Riddick (film)

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Riddick poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Twohy
Produced by
Written byDavid Twohy
Based onCharacters
by Jim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Music byGraeme Revell
CinematographyDavid Eggby
Edited byTracy Adams
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 4, 2013 (2013-09-04) (United Kingdom)
  • September 6, 2013 (2013-09-06) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$38 million[2]
Box office$98.3 million[2]

Riddick is a 2013 American science fiction thriller film, the third installment in the Riddick film series. Produced by and starring Vin Diesel as the title character, Riddick is written and directed by David Twohy, who previously wrote and directed the first two installments, Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004).

The film was released on September 6, 2013, in the United States. It was shown in both conventional and IMAX Digital theaters.


Five years after Kyra's death, Riddick has become increasingly uneasy in his role as Lord Marshal of the Necromonger fleet. His refusal to swear into the Necromonger faith has caused dissent among his subjects and assassination attempts by his subordinates. After the latest attempt on his life, Riddick strikes a deal with Commander Vaako: the location of Furya and a ship to take him there, in exchange for Vaako succeeding him as the next Lord Marshal, so that he can achieve what he calls transcendence. Led by Vaako's aide, Krone, Riddick and a group of Necromongers arrive on a desolate planet. Realizing that it is not Furya, Riddick kills most of his escort when they attempt to assassinate him. In the chaos, Krone causes a landslide and buries Riddick alive.

Riddick emerges from the rubble with a broken leg, which he sets and splints while fending off native predators: vulture-like flying animals, packs of jackal-like beasts and swarms of venomous, scorpion-like water-dwelling creatures called Mud Demons. Needing time to heal, Riddick hides himself within some abandoned ruins. After he's fully healed, Riddick notices a vast savanna beyond some rocky cliffs, but the only passage through is impeded by several muddy pools infested with Mud Demons. He begins injecting himself with Mud Demon venom in order to build an immunity and constructs improvised melee weapons, as well as raising and training an orphaned jackal-beast pup. He kills the Mud Demons and reaches the savannah. After finding a dormant mercenary station, Riddick notices a series of approaching storms, and concludes they will unleash an unidentified threat. Riddick activates an emergency beacon at the station, which broadcasts his identity to mercenary groups within the area.

Two ships promptly arrive in answer to the beacon, the first a group led by a violent and unstable man named Santana, and also a team of professional mercenaries led by a man named Colonel R. "Boss" Johns. Riddick leaves them a message promising they will all die unless they leave one of their ships and depart the planet on the other. Rubio, Nunez and Falco are killed by Riddick during the first night, forcing a reluctant Santana to cooperate with Johns. Riddick later steals power nodes from each of the teams' ships and approaches Johns and Santana to strike a deal for their return. However, the conversation turns into an ambush: Johns' second-in-command, Dahl, shoots Riddick with several rounds of horse tranquilizer, and Riddick's jackal-beast is shot and killed by Santana.

Back at the Station, Johns interrogates Riddick about the fate of his son, William J. Johns (the mercenary from Pitch Black). When the storms reach the station, Riddick's threat is revealed as thousands of Mud Demons emerge from hibernation underground, awakened by the rainwater, and besiege the station, killing Lockspur and Moss. Johns agrees to release Riddick in order to locate the hidden power cells. Santana attempts to kill Riddick, who is worth twice as much dead as he is alive. Riddick, with only one leg free, beheads Santana with his own machete, something he had promised to do. The group then releases Riddick.

They fight their way to the ship, with Vargas being killed. Johns, Santana's man Diaz, and Riddick leave the ship together on the hover-bikes to retrieve the power nodes. During their journey, Diaz knocks Johns' bike over the side of an embankment, causing him to crash. He is then picked up by Riddick. After they reach the power nodes, Riddick reveals Johns' son's morphine addiction, as well as an attempt by William Johns to utilize a child as bait for the creatures on the world they were stranded on ten years prior. Diaz attempts to kill Riddick and Johns. Riddick fights and kills him, but a dying Diaz damages the only working hover bike, having already sabotaged the other.

Riddick and Boss Johns fend off a seemingly endless horde of Mud Demons while running back to the station. Riddick is severely wounded. Johns takes both nodes and abandons Riddick. Riddick begins to fight a futile battle against the advancing Demons. Just when it seems he is about to be killed, Johns arrives in one of the ships and shoots the creatures while Dahl descends to rescue Riddick. Giving him the other ship, Johns asks Riddick where he intends to go, before deciding he is better off not knowing. Riddick praises Johns for being a better man than his son and departs into deep space.

