Riddick (2013)

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Released 15-Jan-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Trailer-x 2 for other films
Featurette-Making Of-Vin’s Riddick
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Meet the Mercs
Short Film-Animated short Riddick: Blindsided
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 113:47
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Twohy
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Vin Diesel
Jordi Molla
Matt Nable
Katee Sackhoff
Dave Bautista
Case ?
RPI ? Music Graeme Revell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Riddick (Vin Diesel) is betrayed by the Necromongers and left for dead on a desert planet. He fights for survival against the diverse and deadly winged, legged and slithering creatures that inhabit the planet until he regains his strength, along the way taming a jackal type pup. When he has recovered Riddick finds an abandoned mercenary base in the desert and activates an emergency beacon, hoping to lure a ship to the planet in which he can make his escape. As it happens, the beacon brings two ships of bounty hunters to the planet, one group led by Santana (Jordi Molla) which includes the hulking Diaz (Dave Bautista), the other led by Boss Johns (Matt Nable) and the female sniper Dahl (Katee Sackhoff). Santana just wants Riddick’s head for the bounty, but Johns has unfinished personal business with Riddick. But as the mercenaries try to catch Riddick, and he in turn whittles down the odds, a storm breaks over the planet which unleashes a horde of deadly creatures. Will the mercenaries and Riddick put aside their agendas and work together long enough to survive?

     Riddick returns to the character created by actor Vin Diesel and writer / director David Twohy in the excellent Pitch Black in 2000 and the uninspiring The Chronicles of Riddick in 2004. That second film expanded the Riddick story and universe and was not very successful, whereas this third film reverts to a basic, pared down story and is all the better for it.

     Riddick is a film divided into thirds. In the first third Riddick struggles to recover his strength and fitness and to survive against a range of deadly creatures bent on killing him; this section is basically without dialogue and puts Diesel through a range of violent confrontations that are brutal and bloody, but leavened with touches of humour as he tames the pup. This section is excellent, exciting filmmaking. The action slows a bit when the mercenaries arrive, and Molla as Santana is poor, but the others are better and this section does deliver some nice tense moments as Riddick stalks his enemies.

     When the storm breaks and the rain unleashes a horde of reptilian creatures, the film basically repeats the last section of Pitch Black, but nowhere near as good. While this section is loud and explosive, it is a case where in CGI terms more is not better. Before this the CGI creatures had been interesting and well rendered, the flying creatures and the serpents in the pool being suitably scary, but in this last section and especially the sequence where Riddick and a couple of others ride flying bikes through the rain and over the creatures, the CGI was quite poor.

     Riddick is nothing new and in fact it recycles parts of Pitch Black, but it is a return to a simple plot and exciting, brutal action sequences. Vin Diesel’s Riddick remains an interesting character; he is athletic and dangerous but the humour is there and the scenes with the pup are quite funny. The action is loud, energetic and bloody, the CGI creatures until the deluge are well done and the music by Graeme Revell is suitably stirring. The colours of the desert planet have been manipulated so that there is no green or blue. Instead everything is brown, red and yellow; the sky is yellow and all the vegetation, which is mostly low shrubs, is red so the film looks spectacular.

     Riddick is a return to form by Twohy and Vin Diesel after The Chronicles of Riddick. It may not be anything different but it is colourful and exciting and the running time passes quickly.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Riddick is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the original ratio being 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a nice sharp print with good detail. As noted, the colours of the desert planet have been manipulated so that everything is brown, red and yellow. Skin tones look quite brown, contrast and brightness is consistent. Blacks are rock solid, and shadow detail very good. For a film with many scenes in darkness, it is impressive that I saw no evidence of digital noise reduction.

     Other than slight ghosting, artefacts and marks are absent.

     The layer change at 41:03 resulted in a slight pause but occurred at a scene change.

    English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in a largish white font.

     A spectacularly colourful print, and one without issues.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps or English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224Kbps. Also available is an English audio descriptive track for the vision impaired delivered by a male voice.

     Dialogue was mostly clear although some lines from Jordi Molla and Katee Sackhoff were harder to hear. In the first two thirds of the film there was a nice enveloping audio with music, voices and ambient sounds in the rears. However, when the storm hit and the creatures came out to play the entire sound stage was full of creature growls, the wind and rain, gunshots and the creak and groan of building sections under stress as well as a number of panning and directional effects. The sub-woofer did what was required, supporting the weather effects, engines, gunshots and creature noises without overdoing it and unbalancing the sound stage.

     The score by Graeme Revell is suitably stirring and fitted the tone of the film well.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     A loud, aggressive and enveloping audio track – just what was required.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

    On start-up trailers for The Mob (2:20) and Lovelace (2:00) play. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Vin’s Riddick (8:28)

     This featurette about the character developed by Vin Diesel consists of behind the scenes footage during the making of Riddick plus film footage and interviews. Those interviewed include the writer / director David Twohy, Diesel, two executive producers and five other cast members, all in 8 minutes. Superficial, but some interesting on set footage.

Meet the Mercs (10:18)

     Very much an EPK with the various actors who played mercenaries talking about their characters and each other. Additional comments by David Twohy, Vin Diesel and costume designer Simonetta Mariano. Nothing essential.

Riddick: Blindsided (5:15)

     Animated short using some dialogue from the film. An assassination attempt against Riddick when he was Lord of the Necromongers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Reviews of the Region A US Blu-ray indicate that as well as the extras we have on this DVD it includes three additional short featurettes, one about Twohy and the others on the tech and the desert planet. However, the major difference is that the US Blu-ray includes the 8 minute longer director’s cut of Riddick as well as the theatrical version (which is what we have on the DVD). For the differences see here. The Region B Australian Blu-ray release contains all the extras on the US Blu-ray, but has only the longer director’s cut and not the theatrical cut.

     I can find no details of the extras on the Region 1 US DVD. It contains only the theatrical cut of the film so it is likely to be the same as our Region 4 DVD. For DVD, buy local.

Summary

     Vin Diesel and David Twohy return to the world of Riddick and mostly get it right. The film Riddick may recycle parts of Pitch Black but Diesel is great, the action is loud, energetic and bloody, the CGI creatures mostly well done and the music stirring. The film will be welcomed by fans but those interested in sci-fi action will enjoy it as well.

     The video and audio are very good. Some extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, January 31, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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