In Riddick, the third film in the Riddick trilogy, our favorite Riddick (played by Vin Diesel) is left for dead on another sun-scorched planet fighting for his life. He sends out an emergency beacon to catch a ride to God knows where, which attracts two different mercenary ships. These mercs are bent on bringing Riddick in and collecting a bounty — a bounty that is doubled if he is brought in dead.
At the end of Chronicles of Riddick, also known as Riddick 2, our hero was made lord martial of the Necromongers, a race of undead people who hope to get to the Underverse; which sounds more like a one-way ticket to hell.
Not satisfied with their fearless leader, a Necromonger plot is set in motion to get rid of Riddick for good. Of course, they and the audience know that that never works.
David Twohy, who wrote and directed the previous two Riddick films (Pitch Black in 2000 and Chronicles in 2004), and wrote G.I. Jane and Water World, is back, and consistent. He keeps to the same formula: Strand Riddick on a “sun-scorched” planet, give Riddick a hot female to play with, make Riddick look like one scary dude with glowing eyes who kills the bad guys in the most heinous and disgusting ways.
Expectations have been met with Riddick 3, considering those expectations were low. This film was made to give Diesel another shot at being on the big screen in all of his muscular, cheeky brilliance. Twohy succeeds in that regard. He even throws in a nude shot of Diesel for the ladies dragged to the theater by their boyfriends. Twohy also made sure to have a woman “save the day,” just in case women try to call foul.
Well, “Foul.” The only real artistic reason to make a sequel to a hit is if there’s more story to tell. Though there surely are enough Riddick stories to fill a solar system, most of those stories aren’t very good, judging by this film and its predecessors.
The only bright spot in this one is Diesel. Very much different from the past films, Riddick 3.0 is full of charm and has a great sense of humor. If only the 3.0 version of the film could live up to its namesake.
It’s also wishful thinking for Twohy to think he can splice in more ethnic flavor without it being painfully obvious. The first ship is helmed by Santana (Jordi Molla), a greasy man who likes to put his hands on women who don’t want him. Santana heads the Latino crew which consists of Diaz (Dave Bautista), Vargas (Conrad Pla), Nunez (Noah Danby), Rubio (Neil Napier) and Luna (Nolan Gerard Funk).
The other mercenary ship’s members are a rainbow coalition of races: leader of the pack Boss Johns (Matt Nable), token female Dahl (Katee Sackhoff), token black guy Moss (Bokeem Woodbine), and a racially ambiguous Lockspur (Raoul Trujillo). When the two teams face off against each other, it looks like the Hispanics are against everyone else. Whatever effect Twohy was going for, it doesn’t work for this film.
Sackhoff’s Dahl is the lady of the film, who always keeps it 100 percent, especially when tested by Santana. Dahl is the second most likeable character in the film.
Twohy ruins it, however, by using the wrong tools to let the audience know that she’s a “girlie girl”: The pink nail polish and makeup compact make Dahl look more like a joke than the woman with the really good right hook. Just ask Santana.
It’s a shame that the low expectations for this film were matched by its weak plot and weak attempt at commentary on race relations in the United States. But life goes on and on and on; just ask Riddick.