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The Vin Diesel Movie Franchise Hated By Critics But Crushing It On Netflix

Despite being involved in some of the biggest franchises of the 21st century, Vin Diesel has rarely seen eye-to-eye with critics. While the actor drew some acclaim for early roles in films like "The Iron Giant" and "Saving Private Ryan," subsequent efforts such as "A Man Apart," "The Pacifier," "Babylon A.D.," and "Knockaround Guys" were largely dismissed as empty action vehicles.

Still, that hasn't slowed Diesel down one bit, as the actor has been working steadily on dozens of projects over the last 25 years. Furthermore, die-hard fans of Diesel's work in a long-dormant science fiction franchise have seen a loose-fitting trilogy of the actor's films returning to the limelight.

As Riddickulous as it might sound, Richard B. Riddick has emerged from the darkness and is currently overshadowing much of the competition on Netflix. Currently, all three films in David Twohy's dark futuristic science fiction thriller series are sitting pretty in Netflix's top 10 list of movies, a fact that probably has a lot to do with ongoing rumors that Diesel will be returning to the franchise to reunite with Twohy yet again.

The franchise cast Vin Diesel before he was a commodity

The Riddick franchise launched back in 2000 with its first entry, "Pitch Black." The film saw a group of survivors attempting to navigate a mysterious alien world filled with deadly nocturnal creatures after their ship crash lands. Ironically, prisoner and serial killer Richard B. Riddick, who possesses the unique ability to see in the dark, becomes the only person who might be able to lead the group to safety, causing the survivors to reluctantly release him.

Since the character took off in popularity following "Pitch Black," and he was one of the few survivors who made it off the planet alive, many spinoff projects were put into the works. A sequel came in the form of "The Chronicles of Riddick," while an animated short film, "The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury," filled in the story between the two movies.

Elsewhere, two well-received video games filled in other parts of the character's mysterious backstory. "The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay" showed how Riddick broke out of prison prior to being caught by a bounty hunter and placed on the ship from "Pitch Black." Meanwhile, "The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena" sees the character trying to battle his way out of a mercenary ship.

Finally, there was "Riddick" in 2013. The film took the character back to basics by having him fight for his life on a hostile planet full of deadly alien creatures. Of the three main movies, this one is currently the highest in the Netflix top 10, with "Chronicles of Riddick" and "Pitch Black" showing up in descending order.

There could be more Riddick coming in the future

A fourth mainline "Riddick" movie was confirmed recently, with both writer-director David Twohy and franchise star Vin Diesel set to return. Titled "Riddick 4: Furya," the film will purportedly see the character, who is the last surviving member of an alien race called the Furyans, return to his home planet.

According to Twohy, the film will reveal that Riddick is actually not the last of the Furyans. Twohy has also said that the survivors are very much alike to Diesel's character, a factor that will probably either see him team up with them against external forces or set up a Furyan battle royale between many of the gruff-voiced human hybrids.

While more concrete details like returning cast members or a release date are still incoming, the cult following of the franchise will no doubt be spreading the word that the property is returning, hence the sudden uptick in interest in the series on Netflix. Whether this one can finally impress critics, however, remains to be seen.