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Vin Diesel’s anti-hero has carved out a unique niche in science fiction.
After 15 years this film remains a fan favorite, and enjoys a status of being a cult classic, and most of the credit for the film enjoying that status is due to the introduction of a unique and interesting character in the form of Riddick (Vin Diesel), a memorable anti-hero of distinction.
A soft spoken man of few words who doesn’t talk much, but when he does, the menace is unmistakable and almost tangible. This character is reminiscent of other fun, fictional bad boys like Snake Plissken, Lobo, and gothic crime fighting hero Batman. That’s what Riddick is, he’s a sort of combination of Bats, without the cape, and those other guys, whose stomping grounds happens to be outer space.
He is the protagonist of this first entry into the franchise. Riddick is an outer space bad-ass, super stealthy and deadly. He has skills. A flesh and blood Terminator, when called for, he is also a skilled hunter/tracker. He has his own code of morality, which means in some cases he has been a convict, and even a murderer. Yet despite this, he is sometimes shown to perform moral or even atypically heroic actions, usually against his own better judgment and survivalist nature. You could say he’s a sociopath with an occasional heart of gold, when it suits him.
Riddick is a Furyan, a member of a warrior race obliterated by a military campaign that left Furya desolate, and is one of the last of his kind. One of his most defining features are his eyes, a characteristic inherent in a certain caste of his species (The Alpha-Furyans), although he implies in Pitch Black that they were “shined” by a back-alley surgical operation. This allows him to see in the dark with no difficulty at all, but also renders his eyes incredibly sensitive to concentrated light, therefore he wears tinted welding goggles for protection. Riddick was once a mercenary, then part of a security force, and later on a soldier. He is also an experienced pilot. This guy is just plain fun to watch when he goes into action.
In Pitch Black he soon proves to be a formidable, dangerous and capable individual. Riddick escapes after being captured, when the spaceship he is being transported on is damaged by comet debris, and makes an emergency crash landing on an empty desert planet. However, when extended nightfall envelops the planet due to an eclipse, predatory alien creatures begin attacking the survivors, and Riddick joins forces with the surviving crew and other passengers to develop a plan to escape the planet. Because of his skills Riddick quickly rises to a position of leadership in the now hunted group of survivors.
The rest of the story is mostly a tale of how they go about forming a plan to escape the hostile, unpleasant, and deadly planet, and what they discover about the creatures that hunt them in the seemingly never ending night. Riddick and a few others manage to survive their hellish ordeal and eventually escape the planet’s surface.
Diesel has reprised the role in a sequel titled The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), and another film simply titled Riddick (2013). Other reprisals of the role include voice over work for animated films and video games.
It has been reported that Vin Diesel has signed on the dotted line for a multi-year, first-look production deal between his One Race Television production company and Universal TV. In addition the long awaited movie sequel is rumored to begin shooting next year.(2017)