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FILM FANS: 'Riddick' only good for true fans

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: “Riddick.” Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

1/2 out of 4 stars

Remember in the ’70s and ’80s when sci-fi action movies had good story telling, interesting characters and a plot that you could both understand and care about? Movies like “The Terminator” or “Mad Max” come to mind. These are films that aren’t going to have a profound impact on society, and yet many have enjoyed them.

Now in theaters is “Riddick,” written and directed by David Twohy. This is apparently the third film in a series and I must admit I missed the others. I went into the theater with an open mind, hoping that Vin Diesel’s performance would harken back to Arnie’s “Terminator” or Mel’s “Max,” but I left very disappointed. The film has a sketchy plot and few characters with whom to sympathize or relate. In fact, I found myself attached mostly to Riddick’s bizarre dog/wolf-like creature, whose performance had more layers than that of leading man Diesel.

There is plenty of action and some decent special effects, but the film is almost entirely in a sandy orange hue that weighs heavy on the eyes after awhile. With its gratuitous nudity, graphic violence, and rough language, “Riddick” easily earns its “R” rating. Give this one a pass and rent one of those ’70s/’80s classics instead.

— Paul Tate, Sugar Hill

1 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

“Riddick.” I thought it was a new action movie until my wife told me it was the third sequel of a series. Darn it, now I have to figure out what was the story behind the movie. So we went to see it last night and wasn’t a surprise the movie theater was empty. A few patrons joined us including one with the colicky baby.

The scene was setup for a really really bad movie similar to the “John Carter” film I reviewed last year. There was more action and a semblance of a plot in that movie than “Riddick.” So I took it like a champ and planned to let it go and enjoy this movie. It didn’t matter that it was mostly CGI and that the creatures were not that super scary as “Alien.”

The movie started a little slow until Vin Diesel trained his dog and activated the beacon. He got two responses and then the story started to get bloody. But that was the point of the movie. Stupid video game violence with gory scenes that must be taken with a great wallop of salt. And then the rain started hatching the babies while we had a local screaming baby being baffled by his parents. The movie ending was well done. Was it a horrible movie? I’ve seen worse. Was it my type of movie? Not really. But I concentrated in the scenery and the gadgets and was amused. For “Riddick” fans only.

— Alfred Richner, Duluth

2 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

Vin Diesel returns in “Riddick,” the aptly titled latest installment in the “Pitch Black” series. While I’ve never seen the other two, I didn’t feel completely lost in this testosterone fueled sci-fi revenge tale.

It opens on a desolate planet where he’s the only human form of life. Through flashbacks we learn that he was tricked into thinking he was going to his home planet of Furya, only to be left for dead in the wasteland he’s barely surviving in. He’s attacked by various creatures that include something that’s a cross between a dingo and a dog, one of which ends up becoming his friend/pet/protector. Bad turns to worse as the rain sets in, bringing out the ugly scorpion-like creatures. The only escape seems to be to make himself visible to the bounty hunters he’s trying to avoid so he can steal a ship. Not just one, but two teams show up, one to collect the bounty, the other to collect information from him.

The rest of the film wraps up in fairly predictable and somewhat gory fashion but it never turns mundane. As far as popcorn flicks go, it’s not a bad way to spend two hours.

— Ron Adams, Athens