The third picture in the Riddick franchise was, for a long time, thought to be something of a pipe dream. The first film, Pitch Black was small, but achieved serious popularity after its DVD release and made the eponymous Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, something of a cult figure — and remains one of my favorite sci-fi films of its decade. A solid video game, Escape From Butcher Bay helped solidify the legend, and then… well, then we saw the release of The Chronicles of Riddick, a bloated, overreaching mess of a film that took away all of the basic, organic-feeling roots of the character and tried to turn him into a player in a vast space opera.
The newest film, written and directed by David Twohy, due out later this year, returns to what made him great. Isolation, small casts, no goddamn crazy religions, the necromongers are not prominently featured — although they will be a part of the film as I understand it — and little of the ridiculous hokum that made the second film so insufferable. Instead, it’s Richard Riddick, trapped alone on a planet, hunted by bounty hunters, with monsters all around them. It’s the formula that made Pitch Black great, and the trailer certainly nails the feel of it. It doesn’t look great, but then, the trailer for the original didn’t do much for me either.
Frankly, I’m just happy to see Diesel in a film that doesn’t feature jumping cars or Paul Walker.