You know it feels really silly? The fact that I’m probably going to spend more time talking about this particular feature that I did watching it.
Riddick blindsided is a 6-minute short feature that premiered online, looks like it was on Fandango site but it may have hit a couple other places as well. It’s basically a 6 minute long deleted scene from the final Riddick movie… And that makes it kind of weird.
It’s animated, but not the anime style that we saw on Dark Fury. These are more like animated storyboards, or a motion comic book with some glitzy special effects throwing in. It’s not bad, an interesting atmosphere and the deleted scene itself actually ads just a touch of death to the rest of the third film, but it’s not quite enough to stand on its own.
We see Riddick waxing poetic about his position as Lord Marshall and witness and assassination attempt… It’s basically exactly what he was talking about in the film when he describes himself as losing his edge. This is the moment that brought him to that.
If this isn’t a special feature on the DVD then it really needs to be… Because it’s a great deleted scene, and deserves better than to just vanish into the darkness of lost web content.
Into Pitch Black is a tie-in to the original film, an hour long special that was originally broadcast on the Syfy channel. They’ve done this kind of thing before, most notably with the Blair Witch Project, though this seems to have aged a little better. It helps a great deal that the world Riddick exists in is so vaguely defined, it allows them greater leeway in creating a sidequel.
Using a smattering of scenes from Pitch Black, we are given an overview of the film through the eyes of a contractor hiring a mercenary to find Riddick. Interspersed through the narrative are interviews with Riddick’s psychologist in prison as well as the prisoner who altered Riddick’s eyes. There’s a lot of digital overlay, computer screens and graphics to give it more of a documentary look when we’re not in the thick of the narrative. All of that actually gives it a great deal more atmosphere, and it needs it!
The narrative component of this film looks cheap. I’m sure that’s because it was cheap, filmed on standing sets that were decorated with whatever clutter and junk was laying around. Leather coats, sunglasses and tank tops make up for the costumes, and the performances have all the skill and charm of a crime recreation on America’s Most Wanted. It’s slow and it drags, and at times it seems like it doesn’t know if it wants to be an adventure or a documentary. A straight documentary may have worked better, with screen static and quick cuts to hide the obviously low production values.
I recall this being either a special feature on a DVD or sold as a cheap oh VHS at Best Buy back in the day. These days you can find the entire thing up on YouTube and it’s really only worth watching as a curiosity.
For the most part, when it comes to franchise focus I really have tried to stick with films that are a little outside the mainstream. You know, weird movies that have inexplicable franchises. Not so with Riddick. Despite being a failed franchise, most people instantly recognize Vin Diesel as Riddick and have seen at least one of the films on cable. So why go this direction? Something about these films enchants me – perhaps it’s the set design, perhaps it’s the character itself. In a lot of ways these movies remind me of old, ugly and gritty sci-fi, and that’s something that we don’t get enough of that in the 21st-century.
Nevertheless, the reason this ended up being a series instead of one article either in the “Defense of “category or the “case against” category is because once I started digging little deeper into the series I discovered there was more to it than I had realized – maybe even a little bit more to it then you realize.
Next time, will get started with the excellent first entry, and The movie that made me a fan of then diesel… and let you in on a little secret, it’s not the fast and the furious!