Vin Diesel, our Laurence Olivier for 2013

It's been 13 years and six Fast & Furiouses since Pitch Black, yet Vin Diesel is as dominating a screen presence as ever in the gruff Riddick. Left for dead on a hostile world, survivalist predator Riddick has to deal with a broken leg and vicious beasties in a sparse, nearly wordless first act. The protagonist fades into the shadows after vulgar crews of bounty hunters arrive for his head, and then everyone starts shooting everything once a plague of monsters erupts. Those narrative shifts worked well in Pitch Black, and director David Twohy is smart to double down here. It’s Diesel’s show, though. Whether taming puppies or chopping off limbs, his silver-eyed anti-hero still proves charming. Riddick is less a character study than a film where a dude bashes a monster’s brains in with a giant bone club. It’s all the richer for that.

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