M. SCOTT MORRIS: ‘Riddick’ entertains with a wink and a nod

M. SCOTT MORRIS

M. SCOTT MORRIS

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

I’m a science fiction fan from way back, so I appreciated the space ships and alien landscape in “Riddick.”

At the beginning of the movie, Riddick (Vin Diesel) is left to die on a hostile planet. He’s broken and beaten, but nowhere near ready to give up.

He faces off against skinny hyena things and giant aquatic scorpions, as he adapts to his new reality.

Once he’s healed and learned the lay of the land, he finds a bounty hunter station. That’s convenient since Riddick is wanted for murder, and the bounty is double if he’s brought in dead.

Santana (Jorid Mollá) leads one team of well-armed ruffians, and Johns (Matt Nable) leads another. The teams’ squabbles are predictable but funny, especially once Riddick starts killing guys off one by one.

“Riddick” is a sequel to “Pitch Black” and “Chronicles of Riddick.” I didn’t see either of those, but I don’t think they’re necessary.

I had no way of knowing if Riddick is the murderer the bounty hunters say he is.

There was a time during the movie when I thought, Wouldn’t it be weird if the bounty hunters were right and Riddick is as bad as they say? But I’ve been trained by years of watching movies to pull for the point-of-view character.

Take away the space ships, the alien planet and the energy beams, and “Riddick” probably would’ve been close to the same movie if it’d been set in an earthly wilderness or desert.

But I liked the science fiction touches enough to forgive how superhuman Riddick turns out to be, and spent most of the movie wondering what he was going to do next.

I’m not a big Diesel fan, but those who enjoy his “Fast and Furious” work will get a kick out of one of Riddick’s lines. And that line makes it abundantly clear this movie should be taken with a wink and a nod.

I give “Riddick” a B minus.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.