attempt to continue a franchise long dead? Many remember, Riddick as an exciting imaginative franchise – so there was probably life still left within this franchise.


Riddick, marketed as an action film, also blurs its lines with horror and science fiction. The creatures we see inspire horror, and exist on an unknown planet to us. Whilst the characters have advanced weaponry, cause chase sequences and elaborate fight sequences. Pitch Black owes more to horror films, Chronicles of Riddick owes more to action and Riddick sits closer to Pitch Black. But the fear inspired is quickly destroyed in favour of action. There is an inconsistency in the treatment of one of the creatures. One point, it is almost indestructible (Possible Spoiler: The creature ambiguously regenerates and bears a bite that can instantly kill). The next? It can be defeated in a punch. It is actually easy to pinpoint when this change occurs. The narrative itself is fairly predictable, but it has within it continuity errors. Shame for such entertaining action, treated with interesting visuals and imaginative creatures.


Taking a moment to talk about the characters, as it is one of the films biggest flaws. The film is on stronger ground before many of them turn up. None of the characters are really all that felt for. We don’t care. They are brutal and merciless, arrogant and stupid, treacherous and selfish – but above all dull. It is easy to pick off the cannon fodder, but harder to care for those that survive. However, our titular character is largely different in this respect. We care and wish for his success. But particular plot points actually diminish his effect. There was also some lines that felt uncharacteristic of the character himself, taking sexual reference unnecessarily. He is a brutal fighter and hunter and is better when treated as such. A special mention to the character who can not speak, he was by the far the character I cared most for. What a shame this says more for the CGI than any actor.


I conclude by thinking of what this film could have been. It could have had more horror and been more interesting. It could have had more action and been more interesting. Better back to the tone of Pitch Black but it felt at times a desperate copy. I would like to say something for what the characters could have been – but they basically needed to be completely different. Riddick, himself, could have been handled much better than he did. Better than Chronicles of Riddick, cheap compared to Pitch Black – what a pity. This film has interesting visuals and creature designs. It is entertaining but… I expected more.


Further Reading



Riddick Official Site

David Twohy’s Site

Vin Diesel’s Site

Interview with David Twohy

Interview with Vin Diesel

Interview with Vin Diesel and Katee Sackhoff

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