Fans of Vin Diesel's gravelly voiced antihero persona are in for more of the same with 2013's Riddick, the third installment in the character's franchise. While the last edition in the series, 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick, was something of a disappointment, this film starts off with a bang and places Riddick back into the kind of situation that made him so compelling in the first movie, 2000's Pitch Black.
The story opens as the protagonist is dropped onto an inhospitable alien planet, where he has to rely on his animal instincts and school-of-hard-knocks survival skills to stay alive amid the threats of the aggressive natural environment. That landscape turns even more deadly when Riddick sets off a distress beacon and the only help he gets comes in the form of a legion of bounty hunters who want to bring him in -- dead or alive.
The art direction in Riddick is truly fantastic, bringing to mind classic sci-fi paperback covers from the '70s and '80s. And though the movie slowly but steadily becomes less compelling with each major plot development, most of the film is built around letting Riddick do what he does best -- which is to say, act like a badass and smirk. Writer/director David Twohy smartly remembers that when it comes to this franchise, story isn't as important as premise: Put this character in threatening circumstances, and the audience will be happy just to watch him react.