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September 13, 2013

Movie Review || Riddick

Riddick artwork Facebook\Riddick\Mike Butkus
I had great expectations for 'Riddick', even though after I watched the first trailer I thought that it looked just like 'Pitch Black'. I was excited mostly because it had Katee Sackhoff in it, a woman I admire for playing so-called 'strong' female roles (I loved her as Starbuck in 'Battlestar Galactica'), and because I had heard tell that her character Dahl was amazing.

I hate to say it, but I was disappointed. The build-up establishes Riddick as an adaptable, intelligent, and sneaky anti-hero - which we already know - who has been abandoned on a deserted planet from which he is trying to escape - which he's already done - and is hunted by mercenaries thirsty for his blood and the bounty - which, I think, happened before as well. I actually enjoyed the build-up though - it was not as predictable as the rest of the film, which seemed to stick to some overarching plotline the screenwriters had jotted down somewhere. Riddick was, as usual, flawless in his undertakings, but in the end, it was still a saddening anticlimax.

What annoyed me most, though? 'Riddick' fails for women. It's like a fantasy-fest for the young insecure male. All two female characters never talk to each other, and one is shot after hints about physical abuse and perhaps sexual assault. As Zoe Chevat from The Mary Sue says, the audience is already aware that the bounty hunters are the 'bad' guys in this situation - is it necessary to degrade women to remind us?

And they constantly do so. Even Riddick does so. Though Dahl is stunningly powerful, she is under constant threat from every man around her, including Riddick. Innuendos and nuances in the conversation clearly indicate that Dahl is nothing but a potential sex toy to every other character in the film - no wonder she's so prepared to wind up her fist and knock some of them around a bit. And, despite her protestation about halfway through that she doesn't sleep with men, she winds up offering herself to Riddick by the end of the film.

I was simply left with a sour taste in my mouth by the time the credits came sliding across the screen. I hardly even know what exactly was going on because the film lost me when Riddick was caught. Though the sexism wasn't the only negative of the film ... like, what happened to the Wrath of the Furyans?! ... Dahl's violent reactions seem like overcompensation, while the relentless poking at the fact that she's a woman and at the male characters' mercy, the attack on her by Santana which ends without showing what happens to her, Riddick's suave 'proposition' that she'll be 'mounting' him soon, her return to save his arse, and the final flirt with Riddick do nothing for her character or for the story.

Come to think of it, I think Dahl swore the most out of all the other characters. Is that all the screenwriters could come up with to make Dahl seem tough? I was soooo disappointed - Dahl could have been so much better - so much more interesting. I guess the saving grace is that Katee Sackhoff wasn't reduced to wearing 'female' armour.

Oh, I also hated that the [SPOILER[dog was killed.

{Image credit: Facebook\Riddick}