Vin Diesel finally makes it back as the shiny-eyed ex-con who growls a lot in this OK retread of Pitch Black, the original film in the Riddick series. This one, mercifully, gets away from the drearily baroque dealings of The Chronicles of Riddick and gets Diesel back on a desolate planet battling weird monsters. The first half of the movie has Diesel fighting scorpion-like beasties with the help of a CGI dog, and it’s actually pretty good. Things slow down in the middle when a bunch of bounty hunters show up and talk a lot, but they speed up again when the bounty hunters must also battle the monsters. Diesel, who I usually can’t stand, is actually in decent form for this one, obviously relishing the chance to revisit the character that made him a big star. Director David Twohy does a lot with a relatively meager budget, putting together a movie that looks good. While the movie isn’t anything to get all that excited about, it does manage to recapture a little of the spirit that made the first film fun.

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