Under The Radar: Richard B. Riddick
Updated: Mar 25
For most moviegoers, Vin Diesel will always be Dominic Toretto from The Fast and the Furious while for others he will be, Xander Cage from XXX. In my opinion however Vin Diesel was born to play Richard B. Riddick. In all honesty, I thought the Riddick character would be more popular than The Fast and the Furious and XXX ones combined
I was first introduced to Richard B. Riddick through the feature film debut of the franchise, Pitch Black.
I remember hearing all this hype about this modestly budgeted Sci- fi/ horror film. Most of the attention was geared toward this new and upcoming star named Vin Diesel . Being a Sci-fi fan, I had to see what all the fuss was about, so I rented Pitch Black at a time when you had to leave the comfort of your house to do so.
Pitch Black wasn't ground breaking in any way but it sure was a lot of fun to watch. There was no denying that Vin Diesel stole the show and was clearly the breakout star.
The first thing that struck me, was how scary Riddick's voice was. The thought of hearing that voice creep up on you in the dark; it gave me goosebumps.
Another thing that struck me while watching Pitch Black was Riddick’s character. This anti- hero protagonist had his own personal code: survive at any cost. Others didn't really factor in, in his quest for survival. It's Riddick’s personal code that really makes for a fascinating watch.
There are a few reasons as to why the Riddick franchise hasn't resonated with the masses. Although, one isn't for a lack of trying. Vin Diesel’s dedication in keeping Riddick alive is inspirational. He took a pay cut in his return to the Fast and Furious in order to get the rights to the character. He even mortgaged his own home in order to get the third feature film completed. If that isn't dedication I'm not sure what is. Maybe that's why I really enjoy Riddick, how many actors have dedicated their all to a fictional character?
The biggest obstacle in getting Riddick to the masses was the second feature film, The Chronicles of Riddick. I thought the film was a lot of fun and it was great to see some interesting worlds being built. The major problem though was that the Chronicles budget was double that of the global box office revenue of Pitch Black. So, when Chronicles stalled at the box, everyone labelled it a bomb. Honestly, if the budget was a little more stream lined, the film would have been a box office success thus getting approval from the masses.
It took almost a decade, but thanks to Vin Diesel’s unwavering dedication, Riddick returned to the multiplexes. The film was a return to its roots, delivering a low budget, gritty, sci-fi horror film. I really thought that with Vin Diesel’s resurgence in popularity because of the Fast and the Furious films, that he would finally deliver the quintessential Riddick film to engage the masses. Unfortunately the third feature film came across as a retelling of Pitch Black. After such a long gap between sequels most fans wanted something more.
Still, this franchise has a lot to offer. We have a fascinating protagonist who is as lethal with the one liners as he is with a knife. Riddick proves that you don’t need a 100 million budget to provide great entertainment.
In my opinion, Riddick should be a household name, standing toe to toe with the likes of Snake Plissken and Han Solo. But it looks like Riddick will continue to be a cult favourite. After all these years, I' m ok with it. It’s like having my own private anti-hero.
So, if you're looking for a gritty alternative to Star Wars and Star Trek look no further than Riddick.