It’s Labor Day weekend here at the Jersey Shore. And though I haven’t been able to track down my boys Paul DelVecchio and Michael Sorrentino I’m still getting my party on. For instance, last night a house full of sub two-year-olds went to bed at 8:30 and us adults made it up until 11PM before crashing. So I think I know a little something about keeping the Jersey Shore right. This week we’ve got a slow Labor Day as Riddick comes back to the big screens.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
Ok so here’s the deal. The collective wisdom would probably agree that Vin Diesel is a bad, or at least below average, actor. His monotone, growling delivery with pauses in all the wrong places makes him sound like a dude who just learned the movie’s lines for the first time right before they turned the cameras on. He also sports a quasi-Neanderthal skull structure that some could interpret as rendering him of a lesser intelligence. (I’m not saying he is, he could be Einstein for all I know, just talking about his look.) Add on to those negatives, another big knock against him in the acting category is that he really doesn’t, um, act in any movies. Since 2008, outside of the Fast and Furious and Riddick franchises he’s been in exactly zero movies. And the case could be made that he’s only in those because he carved out the leading man role early on before casting directors and audiences caught up with his acting deficiencies. So kudos to his agents, shame on the rest of us.*
*Sidenote: I want to point out here that Vin Diesel (much like everyone not named Matthew Lillard) has the ability to throw in a nice bit part performance here and there. His turns in Saving Private Ryan and Boiler Room were fine and when given small parts he can succeed. But the Peter Principle is in full effect here. The more screen time, the worse for the big guy which is why the Indie film/ low budget side project roles never come calling in the down times.
So Diesel enters that Keanu Reeves territory of guys the masses sit scratching their head about. They are legit, huge stars who’s acting chops appear far inferior to the kind of box office numbers they’ve generated. And sure, some of it (maybe all of it) is circumstance. But it doesn’t negate that when the opening credits stop rolling, there they are, in the film. Collecting the paychecks.
And here’s where it’s time to mention that his latest flick looks like a travesty against filmmaking. A movie in which the acting and the source material meet in one colossal, laughingstock of a production. The third in the franchise, Riddick follows Pitch Black (56%) and The Chronicles of Riddick (26%) as the titular character wears goggles and surrounds himself with laughable CGI effects. I’ve never seen the first two, so I can’t comment on whether it stays “true” to its predecessors, but man does it look bad. Directed by David Twohy, who helmed the first two as well as the A Perfect Getaway (60%), this one could be the end of these movies (leaving Diesel with only one steady gig). Just watch the trailer, you’ll see what I mean. Finally, a flick worthy of Diesel’s talents. The Rotten Watch for Riddick is 13%.