Riddick is finally out in the public domain for many European audiences, and it hits US shores tomorrow while a critical consensus slowly develops, with the Rotten Tomatoes score
dropping from 80% to 55%, and then climbing slightly to 61%, with a 5.5 average after 31 reviews. You can read my review here
, and now it's time to explore Riddick's cinematic crimes a little more in depth, for though the movie isn't as excruciatingly, humourlessly dull as its predecessor, it's still a mile away from the cult thrills of the original, Pitch Black. Though it surprisingly doesn't suffer by way of its hugely curtailed budget - having been made for roughly one-third of The Chronicles of Riddick - there's a level of creative
bankruptcy here that just makes Riddick's third outing another sign the franchise is best put out to pasture. Beware that SPOILERS DO FOLLOW...
7. Casual Sexism
There are two female characters in Riddick, one who is killed within 60 seconds-or-so of us meeting her, and the other is Katee Sackhoff's Dahl, who appears to be a strong, no-nonsense femme fatale-type character, who we assume will probably be the only character in the movie to square up to Riddick. The problem, as sites such as Empire
have pointed out, is that Dahl ends being subject to a woefully misogynistic treatment that totally undermines her character. It's implied early on that Dahl is a lesbian, though by film's end, it is very clearly implied that she has sex with Riddick, suggesting that the protagonist, the ultimate macho man, is wanted by all women, regardless of their orientation; if they're gay, he'll damn-near turn them straight! It's a creaky line to walk, and given the film's prior rapey vibes from villain Santana, just layers the film with yet another supremely icky subtext. For all of Dahl's opportunity to be a feminist icon from the outset, she's ultimately reduced to gratuitous nudity and subject of the much-discussed "male gaze". The film might be aiming to throw back to 80s B-movies, but this is just downright tacky.