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Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.
For more about Riddick and the Riddick Blu-ray release, see Riddick Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on January 1, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine, Jordi Mollà, Raoul Trujillo
Director: David Twohy
» See full cast & crew
Riddick Blu-ray Review
"You're not afraid of the dark, are you?"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, January 1, 2014
After Earth. Production budget: $130 million. R.I.P.D.: $135 million. White House Down: $150 million. Jack the Giant Slayer: $195 million. Oz the Great and Powerful: $215 million. The Lone Ranger: a reckless $230 million, and that's a conservative estimate. Some of the year's biggest budgets, some of the year's biggest domestic flops. But Riddick? Writer/director David Twohy and producer/series star Vin Diesel's hard-fought, blood-sweat-n-tears threequel? A lean, thrifty $38 million. Shot on a relative dime, and earning a solid $98 million worldwide, the duo's long-in-development passion project does far more with far less than its blockbuster brethren, and looks better doing it; ditto when comparing Riddick to its franchise predecessor, The Chronicles of Riddick, which was a bit of a bloated, over-indulgent exercise in spending too much on too little. Riddick not only represents a welcome return to bloody, R-rated Pitch Black form, it effectively resurrects the near-dead, fan-favorite series and finds it still bristling with potential. All Twohy and Diesel have to figure out going forward is how to give their legion of sequel-hungry fans the one thing Riddick doesn't offer: something new.
Shedding the fat of Chronicles' Baroquian space opera, Riddick strands Diesel's titular antihero -- initially the Lord Marshall of the Necromonger horde -- on a farflung planet his subordinate and rival, Commander Vaako (Karl Urban), claims to be Furya, Riddick's homeworld. The desolate world isn't Furya, of course, a little tidbit Riddick ascertains seconds before being betrayed and left for dead. Surviving the harsh elements and the local wildlife, the universe's most notorious convict eventually finds an abandoned mercenary outpost, triggers an emergency beacon and waits patiently for a merc crew eager to score a hefty payday. Two ships arrive, one after the other; the first manned by the sort of outer rim hack-hunters-for-hire Riddick eats for breakfast (led by Jordi Mollà's cocksure Santana and bolstered by Dave Batista's hulking Diaz), the second comprised of battle-hardened pros better suited to the task at hand (led by Matthew Nable's steady-handed Boss and backed by Katee Sackhoff's hot-headed Dahl). Before you can say "go for the sweet spot," Riddick is stalking the shadows, merc by merc, working to steal a ship capable of taking him off world.
Riddick's first act is a silent, all too efficient killer; a stripped down scrapper hellbent on refining the series formula and embracing its primal urges. There's growly genre dialogue -- and a puppy, if you can believe it -- but it's the movie Chronicles critics wanted nine years ago and the actioner Twohy and Diesel have been promising. (Not to mention a bloody, brutal Wall-E if you squint and watch it just right.) When the mercs arrive, though, the film spirals into series homage that occasionally borders on self-parody. Whereas Riddick opens his third actioner on the ropes, fighting to make it through the night, he soon resumes his weirdly omnipresent shenanigans, lurking and smirking in plain view while yet another band of dim-witted mercenaries look everywhere but up. From there it descends into a rehash of Pitch Black, with a sea of alien beasties rising out of the ground and forcing Riddick and his adversaries to work together to survive. (The difference being a solid but predictable subplot involving a merc with ties to someone from the first film.) It reeks of callback and same-iness, with little in the way of mythos or character advancement. Riddick rides off into the sunset in the exact position he was at the end of Pitch Black, minimalizing everything that transpired in Chronicles, Kyra and all.
