What makes Riddick so dangerous
RIDDICK - SURVIVAL IS HIS REVENGE (USA 2013)
RIDDICK is the third part in a series that started in 2000 with PITCH BLACK started in 2004 with CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK continued, but it's the first part I've seen. So I have to start this text with a question: is it part of the concept that you hate the protagonist and wish he didn't survive the film?
Here is a list of everything I am in RIDDICK about Vin Diesel's title character: He was once condemned to something (guilty or innocent) for something; he was once king of somebody ("Necromonger"?); his eyes are very sensitive to light, which is why he can see in the dark and wears diving goggles during the day to protect himself from the bright sunlight; he's from a planet called "Furia" (seriously?); he can handle (CGI) animals well, even better with weapons, but also quite okay without them, and he either likes to kill or doesn't like killing, at least very efficiently; and he's so insanely masculine that even lesbians will want to sleep with him if he tells them enough times that they want to sleep with him. No, I also don't know what director and writer David Twohy was thinking on that last point, but it's something that is completely sincere and without any sort of refraction or comment RIDDICK happens.
My problem with RIDDICK is: Director and writer David Twohy clearly wants this uninteresting, otherwise unbearable character to be considered the coolest pig under the sun in his best moments. At the beginning of the film, Riddick finds himself abandoned on a desert planet, first having to survive there for a while and then asserting himself against two reluctantly cooperating groups of bounty hunters. They are all terrified of him, because his reputation precedes him, and they keep emphasizing how dangerous Riddick is, what a killer machine, what a survivor. But none of this seems justified in any way: Riddick doesn't actually do anything particularly impressive or clever or even heroic throughout the film - rather, his enemies kill themselves out of stupidity like the teenagers in TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL.
So I should cheer for a character who is neither sympathetic, nor heroic, nor impressive in any way. Maybe it works better if you know the previous films. Perhaps there is ambivalences in the Riddick character that make it more interesting. In RIDDICK nothing can be seen of it: there will be a lot more about it talkedwhat Riddick can do for us to see any of it - which can be quite tiring on two hours of running time.
Which is a shame, because there is one or the other interesting approach to be recognized. The world in which Riddick works looks like a video game cutscene from around 2006, but it is coherent and, once you get used to how cheap everything looks here, it has a lot of trash appeal.
Riddick's pursuers are also far more concise characters than one is used to from sci-fi B-movies - which does not mean that they are interesting or even complex, but you can at least tell them apart. Katee Sackhoff's character is even to some extent likeable, even if director Twohy seems quite fascinated by the fact that there are women and that some of them sleep with other women.
But in the end all of that is of no use if the director of the film is so - Warning! - blinded by his supposedly so cool main character and without any trace of humor, the primitive machoism of his "hero" seems to be staged as worth striving for. For people who have been waiting for the return of this figure - if these people exist - since 2004 (and possibly for 12 year olds) this may work. Everyone else should RIDDICK drive around widely.
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