Monday, January 6, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: Riddick

2013, David Twohy (Pitch Black, A Perfect Getaway) -- download

Full disclosure. While I list this as "download" I will be buying a BluRay for this as soon as it comes out. This time piracy did influence purchase.

I was sitting on the sofa pondering my download queue and my "to be watched" queue and my "My List" queue on Netflix and thinking about what I should watch next. "Something good," was my primary thought, not just the "meh" I have been viewing of late. OK movies but nothing I can say I actually thought was any good. Viewing objectivity does not preclude entertainment but sometimes I just feel the need for something I can define as good. And despite Kent's review of it, I thought Riddick was a brilliant movie, a genre movie through and through but enjoyable, well shot, well acted and tenaciously well scripted.

Like Kent, I am a very big fan of this franchise. Pitch Black is a genre definer, a well done action, scifi, horror mashup that both drew on other examples of the genres and redefined them. It is a good movie. Chronicles of Riddick took the popular character from the first and shoved him into a space opera. Its not a good movie but damn nabbit, I really like it. Now we have Riddick, a labour of love if there ever was one, done by people who know the world, character and tone expected. Despite my early misgivings (based on trailers) that this would be a rehash of the other movies, it really does work. It works really well.

Richard B Riddick has escaped the treachery of the Necromongers, to a desolate planet full of predators. Everything wants to eat him but he bites back. For months, if not years, he survives until he finds a merc station. That mercs are such a staple in  this world, that they have shared outposts says something of the violence inherent to the galaxy. Riddick lures in a pair of merc ships and begins his usual cat and mouse game with both squads. The reputation and history of Riddick is played here like a fine tune, the mercs being both scared of him (as a bogeyman) and over confident they can beat one man. The dialogue and interaction is very self-aware of the genre, trading the familiar "pick them off one by one" for a smart teamup between the squads and eventually Riddick himself. In the final act, it trades Alien for Aliens with the militaristic destruction of scores of the nasty critters that is the king predator of this planet. But even with their skills and firepower, it takes Riddick's bestial survival skill to get them off planet. We start with survival, get an actioner standoff and end with a monster movie. But it consistently hangs onto the tone and feel expected of Riddick and left me very satisfied. Yes, a good movie.