In the theatrical version, this is the end of the film, while in the extended version, there is an additional scene which takes place aboard the Necromonger capital ship where Riddick kills Krone and finds out that Vaako has crossed the threshold into the Underverse, seen as a large hole in space surrounded by gas. Riddick looks out the window as he is told that Vaako has gone to achieve transcendence, where he is both dead and alive.[3][4]




Rumors of a third film in the Chronicles of Riddick series had circulated since 2006.[5] At first, Twohy assumed that the film would be an independent, low-budget production, rather than being released by Universal Studios as the other films in the series had been.[6] Despite the second film's tepid reception, Diesel and Twohy remained optimistic about a third film, pushing it toward completion. "Everyone knows I love the Riddick character and I'm always working on it", Diesel asserted. "It just takes five years to make another one because David Twohy and I are so precise about it."[7] In 2006, Diesel agreed to make a cameo in Universal's film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in exchange for the ownership to the rights to the Riddick franchise and character.[8] Over the next four years, Diesel periodically posted information on his own Facebook page updating fans on the film's progress. In November 2009, shortly after Twohy had finished the script, he announced that pre-production work was underway.[9]

In April 2010, a review of the Riddick screenplay (it was then subtitled "Dead Man Stalking") appeared on the Coming Attractions website. "Free from the constraints of delivering a PG-13 movie, the dialogue in Dead Man Stalking is more suited to a film like Training Day; the mercs we meet are hard living people, not those washout fakeout space mercs from a film like Alien: Resurrection", wrote reviewer Patrick Sauriol.[10] On February 9, 2010, Diesel confirmed in an update on his Facebook page that one of the locations used in the upcoming sequel would be the White Desert in Farafra, Egypt. He mentioned the terrain features, unique to the area, would lend to the off-planet atmosphere of the film.[11] On March 13, 2011, Diesel released a video on his official Facebook page in which he and Director David Twohy talk about the proposed third film. They reaffirmed that the movie will be rated 'R', like the first one (Pitch Black), a priority for them, and they plan to shoot it lean and quickly.[12]

In September 2011, it was announced that Karl Urban would reprise his role as Vaako from The Chronicles of Riddick.[13] In January 2012, it was announced that Katee Sackhoff and Matt Nable had also joined the cast.[14] Since they did not have enough money to shoot the film in its entirety, Diesel had to mortgage his house, obtain loans and spend most of his personal money on the production of the film, "I had to leverage my house," Diesel said. "If we didn't finish the film, I would be homeless."[15]

Principal photography[edit]

The first image of Vin Diesel on the film's set was released on January 20, 2012.[16] Filming began in January 2012 and concluded at the end of March 2012.[17] The film entered post production in April 2012.[17] The teaser trailer for the film was released on March 22, 2013 via Vin Diesel's official Facebook page.[17]


Critical response[edit]

David Twohy promoting Riddick at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.

Riddick was met with mixed reviews. At the film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 58% approval rating based on 163 reviews, with an average score of 5.3/10. The website's critical consensus states: "It may not win the franchise many new converts, but this back-to-basics outing brings Riddick fans more of the brooding sci-fi action they've come to expect".[18] Metacritic, another review aggregation website, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 49 out of 100 based on 35 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[19]

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a negative review, saying "If you were to make a comedy about an actor who makes cheesy sci-fi action movies, and you needed a hilarious clip of his work that underscored the awfulness of his output, just about any 30-second segment of Riddick would do the trick".[20] Tom Huddleston of Time Out gave the film two out of five stars, saying "It's flavourless: the aliens are unscary and easily despatched, Vin's too silent to be interesting, and the other characters are either dull or offensive".[21] Scott Foundas of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying "An improbable but very enjoyable sequel that recaptures much of the stripped-down intensity of Diesel and director David Twohy's franchise starter Pitch Black."[22] Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a negative review, saying "Faithful to the template if not the spirit of previous installments, this flabby second sequel barely manages to advance Riddick's considerable personal mythology".[23] Keith Staskiewicz of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C+, saying "Twohy succeeds in staging moments both tense and funny, but they're fewer and farther between than one would hope, and the dialogue is served up with a heaping helping of cheese, especially when delivered in Diesel's low-frequency growl".[24]

Jocelyn Noveck of the Associated Press gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "Sloppy is a kind word, actually, for the ridiculously clumsy dialogue in Riddick, the third and latest installment of the sci-fi saga".[25] Keith Uhlich of Time Out New York gave the film three out of five stars, saying "Watching this see-in-the-dark muscleman brooding against gorgeous otherworldly vistas, all while crafting pointy homemade weapons and befriending a scene-stealing CGI canine (no joke), is a sci-fi aficionado's delight".[26] Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star gave the film three out of four stars, saying "The CGI-created landscape is impressively rendered and detailed, there are loads of cool gadgetry and, of course, plenty of action and "ghosting"—i.e. killing."[27] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film three out of four stars, saying "This is not one of those Johnny-come-lately sequels preoccupied with getting a new audience up to speed on where the story was. It's about living in the moment, in the now, and killing in the now".[28] Soren Anderson of The Seattle Times gave the film two out of four stars, saying "As a creature feature, Riddick isn't half bad, though it's far from truly good".[29] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave the film one out of five stars, saying "The story feels like quicksand. Riddick, which couldn't even qualify for proper summer movie placement, moves like Martian molasses and can't present an action scene to save its life. You'll wish you had Uncle Martin's ability to speed people—not to mention awful movies—up".[30]

