The post Labor Day annual movie drought that eventually turns into a lineup of more meaningful and quality film fare in just a few weeks. A period which most often produces many of the year’s Oscar contenders.
And this year’s batch of late September and October offerings look unlikely to disappoint.
However, getting there isn’t much fun for theater owners and circuits who would probably prefer taking their vacations during this down period of business.
Yet this week’s major newcomer RIDDICK could dispel all the hand wringing. While it’s not likely to win any awards, the film delivers a solid sci-fi saga at a time when cinematic expectations are at their lowest.
First a little RIDDICK history.
It all began with PITCH BLACK in 2000 which saw a crash landing on a remote planet with ex-con Vin Diesel facing unknown terror from every direction.
PITCH BLACK was produced on a shoe string budget yet turned into a surprise hit grossing $53 million worldwide. On top of that it became a cult favorite on video.
Now this is where it turns ugly.
Next the filmmakers gambled a $100 million+ budget on the 2004 sequel which bombed with both audiences and critics.
Of course, only about half of those amounts ever flow back to the studio and/or filmmakers.
That didn’t stop producer/star Vin Diesel and director David Twohy from pouring a lot of sweat, tears and money into the third chapter which opens this weekend.
Simply called RIDDICK, the sci-fi blast certainly belies the film’s much smaller budget estimated to be somewhere between $35 and $40 million.
We find our galactic anti-hero left for dead on a desolate planet where during the films first 15 minutes or so Diesel’s Riddick finds himself fighting alien predators even more deadly than the human galaxy hunters he’s about to encounter during the rest of the movie’s two hour running time.
Graphic violence for sure. Even a little girl-on-girl naughty nudity. Some of it will make you wince—the violence that is. But it’s a perfect fit for Riddick to force his enemies to where he wants them and eventually unleash a vicious attack of vengence that does Vin Diesel proud—-wisecracks and all.
So while I’m not the greatest fan of the genre, I will tell you that this Canadian produced sci-fi adventure impressed! Especially the planets deadly beasts from hell which help solidify that film’s R-rating.
This third edition of the franchise won’t be a flop even though you wouldn’t know it by the flick’s dubious release date.
RIDDICK kicks off the fall movie season with a C+ grade.
(Reviewed in IMAX format at AMC Studio 30, Olathe)
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