However, while producing as well as starring, Diesel hasn’t managed to rustle up much of the initial appeal.
Pitch Black was a low budget future-set action flick with Diesel as the titular anti-hero and it raked in over US$50m at the box office in the summer of 2000. After Furious and xXx made Diesel the emerging action star, he opted to run with this sci-fi series, unloading the profoundly boring, big-budgeted and over-wrought The Chronicles Of Riddick in 2004. This sees him back to his smaller-scale roots, as half-man, half-alien Riddick is trapped on a planet with critters and bounty hunters after him. Only it never catches fire and stretches its run time as far as it will go.
The action is stalk and slash without the tension or suspense, and too much relies on the clearly CG-rendered beasts, their built-in-a-computer lack of weight meaning they don’t ever carry enough threat. The butch bounty hunter banter and posturing is underdeveloped, with too many stereotypes around, and the gratuitous nudity and lashings of gore give it a decidedly B-movie feel.
Diesel is good enough value in the role that brought him to attention, but he spends too long grunting about the place, and doesn’t get enough winning one-liners to make up for it all. It’s one for the die-hard Riddick fans out there, although there are unlikely to be too many of those left.
Good for: Shlocky B-movie entertainment.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban | 15 | 118mins | Out Sep 4