A review by Nalini Haynes
★★★☆☆ three out of five stars
Recently I re-watched the Chronicles of Riddick: the director attempted to put a Pitch Black-like story inside a larger epic science fiction story in only one movie. While I see huge potential in the Chronicles of Riddick it needed major plot holes plugged and a season or series on TV rather than a single movie to tell the story. The creators of Pitch Black returned to Riddick’s strengths, focusing on their success with this third Riddick movie.
Riddick is bored, uninterested in his concubines writhing naked on the bed. He asks for information from the untrustworthy insubordinate officer Vaako (Karl Urban), who features for all of about two minutes before sending Riddick off on his quest. This can’t end badly, right?
Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, the other captained by a man from Riddick’s past.
Effectively, Riddick is Pitch Black set on new planets with new cannon fodder for Riddick to protect or kill. The landscape has fatal surprises in store while the humans fight it out. Special effects create a gorgeous immersive landscape, possibly the real star of the show… apart from the hunky Vin Diesel, of course.
The mercenaries are a troop of guys with one woman, Dahl. I thought the guys were patronising her by calling her ‘darl’, short for ‘darling’ but apparently not. Katee Sackhoff plays Dahl, a lesbian who flashes her breasts for the camera while washing only to search for her makeup while her face is wet. Because women soldiers must look their best and don’t need dry skin to apply makeup. Although Dahl declares she’s not interested in men, she succumbs to Riddick’s charms.
Riddick knows its audience: it’s a classic ‘guy’ movie with women serving as eye candy for the male gaze, lots of danger, animal attacks and even some of the wild-life attacks the mercenaries. Riddick aims squarely at the Pitch Black audience who doesn’t mind a remake.