Thing I probably should say first is that I have never seen any of the other 'Riddick' movies. Luckily this movie does bring you up to speed about things. Not that I understood much of it but somehow I have a feeling that none of that really mattered.
This movie isn't about the story. It's more about its settings, atmosphere and characters in my opinion. And is all of that good and interesting enough to make this movie worthwhile? Barely!
No, this really isn't a very good movie, to be perfectly honest with you. It's a good thing that it isn't all about the story, since the actual story itself is a very poor and simplistic one. It's an incredibly straightforward movie, which perhaps sounds like a good and awesome thing to some but such thing in my opinion only works if the movie offers some other good things in return, to make up for its story, such as some good action, fun characters and overall entertainment. This movie hasn't gotten enough of any this though, which is making "Riddick" a rather weak science-fiction/action movie.
Sure, you can tell that Riddick is really Vin Diesel's thing. He obviously has a love and passion for the character and its universe and the character really isn't bad one but the weird thing about this movie is that it spends just as much time with its main hero Riddick as it does with its 'villains'. It often actually makes you more sympathetic toward the villains, since they are actually at times the more fun and likable ones. Not sure if this all was intentional or not but fact remains that it takes away a lot from the movie its main character.
The whole movie has a '90's science-fiction type of vibe to it with its story, settings, characters and overall atmosphere and I still don't really know if that's a good or bad thing about it. On the one hand it means that things are often silly and fun to watch but on the other, it also means that it really isn't the best, most impressive or memorable genre movie out there.
I liked the whole universe and planet that the movie is set on, with its outlandish landscapes and crazy and scary looking creatures. The special effects also really aren't anything too bad, especially when considering the movie its budget. So visually, there isn't much wrong with this movie, despite the fact that the movie still has a sort of cheap look to it as well at times. Perhaps that's also why it reminded me of some '90's genre movies and I'm also really not complaining about it though. It sort of adds to the charm, in a weird kind of way.
I only did wish it all would have been part of a much better movie. I wanted to really like the movie because of its characters and settings but I just couldn't ever get into it, which was all really due to its poor writing and the lack of any truly memorable and spectacular moments in it.
It's still watchable enough but I just can't call it a very good genre movie as well.