A lot of people have mixed reactions to Vin Diesel. Some people despise him, others find him boring, others like him and more have at least a small amount of respect for his open geekitude.
Me? I never really minded him. I have... problems with his acting in general but has at least provided me with my first two guilty pleasure movies (xxx and the Fast and the Furios. Both supremely retarded but its fun to watch them).
However this article deals with his most 'beloved' character, Riddick.
I absolutely adored the character in its original conception in Pitch Black, a low-to-mid-budget sci fi horror movie that stood as a fusion of Alien and vampires in general. It had a great sci fi concept and belivable technology. but Riddick was really an unheard of creation in sci fi at the time. People have dealt with nasty and amoral characters before in sci fi, but no one ever had a character that was admittedly 'evil' before. He was a psychopath, a serial killer, a freak of nature all in one. He was dark and violent all the way through the movie and never changed at the end. The only thing that showed change was the ability to form some type of emotional connection to other characters. In all respects, conventional hollywood would have done something totally different; they either would have riddick redeeming and sacrificing himself in the third act or have him turn on them and have the heroine destroy him. but instead the heroine got killed, and he, the most vile of all the other characters lived. It broke conventional hollywood structure.
And then Riddick dissappeared. For years until he was born again in two very distinct, very interesting ways. One was film, the other was games.
The film side of riddick is a turbulent and psychotic one. Presented in two forms after the fact of pitch black, chronicles and dark fury told the story of riddick in a more egalic, bombastic character with all the violence and anger its original contained. The problems with these takes on the character is the visual disconnect it had from it origin, pitch black. Visually the chronicles universe looked so different from its originator it threw off even the most staunch of sci fi geeks (ex my dad, who was reading larry niven, PK Dick, hg Wells and heinlein by the age of seven). Also the original theatrical cut of the film had so many plot holes and nonsensical conventions that it was rightly deemed as terrible. The director's cut however makes up for more than enough of the over producerized theatre version and stands as very decent if not objectively good scifi movie. Plus the Directors cut ending is way better than the original, with riddick saying the you keep what you kill line rather than half assed judi dench narration.
The game side of riddick goes in the opposite direction, painting the violence and near now sci fi in a much quieter and brutal way. Plus it has an extreme noir style to its story telling conventions. It was missed out by the players then, but the release with assault on dark athena will hopefully draw a whole new group of fans.