Good news for the fans of Vin Diesel shooting monsters in space — he has returned to the franchise he helped create for a third time. This time, director David Twohy has tried to capture the spirit of the first movie, with a scaled down budget and story, and a R-rating.
The film finds Riddick in a barren hellhole of a planet where he has to fight creatures straight out your nightmares to survive. Realizing his badassery isn’t enough to make him live much longer, he activates an emergency beacon that brings mercenaries from all over the galaxy to the sun-scorched planet. Two ships descend in pursuit of Riddick: One filled with hardened bounty hunters looking for their share, while the other is captained by someone from Riddick’s past.
After the swashbuckling adventures of the bigger-budgeted previous installment disappointed at the box office, it seemed like the franchise was dead. The prospects for a third feature didn’t seem very good when The Chronicles of Riddick was followed up by an straight-to-DVD animated movie that bridged the gap between the first two films. I, at least, wouldn’t expect a franchise to bounce back after it has been relegated to the made-for-DVD zone. But thanks to the perseverance of Twohy and Diesel, a third film is now a reality.
Back in 2010, the screenplay, then titled “Dead Man Stalking”, was reviewed by Coming Attractions. They had this to say:
It moves like that 1970 Dodge Charger Vin drove in the original Fast and Furious. And this is a hard R script — it’s full of death action and peppered with nasty, filthy language befitting the characters you’ll see in it, Riddick included. This is The Road Warrior to Pitch Black‘s Mad Max; a stripped-down, hard-edge actioner that just happens to take place on a world where there’s three moons and mud demons and trisons and two shipfuls of mercs hunting down the galaxy’s most wanted man, Richard P. Riddick. Free from the constraints of delivering a PG-13 movie, the dialogue in Dead Man Stalking is more suited to a film like Training Day; the mercs we meet are hard living people, not those washout fakeout space mercs from a film like Alien Resurrection.
The film will release in the US and the UK on September 6 this year, in 2D and IMAX theaters. Yes, you read that right; TWO-D theaters, not theaters they make you wear silly glasses, or the ones where the ditch the screen altogether and have a bunch of people in costumes enact the movie in front of you for “enhanced immersion”.
It’s interesting that they didn’t go for post-conversion in a time when studios are so desperate for the extra ticket price that comes with the extra dimension that they postpone movies for a year after investing millions in marketing.
Who’s In It?
Vin Diesel returns as Riddick, the eponymous anti-hero space-assassin of the series. He had been eager about reprising the role for a third time since the release of the second film in 2004, and worked with Twohy through pre-production and kept fans updated over the developments. He posts videos and photos related to the movie on his facebook page.
Karl Urban (Dredd 3D, Star Trek Into Darkness) will reprise the role of Lord Vaako from the previous movie.
Matt Nable plays Boss Johns
Katee Sackhoff plays a badass merc named Dahl. You might remember from the Battlestar Galactica remake, where she played a badass fighter pilot called Starbuck.
Jordi Molla plays Santana
Bokeem Woodbine plays Moss
Dave Batista plays Diaz
Nolan Gerard Funk plays Luna
Keri Hilson plays Shirah
The Good Stuff?
Vin Disel is a charismatic lead actor, and he always elevates the movies he’s in. The franchise has a sizable cult following, as evidenced by its strong home video sales, and if you’re one of those fans, then you might not want to miss this one, as they’re going full circle in terms of tone, making this film more in line with Pitch Black, the film that made people fall in love with the character in the first place. There’s also the R-rating, which is a big draw for many people who feel they might as well suck their thumbs on their mommies’ laps than watch a PG-13 movie.
The Bad Stuff?
I’m not a big fan of Pitch Black, the only Riddick movie I’ve seen. I mean, I don’t hate it, but I don’t see what’s so great about it. The critical reception was lukewarm, with the general consensus being that the film squanders its limited potential by the generic execution and clunky writing.