As with all of the Riddick outings, both movies, anime and games, I loved this. Riddick is definitely inspired by Conan and there are corollaries between each iteration of Riddick we've seen and periods/specific adventures in Conan's literary timeline. And since I can't seem to get a really good Conan movie since the first one, I'll take Riddick.
Act 1 was very well done, establishing Riddick as the uber badass human predator unfettered by the trappings of civilization. His observations of and interactions with the environment of this new planet were quite well done and thoroughly interesting.
I loved the SpaceJackal, a fully realized CGI character with more realism and personality than, really any other that comes to mind. I'm looking at you Jar Jar: you never suck so hard that something new can't come along to make you suck even more.
The other alien creatures, including the walking serpents, were all fun and felt like they fit in with the aesthetics of the fauna from the previous films. They weren't quite the same threat because the people facing them were very heavily armed and they weren't a planetary extinction level threat like the bioraptors from Pitch Black
. They fit into a cyclic ecosystem. If they were as dangerous as the bioraptors, there'd be no other life on this new world.
Also liked how the ruins hinted at possible sentient alien life and fallen civilizations having existed at some point in the Riddickverse (outside whatever the hell the Elementals from Chronicles
were really supposed to be).
I was hoping for a bit more Vaako, but what we got of the Necromonger wrap up certainly left hooks for followup there.
Act 2 Merc Time was cool seeing a couple different groups of characters interacting with each other and trying to deal with rounding up Riddick. The bounty being changed to double if dead was amusing. After the second triple max slam got wiped out by Riddick, I'd imagine the private prison bottom line would be better served with Riddick mounted on the wall.
Santana was good as the sweaty asshole. Batista (Diaz) was very funny and good as the heavy muscle. Big Daddy Johns played the conflicted, driven bounty hunter well. I don't think I've ever seen the actor in anything before. Katee Sackoff (Dahl) was kickass, as usual. Side boobage was much appreciated. I didn't read the article about the nudity as her being bothered by it so much, just not wanting to come off as the new girl to film showing skin to get noticed, which she didn't. It was brief, made sense in-context and lasted all of 3 seconds. If I was David Twohy and had Katee Sackoff in my film, I'd probably go for mandatory nudity, too. And hey, the ladies get a silhouetted Vin Diesel ass shot. It's all good. That the Act 2 climax was upsetting also says something about the movie getting me invested in certain characters, which is always a good thing.
With Act 3 I was worried briefly about it becoming Pitch Black
version 2.0, but it really didn't. Yes it's dark, yes it's raining at certain points, yes there are monsters, but the context of what is happening, how and to whom it is happening, along with their reactions and character motivations are different enough to make it its own thing. As for a standout visual, I'd say there were several Frank Frazetta-inspired shots put forward throughout the film focused on character (Riddick as Lord Marshal, Riddick surveying new world after being left for dead, Riddick on hilltop with SpaceJackal) rather than awesome backdrops (though the scenery was pretty great and very imaginative) culminating with the climax confrontation atop the jagged clifftop lit by lightning flashes. Reminded me of a metal band album cover.
If I had to complain about something, it would be David Twohy's insistence on fucking up his movie titles.
The Chronicles of Riddick:
-Escape From Butcher Bay (VG)
-Assault on Dark Athena (VG)
-Pitch Black (Movie 1)
-Dark Fury (Anime)
-Necromonger (Movie 2)
-Rule the Dark (Movie 3)
-Untitled Project Involving a General Lack of Light, Heavy Emotion, and Escaping (VG)
How hard is that? Come on, man! You need to call the series
The Chronicles of Riddick and give the second movie an actual name. Then you give the third movie the subtitle you already came up with, instead of the completely uninteresting Riddick
. I like my DVDs to look nice next to one-another. There's no Conan story title "Conan", bro.