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This Riddick's a little lacklustre

Film & TV

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When escaped convict Riddick (Vin Diesel) is betrayed and left for dead on a desolate planet, his only hope for survival lies in activating an emergency beacon conveniently left behind. Unfortunately, it attracts the attention of a band of ruthless mercenaries, as well as a ship captained by a mysterious man from Riddick’s past.

As the three parties engage in a slow, tedious game of cat and mouse, another threat emerges – a dormant race of aliens are about to awaken and they are hungry for blood.

Directed and written by David Twohy (Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick), this is the third film in the Riddick franchise and follows on from the events of 2004’s chronicles. A well-muscled Diesel reprises his role and, while he handles the demanding stunts and fight scenes with ease, he fails to recapture the intense aura of danger that made Riddick so appealing in previous films.

Katee Sackhoff delivers a tolerable performance as female mercenary Dahl, the stereotypical tough girl of the group, but she often takes her butch persona a little too seriously and the short romance between her and Riddick is just plain corny.

Karl Urban reprises his role as necromonger Vaako, while Matt Noble stars as Boss Johns, the mystery man from Riddick’s past – although the connection between the two is not made clear. The less-than-stellar script seems more focussed on delivering lewd sexual jokes (directed towards Dahl, of course) rather than any substantial revelations.

Clever special effects bring the unnamed planet to life, creating a sun-scorched landscape full of treacherous mountains and dangerous creatures, while the aliens look like a fusion between a dinosaur, a scorpion and a spider. There are gory moments as Riddick dispatches both alien and human enemies, but some of the fight scenes are a little too far-fetched – even for a sci-fi movie.

As a fan of the Riddick franchise, I was disappointed by this latest offering, which promises so much but delivers so little. The plot moves at an agonisingly slow pace and, although impressive, the action scenes lacked the energy and excitement of Twohy’s previous films.

It has been eight long years since audiences last saw Riddick, and given this latest offering, you can’t help but wonder if Twohy’s heart was really in it. Definitely not Riddick’s finest hour.

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