The first 20 minutes of David Twohy's futuristic actioner is pretty head-scratching

He's gotta wear shades: Vin Diesel as Riddick

He's gotta wear shades: Vin Diesel as Riddick

I last hung out with hulking space hero-villain Riddick (Vin Diesel) in 2000, when the character debuted in Pitch Black. I took a pass on 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick, and thus wound up at the new Riddick, well, in the dark.

There's no preamble, and the first 20 minutes of David Twohy's futuristic actioner is pretty head-scratching. Riddick emerges from the muck of an ugly-looking yellow planet; fights space hyenas, space eels and space freak lizards; changes from a metal outfit to a leather outfit; and gets pissy about some unexplained flashback. 

Then the film settles into an understandable, if predictable, storyline: Two groups of mercenaries arrive on Planet Icky and join forces to capture Riddick, who, being Vin Diesel, is a billion times smarter than them. Mercs are variously eviscerated and a new threat (oh hi, lots of space freak lizards) gets everybody batting for the same team. That's Team Hyper-Macho, by the way, and includes the film's one actress, Katee Sackhoff, out-bad-assing her role as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica.

Riddick's ongoing status (and — spoiler alert — future) is never really clarified. But with his cocky machismo, casual sexism and woven-leather trousers, it's just as likely he is perpetually on the run from an outdated past. Will no planet have him?


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