Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Riddick

PRIMAL TIME: Riddick never changes gear, a little like lead actor Vin Diesel's facial expression.
PRIMAL TIME: Riddick never changes gear, a little like lead actor Vin Diesel's facial expression.

Riddick is the third sci-fi film in writer/director David Twohy's series, which began with promise in Pitch Black (2000) and then took a dive with The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). In resurrecting Riddick, a night-visioned antihero played by Vin Diesel, Twohy returns this story to its roots, stripping the story and character back for another battle for survival.

Thanks to Vin Diesel's husky-voiced narration, we learn Riddick left the planet of Helion where the last film took place, but rather than being returned home as promised he was left to die on a hostile planet. Not much of this set-up (which features a small cameo from Karl Urban) makes much sense if you haven't seen The Chronicles of Riddick, but it doesn't really matter.

Injured and with nasty alien creatures trying to finish him off, Riddick takes cover, strips off and gets back to his primal basics. If he's going to get off this planet he needs a ship, so he tames a creature that looks like a cross between a dog and a hyena and then alerts bounty hunters to his location.

Riddick goes from being hunted by alien predators to being hunted by bounty hunters who aren't quite as good at killing as he is. And that's pretty much it - a long game of cat and mouse between Riddick and the local aliens, then between Riddick and the buff-looking bounty hunters searching for him and, finally, between whoever is left standing and the rather persistent aliens.

There's plenty of tension, good action and novel ways to die, but Riddick never changes gear, a little like Vin Diesel's facial expression. It feels like a B-grade project made up of impressive CGI creatures, an overly CGI'd planet, and a script of clunky one-liners. If you're watching you probably know what you're going to get and that's why you're there - relentless hunting and killing.

Stars: 2.5/5
Cast: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff
Director: David Twohy
Running time: 118 mins
Rating: R16 (violence, sexual references and offensive language)
Verdict: Far-fetched testosterone-filled action

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