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vin1“Riddick” should have been titled “Riddickulous.”

In Vin Diesel’s fourth outing as the mercenary-turned-enforcer, he has been double-crossed and left for dead. “I don’t know how many times I’ve been crossed off the list,” he mumbles in voiceover, “but this ain’t nothing new.”

He spends his days battling predatory aliens until not one, but two teams of bounty hunters land on the planet. The first team, lead by Santana (Jordi Mollà) wants Riddick dead so they can collect the ransom. The other team, headed by Boss Johns (Matt Nable) wants him taken alive for questioning. As the bounty hunters bang heads, Riddick plans a wild scheme of vengeance and escape from this desolate planet.

With its cheap effects, cheesy dialogue, gratuitous nudity and testosterone-laced characters, “Riddick” might provide midnight movie style nostalgia for anyone who grew up on direct-to-video sci fi flicks in the 1980s. Everybody else might want to go back to the original movie in this series, Pitch Black, and enjoy a movie that actually kinda makes sense.

Saddled with a leaden and confusing backstory about a father’s quest for answers and a dull monotonous visual look the movie never rises above the level of a mid-grade video game.

On top of that, this is the rare movie that is actually better when the star isn’t in it. Although some of the creatures are pretty cool, this movie doesn’t work at all until Vin gives up the solo Survivorman shtick and the bounty hunters show up. Then, for my money, it changes from surreally bad film to a typical silly-bad movie.

You want silly? How about fending off a vicious dog-creature by starting an impromptu game of fetch? Or maybe using words like “jamoke” in the far distant future. If “Riddick” had embraced its silliness instead of taking itself so seriously in all the wrong ways, I might have enjoyed it more!

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