Where there was fear that there was no way to bring appeal back to Riddick, this certainly did just that. We lost a lot of what made him who he was in Chronicles of Riddick, but this thrid installment went back to his roots and gave us that badass we were most familiar with. He’s left for dead on a sun-scorched planet after looking for a way out of the life he currently had. On this planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators which prove to be more than a match.
Off the bat, what you appreciate is that the story does not waste time on what isn’t necessary. We are aware of the situation that Riddick finds himself in now, and we aren’t derailed by too much time put into exploring the past. This story basically starts when he activates an emergency beacon which alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, and the other captained by a man from his past. Neither are to be trusted on entrance and this really sets that atmosphere in which you await the inevitable conflict to start. The director found the key to a fun story which is by boxing these mercenaries in and putting the pressure of them. Playing on fear, their fears of Riddick which is almost like facing the Boogeyman. The intensity comes from the build up in suspense as no one knew what was really in store for them as they landed on that planet. Everyone has their motives, and it’s that which made the stakes so high.
In terms of providing sci-fi action this film delivered. It was well balanced compared to the previous film and a lot of it was more down to Earth with the focus on the mercenaries reactions on this world. Where majority of the film they feared and worried about what Riddick could do to them, the real threat was always there and approaching. Suspense which kept everyone on their toes when that sci-fi element really surfaced.
The only problem I found that kept this from being that great of a film was the characterization throughout. I understand that many are expected to die from the beginning, yet not many you could say you cared for besides Riddick. Not many actually stood out in a way that you felt much from their deaths. Some of them were memorable, though there could have been a little more spotlight on some of the others or personality amongst them to make them stand out. Vin Diesel did what he did best as Riddick, that much you can say about the casting. He was the one to root for even though you knew he would stand above them all at the very end. In those chains Riddick is at his best, being able to push everyone to their limits with only his words.
Overall this is an improvement over The Chronicles of Riddick. You can’t deny that it gave you the feel of Riddick that you got from the first movie. Not better than the first, but undeniably better than the second film. That much is all fans could ask for from this film and if you wanted more then your expectations were far too high. Nothing cheesy, and nothing over the top which is what you would have normally feared this film would suffer from.