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'Riddick' oddly good

Published on -9/10/2013, 10:08 AM

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2"Riddick" is the newest member of the "Return to Basics" family in the company of similarly simply-titled pseudo-remakes such as "Rambo," "Fast & Furious," "Rocky Balboa" and "Predators."

This installment is easily the series' crown jewel. However, it's important to remember not all jewels are of equal value.

The film does the sci-fi bit well, it does the action bit well and, surprisingly, does the pacing bit well. This is a great example of an unorthodox -- and slightly risky -- decision of how to pace an action film that works well in this specific context because of this specific character.

While these films historically have been less-than-stellar, the character of Riddick always has been interesting to me. He's a prime example of the "less-is-more" approach. In monster movies, it's well established that not seeing the monster is often more frightening than actually seeing the monster.

In multiple contexts, the character of Riddick is a monster.

Having characters believe Riddick is capable of anything is far more elegant, and interesting, than Riddick actually being capable of anything.

I give "Riddick" credit for setting up and then executing some decent action. That said, "Riddick" also got a handful of eye rolls.

Lastly, I don't know if it was intentional or lucky, but the bridge between 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick" and "Riddick" is oddly satisfying. While this third installment returns to its roots, it felt like this is where the story was going all along.

While my first instinct is to shout "fluke," I'm going to give writer/director David Twohy a free pass on this one.

HHHHII

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation. james.gerstner@gmail.com

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