Riddick (2013): Women are for fucking

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I’m not familiar with the franchise, but I was briefed promptly by Riddick’s narration about his past in the first ten minutes of the movie. He was the Lord Marshal, a supreme ruler of a cult or religion of some sort, but faced a court of officials that mostly wanted his head instead of putting a crown on his head. He was betrayed, sabotaged, and left to die on a barren planet with nothing but two alien creatures. Or rather, one, because let’s face it, one of the creatures is basically a dog.

Anyway. While I fail to extract purpose or theme from Riddick, both the hunt and mind games are entertaining enough to keep me going. It took me about thirty minutes of the movie to figure out that this was a guy’s movie, a dude’s film, with the following elements present: bad-ass, dangerous, and somewhat outcast superhero; guys talking dicks at each other; hot girls with no meaning to their roles other than to contrast the macho-masculinity of her fellow male companions.

So there are two girls in this entire film. One of them, notably beaten up, abused but attractive, was a girl from Santana’s ship, a crew of bounty hunters that kept her as a sex slave and raped her (as implied) frequently. She was released from the ship because she was now considered dead-weight, but was shot in the heart by Santana (the bounty hunter boss) as soon as she made a run for it.

Scenes like this make me question the purpose behind this act of violence. What other purpose is there–but to establish vehement misogyny? “I was getting attached to her,” says Santana after he’s shot her. While she struggles with her last breaths on the dirt, Riddick (Vin Diesel’s character) who is standing right next to her dying body, does nothing but watches her die. Well, okay, I get it, this is who Riddick is dealing with–a guy who imprisons and rapes woman for run and kills her for sport afterwards.

So there’s a second girl, Dahl. Interestingly her name is pronounced almost exactly like “doll”; I wonder if that’s intentional. Dahl, despite being seemingly bad-ass in her tank top and in-your-face demeanor, is eventually and inevitably rendered (yet another) sexual object (if not already so ever since her appearance). Of course all the guys she encounters, other than her own crew, initiate fuck-talk at her. By “guys she encounters”, I mean Santana, of course, that misogynist son of a gun. Sure, he gets a few punches and a bloody nose while Dahl has her moment: “I don’t fuck guys, but occasionally, I fuck ’em up” and I get my “Okay, cool! So we’ve got a bad-ass female over here! I can almost live with the sexual objectification because she has some kind of agency.”

But yeah, later, Santana beats her up and completely destroys her tough chick aura, pins her on the ground, licks her face and intends to rape her. I don’t know what the hell this is supposed to mean, because if it’s a “bitch had it coming” moment, which is probably what it is, I kind of want to break the screenwriter’s face for perpetuating negative female stereotypes under the shit-dick patriarchal assumptions and promoting rape culture. That’s a mouthful. But I guess, I will probably end up being an over-dramatic, stuck-up, yapping, bitch feminist. Well, guess what, there are gender issues in this world and raping is a fucked up thing to do in and of itself. If you think it’s macho or manly for someone to pin a woman down and violate her, then you’re, by definition and logic, a fucked up person. You are responsible for this sort of mentality if you don’t question and abdicate from it. Duh, blah blah blah, you shouldn’t rape a woman. Feminists aren’t dumb, you know.

Supposedly, Dahl beats Santana up again because of his attempted rape, but that never happens on screen. I don’t understand the purpose of this ambiguity, because the ambiguity suggests that one, she really did beat him up but it is not shown on screen because that will totally topple the “bitch had it coming moment”, or two, she indeed was raped and she was too proud to admit it. But hey, since she isn’t much of a character to have that kind of emotional dimension anyway, let’s just keep the viewers guessing and they can form their own conclusions. And let’s have Riddick grime her with more macho fuck-talks later as  he promises to go “balls-deep” with Dahl and have Dahl mysteriously sexually attracted to him so they do end up fucking each other because Dahl has asked him to do exactly just that, “sweet-like”.

What a huge steaming pile of horse-shit. I’m pissed off about the negative gender stereotypes in mainstream media, which often go unquestioned or even celebrated by a large amount of viewers. I’m pissed off every time some guy criticizes feminism without understanding what feminism is. (Go read the comments below “Masks off-A Challenge to Men” for a daily dose of idiot.)

But alas, I am not mad as I sound. I did enjoy the first half of the movie, the whole hunter-and-prey dynamic was thrilling and satisfying. I cried when the dog-like alien got shot in the head by, guess who, that ignoramus Santana. I love the cinematography of the movie and planet-scape of “Not-Furya”. But this sex-rape thing, man. It’s got to stop.

The Sequel (of this review): “Riddick (2013): Men are all rapists”

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