Magazine article Screen International


Magazine article Screen International


Article excerpt

Dir/scr: David Twohy. US. 2013. 119mins

After the rather self-consciously epic and rather plodding The Chronicles Of Riddick (a title that implied how seriously it was trying to take itself), Vin Diesel's muscular sci-fi franchise smartly heads back to the B-movie roots of its original film Pitch Black, and delivers a dark and bloody genre film that delivers in terms of monsters, knives and a healthy bit of gore. With Diesel's popularity in the Fast & Furious franchise proving he still has box office muscle, the film will be welcomed as a guilty pleasure fantasy outing in amidst the early round of festival premiere would-be awards films.

The violence and the monsters and the big guns all add up to something of an moodily enjoyable adult fantasy romp, and though a little static in the central section, it relishes the sci-fi mayhem and will appeal to those who lapped up Pitch Black's old-fashioned creature-feature silliness.

That isn't to say Riddick is perfect. It feel way too long at just a smidgen off two hours - and does feel it as it lags and repeats itself in places - and is more than a little ridiculous at times, but at least it (eventually, after a rather po-faced start) has a sense of humour, and does come up with some splendid action scenes that reinforce Riddick as a brutally brooding and indestructible character (rather like a futuristic Conan) who is a dab hand at the old carnage.

Plus it shows that the growling Vin Diesel has the chops to carry a film on his manly shoulders. In the Fast & Furious films he has to compete with the likes Dwayne Johnson and Paul Walker (as well as a bunch of very cool cars) for screen time, but here he is very much front-and-centre, with everything revolving around him.

The film opens in the UK on September 4 and in the US a couple of days later, and gets a hefty worldwide release through the rest of the world over the month.

In Pitch Black we had Riddick as a hunted criminal with special see-in-the-dark powers and a great capacity for violence, while in the sequel writer/director David Twohy took the upscale route and had him pitched as a hero from a legendary planet up against a whole army of Necomongers (distinctive by their black leather garb and a serious sense of humour bypass) and eventually crowned Lord Marshall (or top dog to you or I) after a face-off with their leader.

All well and good, but it did write Riddick into something of a God-like corner. …

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