Riddick (15) 119 mins *
The Fast & Furious series has become such a money-spinner that it’s resurrecting its stars’ defunct franchises. Riddick, you’ll half-recall, was the growling ex-con played by Vin Diesel in 2000’s nicely pulpy Pitch Black – and who was then confined to the bargain bin in the sky after partnering Judi Dench (!) as the hero of 2004’s needless Chronicles of Riddick. “I committed the worst crime of all: I got civilised,” thunders Big Vin at the beginning of this ideas-free reboot, which restores Riddick’s anti-hero status, dumping him into a sulphur-hued wilderness to battle bickering, blundering bounty hunters.
As a character, Riddick remains no more than a rumble in Diesel’s throat, and after the I Am Legend-ish prologue, in which he wrestles naff CG beasties, he’s off-screen for so long you could call the Trades Description people to complain someone’s made a Riddick movie without any Riddick in it. When he reappears, it’s only to turn girl’s-girl Katee Sackhoff straight during a finale that shruggingly replays Pitch Black’s grunts-versus-bugs scenario. After the promising Dredd’s box-office bellyflop, we could have done with a properly bad-ass action franchise – but this dull, ugly and nonsensical game of Riddick hide-and-seek sure ain’t launching it.
Riddick is in cinemas nationwide.