In the early 2000s, Vin Diesel was one of the few actors being trained to become a franchise superstar. Within three years, he was the main character in three movies that were meant to be the start of a new series.
He played the mysterious and violent Richard B. Riddick in the sci-fi/horror movie Pitch Black, the muscled everyman Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious, and Xander Cage, a James Bond-like character with a nü-metal twist, in XXX.
All three movies were successful in different ways. XXX made a lot of money, but the second one didn't do as well, and Fast and the Furious became one of the most successful movie series of all time.
On the other hand, the success of Pitch Black led to two sequels of different quality and genre, and a fourth Riddick movie is now in the works. But Diesel's Riddick franchise is by far the most interesting.
In fact, its way of telling a story is still different from most franchise stories in a refreshing way, even if the whole thing is, at best, very confusing.
Now that all three movies are on Netflix, it's a great time to look back on a sci-fi trilogy that has an experimental spirit that no other franchise can match.
One Thing That No Other Sci-fi Franchise Can Match is the Riddick Trilogy!
The series is admirably unpredictable in an industry where predictability is the norm. This is due to the passion of its main character and its director. The late 1990s and early 2000s were a great time for science fiction movies.
The Matrix, Equilibrium, and even big-budget movies like Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Spider-Man all have a lot in common, despite their differences in tone and scope. Most of the time, they are all very sincere in their ideas.
Whether it's the connection between the online and real worlds in The Matrix, the goofy devotion to gun kata in Equilibrium, or the aw-shucks comic book emotions in Spider-Man, all of these movies have their hearts on their sleeves.
This is also true of Pitch Black, even though it seems very simple now. Even though it only gives a few details about the new world it creates, it makes it clear that the main character, Riddick, is a cool guy who will go from being a feared criminal to a hero over the course of the movie.
It reminds me of movies like John Carpenter's “Escape from New York,” which had simple, atmospheric plots and cool antiheroes. Its success or failure depends on how invested a viewer is in the idea that Riddick fucking owns.
And Riddick owns this movie more than any other in the series. Riddick is the right amount of badass. He is often in the shadows and talks in a gruff, direct way. Thankfully, he doesn't resort to forced one-liners.
The plot is one of the most reliable in Hollywood: a bad guy is caught and given a chance to get out of jail if he works with some good guys, making him more like them.
Getting away from a crashed ship and staying alive on a planet full of scary creatures gives Diesel and director David Twohy a lot of chances to show off Diesel's potential as an action star. When you combine this with the movie's horror leanings, you get a great movie that you can enjoy even if you haven't seen any of the sequels.
Since the fourth Riddick movie is already in the planning stages, it's hard to say where Diesel's character will go next. Riddick 4: Furya, which is the working title for the movie, suggests that the scope and mythology may be growing again as they did in The Chronicles.
Chronicles showed that Riddick came from a warrior race called the Furyans. At the beginning of Riddick, Riddick was headed to Furya before his crewmates made the stupid decision to try to kill him.
Given the history of the series, though, this movie could go in a lot of different directions. Which is part of what makes the Riddick movies so much fun.
They don't have the typical plot for a science fiction series, let alone the plot of the other series that made Vin Diesel famous in the world of action movies.
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