Entertainment Movies

Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Riddick' review: Neither fast nor deserving of fury

** (out of four)

It’s been nine years since the “Pitch Black” sequel “The Chronicles of Riddick,” probably because that’s how long it takes to recover from the sight of Vin Diesel holding a knife to Judi Dench’s throat. Actually, my eyes could use more time to heal.

Alas, here comes “Riddick” to follow 2000’s dull “Alien” rip-off and 2004’s dull sci-fi/action epic that makes less sense as it goes. Surprise surprise, the third installment’s a bore too, and Diesel’s terrible performance goes without saying. This guy specializes in franchises that don’t know what to call their sequels—the next “Fast and Furious” movie will probably be “The Team That Is Both Furious and Fast”—and when tasked with carrying “Riddick” alone, he delivers the charisma of a rock. Well, that’s not true; on this underpopulated planet with a urine-colored sky, he’s surrounded by rocks, and those do a better job of holding the screen.

It appears the civilization-controlling power Riddick possessed at the end of “Chronicles” lasted only a few days, as the ex-convict with built-in night vision must again defend himself from a variety of CGI monsters and two bickering human crews well aware of the hefty bounty on Riddick’s bald head. Diesel says he leveraged his house to make the film, which is about as essential as a prequel about Riddick’s college days. Safe to say he was a ruthless hazer, but always had your back in a bar fight.

This time, director/co-writer David Twohy adds welcome/unfunny comic relief, and “Battlestar Galactica” cult heroine Katee Sackhoff (as one of many in pursuit of Riddick) single-handedly increases the film’s watchability and badass factor. Yet this monotonous search for an unlikable anti-hero amid giant, deadly insects made me long for the fun of “Starship Troopers,” particularly during incessant voiceover in which Riddick says things like, “The whole damn planet wanted a piece of me.”

Franchises don’t work if the movie improves when the main character is offscreen.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U



Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.


Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Riddick'


  • Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    The Lolla schedule is sort of like the NCAA tournament: there are millions of possible combinations, and it’s anyone’s guess what the winning picks will be. With that in mind, we make some bold predictions about how this year’s fest (returning to Grant Park Fri.-Sun.) will turn out. Breakout artist...

  • 2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    The man on trial in the killing of Chicago police Officer Thor Soderberg hated police and surprised the officer as he changed out of his uniform at shift end and placed his duty belt down, a Cook County prosecutor alleged Monday.

  • Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Chicago aldermen on Monday called on police officials to provide information on how quickly rape kits are being tested by the state crime lab, part of a largely symbolic effort to determine whether a large backlog is hampering work to apprehend rapists.

  • Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    A South Side alderman's effort to tweak filmmaker Spike Lee for using "Chi-raq" as the title for a movie about Chicago violence fell flat Monday with his colleagues.

  • ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    Commonwealth Edison will hold energy fairs at satellite locations across the region Monday in order to get money to thousands of people struggling to pay their electricity bills in northern Illinois.

  • PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    These adorable pups are on the loose looking for a place to call home. They have a warrant out for their arrest. Their crime? Being irresistibly cute and cuddly. If you're interested in adopting any of these dogs, please visit www.pawschicago.org for more information.

  • Wabash Lights exceeds Kickstarter goal, hopes to begin test this fall

    Wabash Lights exceeds Kickstarter goal, hopes to begin test this fall

    The designers of an ambitious plan to install colorful LED lights on the underside of the Wabash Avenue "L" tracks raised almost $60,000 in a Kickstarter campaign that will allow them to move forward with a test of the project.