Riddickulously awful

Riddickulously awful

Photo courtesy of teasertrailer.com

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Intergalactic badass Richard B. Riddick is stranded on an inhospitable planet surrounded by alien monsters. He’s forced to call on mercenaries and bounty hunters, his hated enemies, if he plans on surviving. The plot sounds awesome, right? How bad could the movie Riddick be?

Very.

The titular Riddick is only fun to watch because he is impossibly badass, but there is no character development provided by Vin Diesel’s portrayal. The handful of times he is not playing the flat character of a stone-cold killer, and actually tries to emote, he more closely resembles a fifth grader making faces in a mirror than a human expressing any kind of feeling.

To be fair, for the majority of the scenes Vin Diesel is in, he owns the role, providing a chilling portrait of a killer.

Other notable characters in Riddick include Jordi Molla as bounty hunter Santana, who is too cliché for my taste, (though Molla does a good job with the role he is given), and Matt Nable as Boss Johns. Nable plays one of the most important characters in the film, but is entirely forgettable save for a couple of noteworthy scenes with Riddick where he is little more than an accessory to Diesel’s gratuitous awesomeness.

Special mention, though, has to go to Dave Bautista’s performance as Diaz, who steals the show whenever he’s onscreen. It seems that recently, Vin Diesel loves to work with former wrestlers who horribly dwarf him, such as Dwayne Johnson in Fast & Furious 6, but never has this dynamic been more hilarious to watch than in Riddick. One particular scene comes to mind when Riddick wins a fight with Diaz. Watching Vin Diesel’s comparatively twig-like arms overpower Bautista’s tree-trunk appendages is the most ridiculous part of the movie.

The role of Dahl played by Katee Sackhoff, is complicated. If you are of the female half of our species, it may be advisable that you avoid this movie like the plague. Dahl’s largest contributions to the film include a naked shower scene and punching Santana in the face once. She’s also involved in an uncomfortable almost-rape scene that is done with all the subtlety and taste of the Westboro Baptist Church, especially since it is waved off and never mentioned again. In spite of her character being a lesbian, she seems to make an exception for Riddick for some reason. I’m going to assume that it is just ignorant and offensive writing.

Fans of creative science fiction technology, though, should absolutely go out and see Riddick. The special effects team’s efforts produced an amazing end result. The technology looks futuristic, the creature designs are creative and varied, and the world is, at times, stunningly beautiful. The first half of the movie, which is all about Riddick surviving in the world, is wonderful to sit through. Fans of good writing, have no such luck, as the mercenary antagonists act like they are only two IQ points away from being brain-dead. Time and again, I found myself incredulous at the stupidity of these so-called “professionals”.

If you want to watch a decent science-fiction action movie, watch Elysium. I grade Riddick at 36/100.