Ahoy. Thar be spoilers off the port bow, so those who haven’t yet clapped eyes on this film would do well t’ set a new course. As well, ye be enterin’ the shoals of strong opinion. Best retrieve yer soundin’ gear, an’ not the kind ye stuff down a man’s pee hole neither.
So readers. Doubtlessly you understand that I like sci-fi. Even nautical films where everybody speaks like Robert Newton in a fifties Treasure Island because thy think that’s how all sailors converse come in at a distant second. Thus, I’m willing to forgive a lot in sci-fi films because it just makes me feel so darn good inside. Bad physics? I’ve trained myself to ignore all but the most egregious mistakes. Tired tropes? Eminently excusable if there’s at least a bit of original content. So I went into Riddick expecting to be entertained.
For the most part, this is what happened. The newest chronicle features our anti-hero steeped in his own badassery in the same way a in Pitch Black, fact the films contain multiple similarities. Among them are alien-filled rainstorms and Riddick dispaching savage wildlife and corrupt lawmen with equal aplomb. Here too, the protagonist reserves his protection for women, children, and the pure of heart.
But there’s a problem with this latest movie, one that initially delighted me. The amazing Katee Sackhoff, already well-known for her superb portrayal of Starbuck in the Galactica reboot, is cast as a female merc named Dahl. When Santana, the leader of a rival gang makes sexual overtures she comes back with “I don’t fuck men.” Here I’m thinking “Awesome! An openly gay character in an action film, woohoo.” And then the more cautious “Hmm, I wonder how this will play out?”
Fast forward to about 20 minutes before the end when Riddick boasts about how he’s going to put Santana’s head in a box and “be balls deep in Dahl, but only because she asked me real sweet-like” before the end of their little adventure. I was initially annoyed, but not so much as at the end of the film when Dahl, one of the last survivors of the alien-infested rain is lowered from a ship to extract Riddick from certain death by said rain-loving aliens. As she clips the harness around his waist and gives a cute little thumbs up to her pilot she is suddenly all seductive and coy. “Let me ask you something real sweet-like,” she purrs, and the screen fades to white.
Really?! This rough and ready sniper who can hit a running animal at 2 klicks, who earlier put four shots of horse-tranqs in Riddick’s oh-so-prominent pecs so that her CO could knock him out with a rifle butt, is suddenly going to go all syrupy on us? She’s going to deny what she said about her orientation just because the right man came along?
I am so effing sick of this message — that lesbians don’t really exist, indeed, that “no” doesn’t really exist if the man is manly enough. How many rapes have been committed in the name of this belief?
David Twohy, you wrote and directed a film where the “good” team of mercs is racially diverse and included a woman, but then you committed the heinous mistake of passing on the oh-so-dangerous idea of the lesbian who’s secret craving cock. Why? Just leave dykes out of your movie. Put in a girl like James Cameron’s space marine Vasquez. Her orientation is never discussed — what’s important is that she can fight like the men and even one-up them in the trash-talk department. A character like that would be okay to present as a love interest. But don’t make your lady character do a complete 180 from how you presented her. Even her name sounds like “doll”. What the hell did you mean by that?
By the way, Mr. Tungsten could have fixed your stupid mistake in one line. If Dahl’s rejoinder had been “No, I only fuck men” it would have been a comment on Santiago’s masculinity, making it easy to believe she would might with Riddick in the end.
Featured image: imfdb.org