Is there anything Vin Diesel can’t do? He’s helped save Private Ryan, given voice to an Iron Giant and driven some sweet cars pretty fast and furious. He returns this week for the third time as escaped prisoner and suspected murderer Richard Riddick in the appropriately named action film, “Riddick.”
We find our hero after having been marooned on a desolate planet. Well, it’s not too desolate. There are many different creatures lurking about and, in the first ten minutes of the film, Riddick manages to do battle with each of them. He also proves his toughness by setting his own hideously broken leg. He actually does pretty well because soon he’s running and jumping as if he and the film’s continuity person forgot he even had a broken leg. He comes upon an old outpost and triggers a beacon to summon help. What he gets are two different space ships. The first contain bounty hunters, the second, a crew inquisitive about Riddick’s past. Oh, and more creatures.
With a standard “Action Film 101” script and some impressive visual effects, “Riddick” is everything you think it is. Some witty banter, a little T & A to keep you on your toes and a surprisingly engaging performance by Diesel, who pretty much sleepwalked through this past summer’s “Fast and Furious 6.” I’ve always found Diesel to be an interesting character. When he’s not out proving he’s a badass he’s actually turned in some solid work. Here he appears to be having fun and his familiarity with the character makes you worry about what is going to happen to him next.
The rest of the characters are pretty stock: the bounty hunters who secretly want nothing to do with their prey, the cool blonde chick (Sackhoff) with a trained eye and an incredible figure, the gang leader whose determination to put Riddick’s head in a box is such that you hope he hurries up and takes care of the job. As mentioned above, the script is pretty much by-the-book, with much of the film narrated by Diesel. “There are bad days,” he comments, with most of the action dealing with him and those sent to find him. Thankfully they’re not all bad.