Riddick (Blu-ray)

January 13, 2014 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Arriving almost ten years after the last installment, The Chronicles of Riddick, this third chapter is a passion project for both, Vin Diesel and Writer-Director David Twohy. Riddick takes a back-to-basics approach and does away with the needlessly convoluted back-story that plagued the last chapter. I enjoyed Pitch Black for what it was, a slightly above average Science Fiction film that never took itself too seriously (another problem with the last installment). As the film begins, we hear Riddick narrating and getting us up to speed. The first 40 minutes are so mostly revolve around Riddick seeking shelter and fending off various creatures. It might be a bit slow for some, but I think it works here as it really gets us into this world. Riddick is a wanted man and this is where the other characters come into play. What this film gets right is these supporting characters. The entire cast seems like they’re having a great time here and I actually found much of them more interesting than the Riddick character all together. Jordi Molla is great as Santana. He wants nothing more than to put Riddick’s head in a box and earn the ransom money. Another crew led by Boss Johns (Matthew Nable) cuts a deal with Santana that once Riddick’s captured and interrogated then Santana can do with him as he pleases. There’s a connection to a major character from the first film and Johns wants information about him. Katee Sackhoff is great as Dahl. She is one of the few women in the film and her tough-as-nails persona gets good mileage here. There’s a scene where Riddick makes a sexual innuendo towards her and her response is rather amusing. As I mentioned, these supporting characters are having a great time here. Some may find themselves even rooting for Santana to fulfill his goal.

I doubt many people declared a third Riddick film, but I do feel this is a step in the right direction. I still prefer Pitch Black, but this is a worthy follow-up and more than makes up for the previous installment. Some of the stuff about Riddick’s past life and the Necromongers can not only be confusing, but also more than a little silly. Thankfully, we only get snippets of that in this film and the plot is kept relatively simple. The film moves at a reasonable pace, but strangely, the climax comes and goes rather quickly. The film also goes back to the R rating like the first film. That is more than welcome here as a number of the action scenes deliver the blood and gore that fans of the first film want and expect. There’s a very nifty sequence where a character’s face gets slit right down the middle, cool stuff indeed. What I find interesting about the Riddick character is that you’re never quite sure what he’s going to do next. That’s something about the first film, Riddick kept lying and changing his mind about various things and it adds a level of tension. You’re not sure whether to be on board with this character or fear him. Fans of the first film should enjoy this chapter and I look forward to seeing where they take things on future sequels.

Note: This Blu-ray disc includes not only the theatrical cut of the film, but also an unrated director’s cut, which adds some 7 minutes or so of new footage. There’s an alternate ending that hints at a villain for a sequel. I think either cut works as well as the other, but fans should definitely check out the unrated cut. It won’t win over those who don’t already like the film, but for fans, it’s nice to see.

Video: How’s it look?

Universal has delivered a solid transfer here. That should come as no surprise as this is such a recent film. The film opens in a desolate, sun drenched world with a strong yellowish hue throughout. The image is AVC encoded and with a 2.40:1 ratio. Flesh tones were always even and accurate, the print is clean and free of debris. Vin has constant stubble throughout the film and the image is good at facial details on all the actor’s faces. The film’s look gets pretty dark during the climax and is sometimes hard to see what exactly is happening. This isn’t a problem with the transfer, however as this was how the film was shot. I feel pleased with the transfer and fans should be happy with it too.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track starts strong and stays strong throughout. There are many pop up moments in this film and that gives a nice kick from the rear channels. There’s a scene where the rain starts to pour and this provides a nice effect and enhances the experience in a lot of ways. Vin’s gravely voice comes out loud and clear whenever he speaks. This is a very dynamic track and makes good use of all the channels. It presents the film well and involves us with the film. The sub-woofer gets a lot of mileage out of this track as well. There’s a strong boost in several of the action scenes. There’s also some nice roars from the vehicles used in the film too. This is a solid track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Universal has provided us with a combo pack. This includes the Blu-ray disc and a DVD copy as well as a digital copy code. The features should satisfy fans of the film. The case comes packaged in a shiny slipcover.

DVD Special Features

  • Vin’s Riddick (8:50) – This program starts off with Diesel telling us how he feels connected to this role because it was his first major role. We also hear about how his role expanded as Producer on the sequels and helped secure the third film getting made. Clearly, this project is close to Diesel and this feature shows that.
  • Meet the Mercs (10:44) – This takes a look at the two teams of Mercs featured in the film. It’s worth watching, but tells us a lot of what we already know. We do hear about how some of the actors approached their roles.
  • Riddick: Blindsided (5:29) – This is a animated look at a scene from the movie. Truthfully, this didn’t do much for me, but some may enjoy it more than I did.
  • Previews
  • DVD/Digital Copy

Blu-ray Exclusives

  • Unrated Director’s Cut – Presents a longer cut of the film which adds new footage, including an alternate ending.
  • The Twohy Tough (6:22) – We hear from the cast and crew about why a third film was made and the direction they took the film. It provides some good notes so fans will want to check it out. They mention how they wanted to give this film an added edge as well.
  • Riddickian Tech (10:14) – Gives us a detailed look at the various effects in the film. If you’re interested in how a lot of these are done then this should be of interest.
  • The World of Riddick (10:50) – This gives a nice look at how the look of the film was created and the use of CGI. It’s a bit technical, but it’s fun to see the sets beings created.

Disc Scores