Look, I like Vin Diesel. I also like the character of Riddick. PITCH BLACK was charming…a sneaker of a film. I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK was absolutely over-reaching, but still very watchable. And, 2/3 of RIDDICK was an absolute joy. But, as is sadly increasing in movies these days, this film simply falls apart under the weight of unnecessary over-plotting. I can understand giving Riddick a challenge. 2 merc teams certainly SOUNDS like a good idea. But it became so convoluted as to who was acting how and why, that by the end of this thing, I felt like I just made it through an endurance test more than a film that was meant to entertain me. A lot of this falls on the writing. The visuals were fine, though the creatures lacked some imagination. I’d like to know who came up with “dingo dongo.” Really. That’s what a character calls the hyena looking zebra dog. And the main monsters had scorpion tails that they never seemed to use, opting for the Komodo dragon route of killing. And, the acting was as good as it could be, even with Bokeem Woodbine in a thankless role. I was really on board with the first 45 minutes of this thing. Riddick, left for-or more likely, presumed-dead on a planet only referred to as “not Furya,” which was only kind of funny. The wit is peppered throughout. And while I believe, as most fans of this series do by now, that Riddick is one tough S.O.B., his survival in this film is left up to coincidence more than once. And for a character who has no faith in a higher power, that’s a little disconcerting. If I were Riddick, I’d be pondering the meaning of it all, but alas, I am not Riddick. And I’m bummed that I found myself kind of hoping that this would be the end of this series…that they all just died there on whatever planet it was. Which really sucks, because I really do like the first two films. I admire Vin Diesel’s dedication to this character, but here’s hoping if there is further adventures in his universe, they find someone who will be able to write some subtext for the Riddick’s motivations. Is he the criminal we’re told he is? Or is he really just another anti-hero with a “code” trying to make his way in this ugly universe apparently chock full of scary creatures that prefer nighttime to daylight? This film doesn’t bother to ask these questions about Riddick. Instead, he kind of takes a backseat in his own movie for the middle act while we learn about the mercs, specifically what motivates the more professional team’s leader. I get after CoR, they felt the need to reign(HA) it in a little, but there’s no need to bring this movie into a direct connection with Pitch Black the way it does. Side note: how has Ron Perlman never been in a Riddick movie? I think he’d make one hell of a merc, if that’s the story they continually insist on telling. Anyway…what Riddick suffers from most is that it’s simply ok. These kind of stories…that involve other worlds and universes from our own deserve to be better drawn out than what got. Setting this movie on another abandoned planet, ravaged by monsters that don’t like the sunlight is just too convenient. It just feels too much like it’s much better progenitor. And that’s a shame. Keep moving forward. Hopefully, they get that next time.