Vin Diesel has made three movies as Riddick, all with various amounts of success. With a fourth one on the way, you need to know which one is the best. Which Riddick movie is worth your time? Here’s the answer.
First and foremost you need to know that Riddick is a Furyan, humans who have developed physical abilities beyond normal humans. He has strength that belies normal men, skills that immediately call him a predator, he can move quietly for such a big man, but he can move quick too. His eyes probably define him the most as they give him the ability to see at night. They can also be a hindrance in the daytime, which is why he wears welding goggles.
Vin Diesel has made three movies as Riddick, all with various amounts of success. We decided to take a look at each Riddick movie, break them down a little bit and put them in GFR order, ranking them from best to worst.
PITCH BLACK (2000)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 6.55/10
The first in the series and the best is Pitch Black. It’s the movie that introduced fans to Riddick as a badass who has no qualms in killing. In addition to Vin Diesel as Riddick, it stars Farscape and Stargate’s Claudia Black, Cole Hauser, Keith David, and the notable Radha Mitchell.
The story starts on the commercial cargo spaceship Hunter Gratzner, a vessel is transporting passengers, and also a prisoner named Riddick. When the ship is hit by a comet storm, all hell breaks loose. Members of the crew are pulled from their cryostasis and they begin the frantic task of trying to save the passengers and themselves. As the ship begins to fall apart under the relentless comet storm, crew member Fry realizes the only way to save herself is by dumping the passengers to reduce the ships weight, but another crew member stops her. The ship crash lands on a desolate and hostile planet. Of the survivors, Riddick is one. But he is in shackles and carefully watch by Johns (Cole Hauser), an officer taking him back for justice.
After assessing their status, the surviving crew and passengers attempt to come up with a plan to get off the planet. As they survey their surroundings, they notice three suns which keep the planet in daylight most of the time. During their search, they come across an abandoned geological settlement. When one of the survivors is killed and his body can’t be found, Johns immediately suspects Riddick, but knowing they can’t get off the planet without Riddick’s help, Johns offers Riddick a deal. If he helps them, Johns will set Riddick free.
At the settlement the group finds a dropship with drained batteries. They now must go back to their wrecked ship to bring the power cells to the dropship. When another survivor is killed, they realize they are not alone on the planet. The geologists who were there previously were killed by creatures who only come out in the dark. The planet is about to have a total eclipse.
So the group must move quickly to get the remaining power cells before the eclipse. They don’t have enough time and battle ensues. Secrets are revealed with the remaining survivors, Riddick and Johns get down to business with some hand-to-hand combat. Our antihero soon has to square off with the creatures.
This movie is fun, macho, and offers everything a lover of science fiction and gore would want. Diesel nails it as Riddick, making you want to see more of his character.
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 6.05/10
Riddick is the third movie in the franchise, and it ranks up there closely with the first. In addition to Vin Diesel back as Richard B., it stars Battlestar Galatica’s Katee Sackhoff and Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. In Riddick we find our antihero five years after the second film (The Chronicles of Riddick). Riddick has become the Lord Marshall of the Necromonger but finds his role more and more difficult to maintain.
After making a deal with Commander Vaako, Riddick leaves to find his planet Furya along with a small group of Necromongers as aid. When Riddick realizes that the planet they land on is not Furya and instead he was taken there to be assassinated, Riddick kills most of them, though one causes a landslide which buries Riddick.
But Riddick survives with a badly broken leg and finding out that the planet he is on is quite hostile. After setting his leg, Riddick begins the task of now surviving the planet and its dangerous creatures. The planet is infested with Mud Demons, who are quite venomous. Riddick injects himself with the venom to build an immunity to it. As he continues across the planet, he finds a dormant mercenary station and realizes the only way he is getting off the planet is if he hits the beacon to bring the mercenaries to him. He does and almost immediately a ship arrives.
Of the mercenaries that arrive to take Riddick, one is called Johns. Riddick knows this name, as it was the name of the officer (who was an actual mercenary) from Pitch Black. In fact, this new Johns is the father of first Johns and he is hell bent on killing Riddick, whom he thought killed his son. Of course, Johns is right. But the mercenaries are now on a time crunch because a big storm is coming and with rain comes the Mud Demons and there are a bunch.
Riddick has shades of Pitch Black in its storyline, which is probably why it was well received. It is a story of survival and as much badassery as one can handle. Diesel once again takes on Riddick as the monotone, non-emotional warrior we loved from the first movie but takes his character further this time. We get to see more of what makes Riddick tick, we get to see more of his physical abilities, and we get a nice conclusion to his backstory with Johns and father.
THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (2004)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 4.8/10
Going from Pitch Black to The Chronicles of Riddick was a major step in the wrong direction. In the 2004 sequel there was an attempt to turn Riddick into a major big budget science fiction franchise, to build a universe like Star Wars. It didn’t work.
The story took Riddick away from what was successful in the first movie and brought in Necromongers and Quasi-Dead and tried to turn Riddick into a leader when he is nothing but a warrior. Riddick does get his fight on against the Necromongers and the Lord Marshall (Karl Urban), but the story just takes Riddick too far away from his Pitch Black roots.
Chronicles of Riddick was the most expensive to make of the three and its box office return was minimal. Critics and fans both didn’t care for the story, which is why series writer and director David Twohy went back to his original Pitch Black formula with the third movie. Still, if you are interested in Riddick’s adventures, give this movie a shot. It may be better than critics make it seem.
A FOURTH RIDDICK MOVIE IS COMING
Vin Diesel has played a number of memorable characters throughout his career. He was Private Caparzo in Saving Private Ryan. Chris Varick in the Boiler Room. He was Shane Wolfe, Xander Cage, Kaulder, Groot, and Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious franchise. While Dom Toretto may be his most well-known role, the character Vin Diesel loves most is Richard B. Riddick.
So it makes sense given the success of the first and, more importantly, third movie, that Riddick 4 is happening. The initial announcement came back in 2016 but Diesel then became busy with his Fast & Furious movies.
Early in 2020, Vin Diesel finally announced the Riddick 4 script was almost ready to go (again written by Twohy) and it will be called Furya. The story will find Riddick finally finding his home planet. Not much else is known, but if Twohy and Diesel were smart, they’d give it the same flavor as the first and third movies and try to steer clear of the second one.
The GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE is calculated using rating averages from Rotten Tomatoes and the Internet Movie Database.