Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: 'Riddick' falls flat despite CGI veneer

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Riddick is child's play for Vin Diesel. Once again, Diesel gets the chance to be the macho man, flaunting his muscles while saving the day. But the act gets old fast, forcing moviegoers to search for actual substance in the film. Sadly, there is none.

Riddick is the third installment in the Chronicles of Riddick series. While I haven't seen the other two films, if they're anything like Riddick, I know I haven't missed much.

The movie starts off with Riddick (the protagonist, surprise) abandoned on a deserted planet, but it isn't until two groups of people come to capture him that the film really picks up.

Initially, it's unclear who the real enemy is. The lines between good and evil are blurred since Riddick kills and manipulates people in the groups in order to find his way home.

The film's main flaw lies in its timing; it takes way too long for the plot to unravel. The first half hour shows Riddick just limping around in a desert environment, trying to find a way to reach some faraway grassland. While it's interesting for a few seconds, it quickly gets tiresome. Once Riddick starts getting momentum, too much happens in too little time. One moment, Riddick is struggling to drink water from a pond, the next moment he manages to kill three bounty hunters. The unruly pace creates an unbalanced feeling that lingers throughout the film.

Most of the characters are one-dimensional. Half of the cast dies within the first hour, and the remaining cast is too concerned with seizing Riddick to show any real emotional depth. Beyond the brawls, even Riddick himself is a little dull. The exception is Johns (Matt Nable), one of the men chasing after Riddick. He strongly believes Riddick is the guy who killed his son, expressing his vulnerability when he confronts Riddick and demands to know how his son died. He also has an interesting back-and-forth between being good and evil.

Diesel is in his comfort zone playing Riddick, although it seems like the hardest part of his role must have been the physical stunts since his character barely spoke. Katee Sackhoff as Dahl, Johns' tough, no-nonsense sidekick, is captivating to watch, one of the film's few redeeming qualities.

While the visuals may look brilliant, do not be deceived. Once all of the fancy CGI is stripped away, Riddick has little to fall back on.

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