The Horror Honeys: Space Frat Boys and Misogyny

Space Frat Boys and Misogyny

A Sci-Fi Honey Rage Review

Riddick (2013). Emphasis on the Dick. 

OK so here’s the deal. I went to see Riddick with great anticipation. I loved Pitch Black; it hit my sweet spot of very scary/suspense without having to show everything.  Throw in some good looking monsters, surprisingly good cinematography and effects given the crap budget, a bunch of action and shooting and people getting eaten by scary aliens, and a pretty interesting story with a semi-complex female lead character, along with Vin Diesel, who I think did a pretty good job with a character that could have been really one-dimensional.

So imagine my surprise when I saw Riddick.

The effects were generally good, the backgrounds were excellent... especially when I noticed that some of the giant cliff outcroppings were the shape of the alien heads from Pitch Black; well done. The Dingo-thing was relatively mediocre CG. The aliens were overall preety awesome considering the crap they were in Pitch Black.

The story was pretty much what you’d expect from the last in a trilogy – try to remake the first movie with different aliens and somehow try to recapture the magic.  

Maybe it was just me, but I thought the guy who played "the merc who was the father of the merc from Pitch Black" didn’t look remotely old enough to be his father, but his acting was overall ok given his material. Vin Diesel was…Vin Diesel.  Whom I generally like – I actually enjoyed some of his other movies like XXX and Fast/Furious franchise. I like a good mindless movie when I’m in that mood.  

What I didn’t like in particular about Riddick was the level of sexual harassment and rapey-ness and general douchebaggery that was in this particular instalment in the series.  The makers of Riddick  produced something that has, in my view, an unusual amount of overtly violent dickhead misogyny in it, even for a sci-fi/horror movie, which are well known for T&A and primarily utilizing women as monster/killer fodder.

There are two female characters in Riddick. The first lasted about two minutes, and had clearly been raped, and a lot, given her reluctance to get her restraints removed. The other woman, played by the amazing Katee Sackhoff  (Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, one of my all-time favourite series), was attempted-raped, repeatedly sexually harassed, and her last appearance in this movie pissed me off badly enough that I wanted to punch something.  My biggest piss-off about the movie though was a seemingly innocuous and common event in a movie like this; showing her fresh out of the shower, with repeated boob shots.

Why did this piss me off so very, very badly?

Katee Sackhoff starred in a sci-fi series remake where her character was previously played by a man, and she kicked ass. She may be making a similar move again, if they let her play Captain Marvel. In Battlestar Galactica she showed extreme toughness, and no one doubted for a second that she could command when she walked in a room; her gender was irrelevant. You want an example of Katee Sackhoff’s abilities? Read about/watch this episode. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The Riddick producers, I suspect, cast her for her Sci-Fi credibility from that character, and then proceeded to utilize her as boobs and a lesbian-conversion candidate.  Because hey, lesbians just need to meet the right guy, especially when that special guy is a sociopath who threatened her with rape and made no move to stop the OTHER attempted rape that she was involved in earlier.

No shower scenes needed.
In contrast, the lead female character (Fry) in Pitch Black was not used for her rack, or portrayed in general as just body parts. She kicked ass.  She was defacto Captain of the ship, showed an ‘unladylike’ willingness to jettison everyone aboard to save herself, and at the end of Pitch Black, she sacrifices herself and saves Riddick's ass (literally and figuratively).  Pitch Black didn’t pander like Riddick does, and the fact that Sackhoff’s character shoots a sniper rifle (but doesn’t actually kill anyone btw, just uses anesthetic rounds) doesn’t get Riddick off the hook.  What possessed the makers of Riddick to actually regress regarding female characters from a movie in the same series SHOT 13 YEARS EARLIER is beyond my comprehension. Plus the use of the phrase ‘balls deep’? Nice one, Space Frat Boy. Idiots.

LOOK!  We gave her a gun!  Pew Pew!

To Sum Up: Riddick was a lazy-ass movie that did nothing new or groundbreaking, and actually took steps backward from the first movie both in writing and character development.  It was pretty and stuff got blowed up, and I would actually have left satisfied, if that was all it was. That is, if it hadn’t basically fucked over Katee Sackhoff while giving the middle finger to female sci-fi fans, and male sci-fi fans who actually like strong female characters - and those male fans are many.  

This Sci-Fi Honey gives Riddick two punching bags with Vin Diesel’s face on them out of five, for the effects.  

POW.  Right in the kisser.