Vin Diesel's Riddick looks certain to top the box-office on its debut weekend.
It's been almost 10 years since The Chronicles of Riddick - which opened to a modest $24 million - though the latest movie should go bigger, with predictions in the region of $27-30 million.
In fairness, it has little to beat, and Lee Daniels' The Butler should continue its good run and take the second spot with $13 million. Planes, One Direction: This Is Us and the well-received Spanish movie Instructions Not Included will make the top ten.
Movies like Riddick will satisfy a certain audience over the weekend, specifically those who decide to rock up at the theater for a bite to eat and absolutely no idea what they're planning to see. Walk-outs are probably going to be at a minimum. It's going to be a relatively enjoyable couple of hours, made more satisfying by the presence of Vin Diesel, who has slowly established himself as one of the more likeable action stars in Hollywood - despite the continued ascendancy of Dwayne Johnson in recent years.
It's the third live-action film in the Riddick series - which Diesel secured the rights to following a shrewd trade for a Fast and Furious cameo - and things seem to have grown up a bit. As the New York Times' explain, "gone are the silly costumes and wigs, the overstuffed plot and exotic-sounding villains like the Necromongers, the religious fanatics that Mr. Diesel's character, the escaped convict more formally known as Richard B. Riddick, once battled."
In the new movie, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators after being betrayed by the Necromongers and left for dead on a desolate planet. Soon, bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick, only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge.
It is probably expected with the type of movie, the critics are divided, with some taking it exactly for what it is, and others deriding it as irrelevant and unnecessary.
""Riddick" can be cheesy and silly, not to mention excessively violent, but it's also fun," said Stephanie Merry of the Washington Post.
"This is not one of those Johnny-come-lately sequels preoccupied with getting a new audience up to speed on where the story was. It's about living in the moment, in the now, and killing in the now," said Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian erred on the side of caution, though wrote, "By turns boring and bizarre, although Diesel still has some presence."
"...Riddick undoes much of the cumbersome mythology that made Chronicles of Riddick such a laborious slog, and instead returns it to the meat-and-potatoes format of the first film. The results are much more satisfying, if not wholly so," wrote Drew Taylor of The Playlist.
It's worth noting that Vin Diesel has been making the odd 'good' movie for several years now. Things started with a bang with Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant and Boiler Room, and stabilized somewhat with a handful of decent action flicks, named The Fast and the Furious, xXx and The Chronicles of Riddick.
Watch the Riddick trailer here:
Ok, so there's been some bum-notes - of course there has - even though most pulled in the crowds, proving Vin Diesel is one hell of a draw in Hollywood. For example, the critically panned The Pacifier - in which Diesel headed up a relatively obscure cast - was made for $56 million and made $198 million at the box office.
The actor, now 46, as proven his worth in Hollywood over the past 10 years and, as such, has been handed a bunch of roles that most working action-stars would kill for. They include voicing Groot in Marvel's huge Guardians of the Galaxy movie, appearing in Fast & Furious 7 and reprising the role of Xander Cage in a xXx sequel.
The future's bright for Vin Diesel, very bright. Not that you would have noticed.
The Poster for Vin Diesel's Riddick.