DURATION: 119 minutes
Opens on 12th September
The story: The third in the saga of super warrior and wanted criminal Riddick (Vin Diesel) sees him as the Lord Marshall of the Necromongers, based on the events of the second film The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004). A betrayal finds him abandoned on a desert planet, injured and beset by its vicious wildlife. Using his powers as a member of the Furya race, he heals, but then finds himself the target of bounty hunters, there to take him dead or alive.
Like several writer-directors before him, and many more after, David Twohy was cursed with success when his bare-bones but bloody sci-fi horror work Pitch Black, starring the largely unknown Vin Diesel, landed in 2000.
The major studios came calling and shoved stupid amounts of money at him for a sequel. The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004) resulted, much less violent than its predecessor to win a kid-friendly rating, but also dense with characters who spout religio-mystical space-opera gobbledygook.
It tanked at the box office, naturally, putting the brakes on Twohy's career. Meanwhile, Diesel's roared along, praise be to the muscle cars of the Fast & Furious franchise.
Diesel and Twohy have learnt their lessons, and like the title, the third film is stripped down to the M18-rated essentials that get the work done.
While not quite the return to the form of Pitch Black, this work has at least dispensed with dialogue-heavy Necromonger scripture readings of the second film.
Twohy and Diesel (who has producer credit) instead have stuffed in at least three kinds of movie.
The first third is a survival adventure story that reinforces the notion of Riddick as an iron-willed, unkillable superhuman. The minutes that tick by as he heals and feeds himself while fending off predators like an extra-terrestrial Bear Grylls are entertaining enough.