The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal Studios - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 118/127 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, Karl Urban
Written & Directed by: David Twohy
Music by: Graeme Revell
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 14, 2014
Global action-superstar Vin Diesel reprises his breakthrough role in Riddick, the much-anticipated new chapter in the epic adventures of the most wanted man in the universe. The all-new thriller finds the title character trapped on a sun-scorched planet and pursued by ruthless bounty hunters eager to collect the reward for Riddick’s capture dead or alive.
Chances are that if you’re reading this you have seen or at least heard of the character of Riddick who was introduced in 2000’s “Pitch Black” a great sci-fi/horror/thriller directed by and co-written David Twohy. In 2004 “The chronicles of Riddick” written/directed by David Twohy took the character to new heights in an anti-heroic sci-fi action adventure. With fans clamoring to see more of Riddick on the big screen David Twohy once again reached for his pen and directorial chair and Riddick was born. With Vin Diesel producing the film was shot independently on a fairly limited budget with distribution handled by Universal Studios.
The plot picks up not long after the events of “Chronicles…” and finds Riddick left for dead by his Necromonger minions on a distant planet whose environment and indigenous life are as hard edged as their newest guest. After acclimating himself as only he can Riddick locates a way station with a beacon and broadcasts his image into the airwaves which captures the attention of bounty hunters and mercenaries. Two groups arrive, one for money, one on a personal mission, each vying for the ultimate capture of one of the most dangerous and wanted men in the galaxy. As prepared as they are they are unprepared to meet not only the challenge of their quest but why lies in wait…
As a fan of both “Pitch Black” and “Chronicles of Riddick” I looked forward to Riddick but kept my expectations in check. The lack of a big budget was obvious as the scope of the production and cast were limited. I didn’t find that to be a problem as the screenplay didn’t feel as though it had been written for a larger body. The supporting cast were fine in their respective roles and were supported by the breadth of the writing. Vin Diesel owns this character and was as solid as he has ever been. So the question remaining is did I like Riddick? The answer is yes. There is a noticeable return to the roots of what initially made the character so interesting in Pitch Black. On the flip side that is also what imparts a nagging sense of been here done this. There is also a connection to Pitch Black that you may or may not find credible or necessary. Personally I didn’t find it to be either but luckily it really has little impact on the fundamentals we look for in a film like this. The action is decent and the visceral edge that you expect shines through as the events formulaically unfold.
I didn’t find Riddick to be as thematically well rounded as its predecessors but for fans of the Riddick mythos its familiar territory was fun and entertaining to explore. Both the theatrical and eight minute longer director’s cut, which I watched during my evaluation, are included.
The rating is for strong violence, language, and some sexual content/nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Riddick comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
This is a superb looking Blu-ray presentation from Universal that delivers high level detail, razor sharpness and resolute definition that brings out the lifelike textures captured by the camera lens. Close ups and mid level shots are incredibly detailed and revealing of even the subtlest nuance visible within facial features, clothing, and objects/backgrounds within the frame. Fidelity is never in question regardless of the camera’s perspective. Colors are kept within the scope of the thematic elements which means lots of browns, grays, and blacks. The stylized color palate deemphasizes primaries but the dusty earth tones have a rewarding quality nonetheless. Skin tones are texturally revealing and lifelike. Blacks are rich, gradationally strong and dynamic which helps them pop during sequences that contained both light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal discerning shapes and structure in backgrounds/objects. I found this to be a pristine high definition video offering that looked terrific on my big screen.
Like the video presentation, the 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. This is an entertaining audio presentation that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the large fight sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and resolute clarity. This is an active mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its dynamic range. The result is tactile low frequency detail that energizes the room with clean, hard hitting bass. Dialogue had excellent soundstage presence with clear, defining vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is a top notch and complimentary audio/video presentation that enhances the subject matter.
- Theatrical and Director’s Cut of the film
- (HD) * Exclusive The Twohy Touch — In this short film, writer and director David Twohy explains the development of Riddick, the third feature film in his high-concept sci-fi series. Interviews and on-set footage detail Twohy’s vision and inspiration, as well as the creative collaboration between the filmmaker and star Vin Diesel that takes the cult franchise to a new level – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) * Exclusive Riddickian Tech — The filmmakers, including Riddick’s amazing effects team, talk about the extraordinary technologies used to create Riddick’s eye-popping sci-fi elements, from the practical effects to the green screen wonders that made it possible to bring this highintensity, futuristic thriller to the big screen – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) * Exclusive The World Of Riddick — Key members of the filmmaking team, including director David Twohy, production designer Joseph C. Nemec III and director of photography David Eggby talk about the inspiration and influences behind the film’s vivid and unique visuals and savage predators – 10 minute featurette
- (HD)Vin’s Riddick — Vin Diesel, his co-stars and the entire filmmaking team provide an inside look at the superstar’s passion for everything from the film’s production and developmentto his intensive physical training, as well as just what makes Diesel ideal for the role of the indestructible Richard B. Riddick – 8 minute featurette
- (HD)Meet The Mercs — From Karl Urban and Katee Sackhoff to Jordi Mollà, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, and Nolan Gerard Funk, this featurette spotlights the dynamic supporting cast of Riddick and the characters they portray, exploring what the actors bring to their roles, as well as the weapons and clothing styles that define them to enhance this heart-stopping thriller – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Riddick: Blindsided—A motion comic prequel to Riddick that fills in the gap since 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Riddick is the third installment in the sci-fi/thriller/action film franchise built around the dark anti-hero character played by star Vin Diesel. Written/directed by David Twohy there is a familiarity and viscerally resounding edge that harkens back to what initially made the character appealing to genre fans. The script isn’t as strong as those found in the first two installments however there is enough action and typically entertaining character interplay to make it fun to watch. Riddick comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring resplendent high definition video, engaging DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound and a fan friendly assortment of supplemental features that look behind the scenes at the production and include insights from the cast/ crew. If you’re a fan this Blu-ray release deserves a place in your video collection.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package