Fortunately, beneath all the familiarity lies a sinewy action spectacle with more nerve and gristle than most. Chalk it up to Diesel's unflinching love of Riddick, Twohy's colorful misfits and derelict alien worlds, the pair's fondness for crowd pleasing action and savage kills, or maybe the series' return to the muck, murk and mud of a decisive R rating... whatever the source of its swagger, Riddick pins its Big Dumb Fun badge to its sleeve with pride. No cut corners. No pulled punches. No dropped balls. Twohy's script may leave something to be desired, but Diesel doesn't falter, his castmates are having a blast, the film's FX delivers, death hits hard and sacrifice hits harder, and there are more than enough memorable moments to go around. Yes, Pitch Black remains the better film. And yes, if you aren't already head over heels for the series, Riddick isn't going to inspire a change of heart. However, franchise fans will be thrilled with Part Three, even while spotting every flaw and misstep it entails. Here's hoping Twohy and Diesel have more in store for their merc-mauling antihero in future installments. Riddick is a fun, functional redux; a tasty appetizer. Bring on the main event.
Riddick Blu-ray, Video Quality
The first two Riddick films have long been high definition highlights, and Twohy's third entry in the series is no different. Armed with a top tier 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer, Riddick springs to flawless action without an encoding issue or compression anomaly to speak of. Colors are warm and vivid, skintones are magnificently saturated, blacks are rich, inky and foreboding, and the film's stark contrast levels are dialed in beautifully. Add to that excellent delineation and exacting detail -- complete with razor-wire edges, exceedingly well-resolved fine textures and nothing in the way of ringing or other eyesores -- and you have a stunner in the making; one free of offending crush, noise, macroblocking, banding, aliasing and other unwelcome guests. A few problematic visual effects reveal the film's modestly budgeted seams, sure, but this is Riddick as Twohy and cinematographer David Eggby intended. Fans will be ecstatic.
Riddick Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Not to be outdone by one of the year's first outstanding video presentations, Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 earns its lossless stripes from bloody start to stormy finish. Wasteland winds howl, ship thrusters boom, thunder cracks, rain roars, firearms explode, hover bikes chug, aliens snarl and Riddick and his rivals quip and kill with crystal clear ferocity. In a word, it's impeccable. LFE output is aggressive to the point of being relentless, yet never allows raw power to trump subtle weight. The rear speakers are engaging and assertive at all times too, wrapping everything from the interior of a Necromonger ship to the cramped quarters of a merc outpost around the listener with convincing ease. Immersing oneself in the action is a cinch with whiplash pans, dead-aim directionality and such a full, robust soundfield, and any fan worth their salt will raise a glass when Graeme Revell's Riddick theme surges. Dialogue is intelligible, well-grounded and perfectly prioritized too, making this a first class lossless track all around.
Riddick Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Riddick Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Good news, bad news: Riddick delivers on its back-to-basics promise... yet still leaves something to be desired. It bests Chronicles but never quite surpasses Pitch Black, and fails to do anything new with Riddick or the franchise. Even so, there's a good deal of bloody fun to be had with Twohy and Diesel's third franchise film and enough seed planted to produce an even better actioner come Part Four. Universal's Blu-ray combo pack, meanwhile, is a terrific release, ignoring the fact that its much too short supplemental package lacks the Twohy/Diesel commentary and production documentary I, for one, was itching for. With two cuts of the film, a top tier video presentation and an equally impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, Riddick nails its AV landing. At the very least, it's worth a rent. Franchise fans, though, should add it to their Amazon carts post haste.
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Riddick Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, Jan. 13-19: Riddick Battles The Butler for Number One - January 23, 2014
For the week that ended on January 19th, Universal Studios' Riddick took the number one spot on the Blu-ray-only media chart, knocking down the winner from the previous five weeks, Despicable Me 2. This sci-fi thriller, the latest installment in the adventures ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: January 14-21 - January 12, 2014
For the week of January 14th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment streets Riddick on Blu-ray. Other titles include Fox's Enough Said, the docudrama The Butler, Lionsgate's You're Next, The Spectacular Now, and Pride and Prejudice releases, and Criterion's Rififi ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: Riddick - January 10, 2014
Blu-ray.com and Universal Studios Home Entertainment are offering three members the opportunity to win a copy of David Twohy's Riddick, starring Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà, Noah Danby, Danny Blanco Hall, Bokeem Woodbine, Matt Nable and ...
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