I did not expect much from The Chronicles of Riddick. Pretty spaceships, evil alien cult armies, Vin Diesel’s glowing eyes.
But now that I’ve seen Tomb Raider and Underworld, I’m much less forgiving of weak female characters. Especially when the female characters actually kick tremendous amounts of ass and should be treated with more respect by the story’s architects.
In Riddick, he’s violent because he’s an invincible alien with special powers. Kyra’s violent because she’s broken. He’s capable of taking care of himself. She always needs his help at a critical moment. She can only win by sacrificing herself. When he wins, he gets the extra prize of a devoted army of followers. She is strong but also looks like a sex bomb, and is not taken seriously as a threat by men because she’s a woman. He is amazingly competent, no questions asked. Her violence is lamentable, a waste of her life that the other characters mourn. His violence is because he’s allegedly evil, but we only know that because other characters say so – we only see him making the right choices – and it’s necessary to save the world.
Give me Lara in Tomb Raider, owning her own destiny and making her own choices. Give me Selene in Underworld, in love but still dedicated, strong, determined. Don’t give me Kyra in Riddick, or Anna Valerious in Van Helsing who is only good for a chick fight, or Trinity the ever-martyred.
I just can’t deal with it anymore.
(Now if I could just stop giving them my money…)