'Riddick' Trailer: Vin Diesel Battles Monsters On Sparsely Furnished Canadian Soundstages

First off: yes, the 'Riddick' franchise, which began with 2000's pleasingly grungy "Pitch Black" and continued, into a more opaque fantasy realm with 2004's "Chronicles of Riddick," is still alive and well. For some reason.

In the series, Vin Diesel plays the titular mercenary, who has had his eyes "shined" so he can see in the dark (which is apparently a problem in the future, maybe because everyone is out in space). He's such a badass that in the opening moments of the trailer for the third film, simply called "Riddick" (just Riddick, it's cleaner), he grabs a dragon by the throat. Note to dragons everywhere: don't mess with Vin Diesel.

After the dragon-choking (wait, what?), the rest of the trailer sets up the basic plot for "Riddick," as much as there is one. A band of lethal bounty hunters, it seems, has been tracking Riddick and located him on a sparsely furnished Canadian soundstage, complete with incredibly fake-looking styrofoam rocks. They've got him locked up and are about to behead him (keeping with the rules of space law) when — whoops — a bunch of nasty monsters show up and they have to let Riddick go so he can help them survive. The movie is rated R so the monsters will probably eat people up pretty graphically, which should be cool.

The plot is almost undistinguishable from the original "Pitch Black," not that that is necessarily a bad thing. But the whole thing has a budget, direct-to-basic-cable vibe that could either be highly enjoyable or pretty painful. This new movie was written and directed by franchise stalwart David Twohy, and has a cast that includes Katie Sakhoff (from "Battlestar Galactica"), Karl Urban (who was also in "Chronicles of Riddick," wow we really don't remember that movie), Jordi Molla, and, for some reason, pop star Keri Hilson. Man, if she does some kind of "Skyfall"-style theme song for "Riddick," then we'd really be in business.

"Riddick" opens on September 6th. Again: it is rated R.