The Return of 'Riddick'
By Jason GerockAudiences left disappointed with the previous installment of the Riddick series should be pleasantly surprised by “Riddick,” as the bald baddie with the surgical shine job returns to his roots.
September 6, 2013, 12:55 am TWN
The first movie centering on Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), “Pitch Black,” was set against the backdrop of a desolate planet infested with night-roaming monsters, which weren't the only thing clamoring for the blood of the shiny-eyed killer. The morphine-addicted bounty hunter Johns, willing to do anything and kill anyone to get his payday, seemed a halfway appropriate match for ruthless Riddick, with his gun and his badge, but audiences knew from the get-go that he had a target painted on his back just waiting to get splattered in red.
The second film in the series, “The Chronicles of Riddick,” took an about-face, throwing Riddick once again into the world of men. With a massive, invincible army of death-worshipping minions on his heels, audiences watched as the blood flew and destiny came to collect its due. But as the curtain fell on the “Chronicles,” one big question was left hanging in the air: What will Riddick do, now that the man who wants nothing to do with anyone is the king of everything?
“Riddick” begins by jumping directly into the story of the king and his downfall, which any fan of the character will know is by far the worst thing that could happen. Having been betrayed by his underlings, who will never miss the chance to “keep what you kill,” in order to gain power, Riddick finds himself injured and alone on another nameless, desolate planet on the outer rim of space. And this is exactly where he needs to be. As Riddick himself would point out, his time as Lord-Commander has made him soft, weak; this stint in exile was his punishment for letting power go to his head, for turning into what he always feared he might become: civilized.
Now, broken and frail but with the will to endure, Riddick, weaponless and alone, is pitted against the forces of nature. Wild beasts and poisonous water meet him at every turn, and the only way to survive is to find the animal within.
But Riddick being who he is (a huge payday for any merc bad enough to even give it a shot), no day would be complete without immoral, ruthless and completely out-of-their-depth bounty hunters being hot on his trail. How do these foolhardy fortune hunters find the man who leaves no footsteps? He says “here I am boys, come and get it.”
Returning to the roots of this character is the best decision the writers could have made. Riddick is a killer, yes, but he's far from the murderer he's been made out to be and he is not meant to be kept within the confines of a cell, a spaceship or even the walls of a palace. He's a Furyan, a beast, and out here in the wilds, where everyone and everything is out to get him, one must have pity on the poor “hunters,” who can only hope to escape, or at best suffer a quick, clean death. ■
'Riddick' (超世紀戰警:闇黑對決) ► Directed by David Twohy / With Vin Diesel, Karl Urban and Katee Sackhoff / Action, Thriller / 2013 / USA / 119 min. / English with Chinese Subtitles / Now Showing / ★★★☆☆