Riddick (Unrated Director’s Cut) [Blu-Ray]
Director: David Twohy
Cast: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD January 14, 2014
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, the other captained by a man from Riddick’s past.
The third official film in the Riddick franchise, ‘Riddick’ takes things back towards ‘Pitch Black’ as opposed to ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’ with a desolate planet, monsters, bounty hunters and more gory action. While to some this may be a very good thing, I kind of meet in the middle on it myself. I will agree that it is wonderful to see the latest chapter in this saga go back to the more brutal roots of ‘Pitch Black’ but I also felt that in doing so they compromised a lot of what had been brought forth story wise in ‘Chronicles of Riddick’. So many important elements of ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ seemed to be put on hold or almost ignored for the moment and even background elements of the film in ‘Riddick’ were related far more to ‘Pitch Black’ which I thought was mildly disappointing.
While I know many will be quick to disagree with me, ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ is actually my favorite film in the franchise thus far. I felt it really brought this character into a much larger world and in many ways created a unique and clever saga spanning multiple worlds and species in this universe, while containing a much more brutal and adult subject matter than other such films or franchises. It must be noted that I never saw the theatrical cut of that film which apparently was greatly butchered in order to obtain a PG-13 rating for its theatrical release, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Unrated Director’s Cut and stand by it still to this day as my favorite film in the Riddick saga at this point, though that is not to say that I am not also a huge fan of both ‘Pitch Black’ and ‘Riddick’ as well because I most certainly am.
OVERALL: ‘Riddick definitely delivers on the gruesome action and unique monsters which provides a lot of fun from start to end while also bringing the saga back to darker roots. Unfortunately in doing so it compromises a lot of what was building with the last film, but the Unrated Director’s Cut of ‘Riddick’ (which is exclusive to the Blu-Ray release) adds more to the ending that I personally felt made a world of difference and also implied it was leading us back into elements that others such as myself had been greatly anticipating. I would have to say ‘Riddick’ is probably my least favorite of the three, but as I am a huge fan of the saga as a whole, that is in no way a disparaging remark toward the film, and simply a way of saying that while I loved it and will be enjoying it along with the previous two entries many more times to come, I simply didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the other two. If you are a fan of the ‘Riddick’ films (especially those who far preferred ‘Pitch Black’ to ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ which the majority seems to) you will most certainly want to check this one out. If you are a fan of the series who already owns the others, it would not be a bad blind buy either.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Riddick’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. I must say that this is an absolutely flawless transfer. Having previously viewed the film in theaters, I would have to say that the Blu-Ray actually looks far better. All of the dark sequences are perfectly viewable and never lose anything to the surrounding darkness. I could not find any faults whatsoever with this high definition presentation and was honestly a little shocked at just how amazing it actually looked. Everyone should be very impressed with the video presentation on this Blu-Ray release.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and it really adds to the experience of ‘Riddick’ in a significant way. There is always something going on in this movie and all of the surround channels get a pretty sufficient workout on this one, whether it be from full on action sequences or merely the dripping in the backgrounds of a ship, there seems to be very few moments throughout where this lossless 5.1 soundtrack isn’t contributing to the film immensely and all of the fellow audiophiles out there should be pretty thrilled with it.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Riddick’ certainly brings a number of fun and informative additional goodies to the table. Included on both the Blu-Ray and DVD releases are ‘Vin’s Riddick’ which is a featurette with interviews and comments by Vin Diesel and others regarding Vin Diesel’s personal attachment to the character of Riddick and all that he has been willing to sacrifice in order to keep the character going and not make sacrifices in the content along the way. Also included on both releases is ‘Meet The Mercs’ and ‘Riddick: Blindsided’ which is a prequel motion-comic featuring the voice talents of Vin Diesel and Karl Urban and which details the events that led up to where ‘Riddick’ begins (though the majority of this is covered in the actual film as well) and is a fun little treat for sure. In addition to those features, the Blu-Ray release offers a number of additional special features that are exclusive to the Blu-Ray. The most notable Blu-Ray exclusive would certainly have to be the Unrated Director’s Cut of the film which is approximately 8 minutes longer than the theatrical cut and features an extended ending that I very much enjoyed and far preferred over the way the film wrapped in the theatrical cut. Other Blu-Ray exclusive features include ‘The World of Riddick’ ‘Riddickian Tech’ and ‘The Twohy Touch’. There are certainly more than enough extras on here to keep fans of the franchise thoroughly entertained for awhile following their viewing of the film.
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
Own ‘Riddick’ on Blu-Ray & DVD Tuesday, January 14th from Universal Home Entertainment.