Barbara VanDenburgh of The Arizona Republic gave the film three out of five stars, saying "Riddick's at his most fun when the pressure's on, and he retreats to plan something special for his new visitors. All the build-up pays off with tense showdowns in the dark, thrilling restraint and ominous suggestion giving way to slasher gore."[31] Rafer Guzman of Newday gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "It's B-grade cinema made with A-level intelligence and imagination—skillfully directed, surprisingly well acted and gratifyingly preposterous".[32] David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two out of four stars, saying "Somehow along the way, in the film's only attempt to humanize him, Riddick acquires a pet. That makes Riddick the first (and one hopes the last) film to borrow heavily from both Alien and Old Yeller".[33] Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film one out of four stars, saying "Move along, there's nothing to see and no one to root for in this murky franchise reboot".[34] Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Riddick can be cheesy and silly, not to mention excessively violent, but it's also fun".[35] Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film a mixed review, saying "The movie jogs along nicely without ever getting a case of the stupids; far from being a bloated "John Carter", it's just a pared-down yarn of survival: "Die Hard" on a planet".[36]

Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "The dark palette and extreme close-ups turn every fight into a muddy blur; the staging, which should feel claustrophobic, is too often set in vast (and unconvincing) landscapes".[37] Rene Rodriguez of The Miami Herald gave the film one out of four stars, saying "A modestly budgeted bone Universal Pictures threw at Diesel so he would keep starring in "Fast and Furious" pictures. Those movies are bank; "Riddick" is rank."[38] Adam Graham of Detroit News gave the film a C–, saying "Twohy is trying to do something with his original character. It's just not clear what that something is anymore. Maybe it's time this franchise fades to black for good".[39] James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Much of the film is over-the-top, but that won't be a surprise to those who saw the previous two installments. Diesel is in fine form, growling his lines and being the most menacing person on screen even when he's in chains".[40] Amy Nicholson of The Village Voice gave the film a negative review, saying "The only reason to root for Riddick is that his name is on the ticket stub. But he's so dull and the hunters so weird that we're literally cheering for the movie to kill off its personality, one throat slash at a time".[41] Nick Schager of Slant Magazine gave the film one out of four stars, saying "For a film about a killing machine who can see at night, it's fittingly ironic that the film itself is, both narratively and visually, a dark, muddled mess".[42]

Box office[edit]

Riddick grossed $42,025,135 in North America, and $56,312,160 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $98,337,295.[2] In North America, the film opened to number one in its first weekend, with $19,030,375.[43] In its second weekend, the film dropped to number three, grossing an additional $6,841,800.[44] In its third weekend, the film dropped to number eight, grossing $3,656,620.[45] In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number 13, grossing $1,607,145.[46]

Home media[edit]

Riddick was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 14, 2014.[47] The film grossed an additional $23,026,441 through domestic Blu-ray and DVD sales.[48]

Differences in plot from theatrical release[edit]

A number of additions to the plot are included in the director's cut of the movie which was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 14, 2014[49] and provided a longer story than the theatrical version.[3][4][50][51] The extended cut of the movie is approximately 8 minutes and 9 seconds longer[4] than the theatrical version and includes extended and additional scenes not seen in the theatrical version.

In the new ending, Krone, who had previously left Riddick for dead on the planet, is seen kneeling before the window and praying to the Underverse. Through the viewport, the entire fleet is seen gravitating toward a massive portal in space, presumably the "threshold" to the Underverse. Riddick arrives and threatens Krone, demanding to know where Vaako is. Krone begins by telling him that Vaako is "no longer among us" and continues on by saying that Vaako did indeed plan to "honor his word" and bring Riddick to Furia, but that Krone had interfered with Vaako's plan and made a choice to abandon Riddick on the other planet. As Krone condemns Riddick for being a "misbeliever" and unfit to lead the Necromongers, Riddick thrusts his blade into the back of Krone's neck, killing him and coldly muttering, "Too many words." Riddick then turns to a female slave and asks her if Vaako is alive or dead, to which she replies "both". Riddick appears somewhat puzzled at this response and approaches the viewport, gazing at the massive portal outside while Vaako's voice echoes the word "transcendence".


On January 29, 2014, Vin Diesel announced on his Facebook page that Universal Pictures wishes to develop a fourth Riddick film prompted by robust DVD sales of the most recent film in the series.[52]

In April 2016, Vin Diesel confirmed that he and writer-director David Twohy were developing a fourth Riddick movie titled Furia and a spin-off TV series titled Merc City. In May 2016, he explained that production on Furia may begin in early 2017. In a video Vin Diesel asked, "Are you guys excited to hear about Furia? Do you want to know where it all began with that dark character Riddick?" David Twohy confirmed that the new film would be rated R. The posts did not elaborate on how, if at all, Merc City would be connected to the upcoming film.[53]


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External links[edit]