Although the Fast & Furious series has become a worldwide phenomenon—with the latest, FF6, grossing more than $780 million–diehard fans haven been waiting for the return of Vin Diesel's other moody, gravely-voiced anti-hero: Richard B. Riddick.
One of the most wanted criminals in the known universe, Riddick made his debut in the sci-fi flick Pitch Black (2000.) Riddick was being transported via a space-vessel that crash lands on a planet where the convict is the least of the crewmembers (including Radha Mitchell's) concern.
A few years later, The Chronicles of Riddick aimed to expand the universe of writer/director David Twohy's tale, but the sophomore effort overreached and bombed. Now, as a tribute to the fans, Vin and David have produced a film that gets back to the core of what works for the muscle-bound dude who sees better in the dark.
A decade after the events of the first film, Riddick is stranded on yet another hostile planet. His only way off? To send out a distress call to the folks who want him dead: bounty hunters. This time they got Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackoff) and Riddick has his own back up, too.
Overall, the third effort recaptures the spirit of the original with a few reservations.
Take a look at five things to know before ruling the dark:
1. A Furyian and his Space Pooch. The opening act is arguably the best. With little voice over and barely any dialogue, Riddick learns the do's and don'ts of this new hostile world. A big don't is the scorpion-tailed underwater creatures. A big do: raising an intergalactic canine, which grows into a fierce (and adorable!) companion.
2. Back to Basics. After the epicness of the first sequel, Twohy wisely keeps it simple this time: Riddick on a planet with two teams out to put his head in a box (literally, they have a box). But we see just how smart Riddick is. A moment with an explosive padlock is a highlight. As for Riddick's Lord Marshall ruler status at the end of the last film? It's dealt with in a flashback with a cameo from Trek's Bones (Karl Urban) as Vaako, a Necromonger. Another thing we don't miss from the first sequel, words like Necromonger.
Of the team out to nab the goggle-wearing dude, our favorite by a long shot…
3. Starbuck: Sarah Connor 2.0 As "Dahl," (say aloud, you'll get it) Sackoff is in the best shape of her life. She's on a mission to capture Riddick, channeling Linda Hamilton's iconic heroine from Terminator 2. (The awesome pull-ups version, not the whimpering one from Terminator.) Though Sackoff is good in the role, a scene that leads to sexual assault feels completely unnecessary. Her sniper skills, however, hit the mark.
The rest of the cast varies from too over-the-top, like the scheming Santana played by Jordi Molla, to the more reserved, such as…
4. The Pitch Black Connection. William J. Johns (Cole Hauser) captured Riddick in Pitch Black. Now "Boss" Johns (Matt Nable) is out to find out what happened to his son. Hint: He's not in the sequels, Dad. There are a few other nods to the original too, like Riddick relaxing on a sun deck to grab some rays.
5. Next Up: Riddick the Musical? Yes, Please. Early in the audition process the filmmakers met with R&B singer Keri Hilson for the part of Dahl, which eventually went to Sackoff. Impressed with her charisma, a small part was written for her, as another prisoner on the doomed planet. She doesn't get to sing though.
Are you excited to see the last Furyian, Richard B. Riddick? Or did his last outing sour you? Sound off in the comments!