The sci-fi horror thriller “Riddick” is so disconnected from its previous installments – the 2000 survival thriller “Pitch Black” and the 2004 fantasy “The Chronicles of Riddick” – that maybe they should have started from scratch.
With a new franchise, writer-director David Twohy could have avoided the opening 15 minutes of setting-up exercises, explaining how the night-vision-equipped escaped criminal-turned-king Riddick (Vin Diesel) ended up betrayed and dumped on a barren planet inhabited by lethal scorpion-tailed lizard things. Once things settle down a bit, the movie becomes a straight slasher story, with two groups of rival bounty hunters vying for Riddick’s head. The mercenaries’ ranks thin out considerably thanks to Riddick, who eventually convinces the survivors that the scorpion beasts are a bigger threat than he is.
Twohy devises ridiculous, but entertaining, computer effects and bloody action set pieces. He also assembles a cool rogues’ gallery that includes WWE star Dave Bautista and “Battlestar Galactica’s” Katee Sackhoff for the super-tough Diesel to spar against.
Opens today at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity; 119 minutes.