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Email: @ Riddick Online

In Defense of Richard B. Riddick

Iíll be the first to admit that I rarely read fan fic. I avoid doing so not out of some smug ego trip but because I am wary of becoming influenced by the style and ideas of other writers. But last week a friend of mine recommended a piece to me that she particularly enjoyed so I decided to take a look. The story was a Pitch Black fan fic and having read the entire thing I was left feeling somewhat aghast at the authors treatment of Riddickís character. He was portrayed as a mean and selfish sexual sadist, violent towards women, egotistical and self centered. This is not my vision of Riddick at all so in response I plan to take up his defence against these accusations. First of all Iím going to quote from my friend Plasmo who posted this on the same topic:

"According to the official web site (PitchBlack.com) Riddick is diagnosed as a "violent sociopath with a primitive fight or flight response."

Here's just a portion of some of the associated features of a person with Antisocial Personality Disorder (a sociopath in politically correct terms):

"Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder show little remorse for the consequences of their acts (Criterion A7).

They may be indifferent to, or provide a superficial rationalization for, having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from someone (e.g., "life's unfair," "losers deserve to lose," or "he had it coming anyway" . These individuals may blame the victims for being foolish, helpless, or deserving their fate; they may minimize the harmful consequences of their actions; or they may simply indicate complete indifference. They generally fail to compensate or make amends for their behavior. They may believe that everyone is out to "help number one" and that one should stop at nothing to avoid being pushed around. ...

"Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder frequently lack empathy and tend to be callous, cynical, and contemptuous of the feelings, rights, and sufferings of others . ....

[note: all of these tendancies are Riddick up one side & down the other, but to continue the description...]

"These individuals may also be irresponsible and exploitative in their sexual relationships.

They may have a history of many sexual partners and may never have sustained a monogamous relationship. "

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, 1994, pp. 645-650

My personal feeling about Riddickís description on the Official web site is that its not much more than trendy, politically correct rubbish that the author dreamed up for the sake of making Riddick sound dangerous. We have Thomas Harris to thank for making the sociopath a modern day anti hero. Iím not saying that Riddick isnt dangerous however. He has killed approximately 14 people. Of those fourteen, we only truly know the motives for two of them. He killed the pilot of the skif he hijacked during his escape and he killed Johns. The pilot was in his way and Riddick didnít need him, which I agree is symptomatic of sociopathic behaviour, however I donít believe this one act should be taken out of context. We donít know enough about Riddickís history to understand why he was in Slam in the first place, what the conditions were like for him. For all we know, he may have been wrongly accused, framed, or even put in Slam by a social system that prefers to incarcerate its social misfits rather than offer them guidance or acceptance. We have assumed that in Riddickís case he got what he deserved but can we say that for sure?

As I said before, I donít deny that Riddick shows sociopathic tendancies. He is able to kill without hesitation or remorse and seems to enjoy physical confrontation, but in my opinion too many people focus only on that aspect of his personality, which, from his conversation with Imam we know is a product of his early life. But what about the other things that go to make up Riddick? There is plenty of evidence in the movie that Riddick is a complicated individual, who does not deserve to be tarred with a single brush.

We know that he has a mischievious sense of humour from his conversations with Paris and Johns.

We know that he is at least tolerant and accepting of children from his relationship with Jack and that he is also capable of handling her hero worship of him in a mature manner without taking advantage of her.

He is an intelligent tactician. He studies his enemy thoroughly and doesnít rush into a conflict with them under the illusion that he is indestructible.

He is highly observant and uses all his senses. His descriptive narrative at the opening of the movie is worthy of Sherlock Holmes.

He is protective towards those who cannot defend themselves. I know some people may have a problem with me suggesting this, judging by other comments on this topic I have read, but let me illustrate my point. We all know that at some point Riddick would have killed Johns. Johns was a threat to his continued liberty. But what is the true trigger that causes Riddick to attack his captor? Johns threatens Jackís life and not only that he makes the suggestion that Riddick should kill her to save them. Would Riddick have truly objected to that proposition if he held human life in such low regard. After all, Johnís suggestion, although brutal, had logic to it.

The only single act of Riddickís that gave me concern was the way he left the survivors behind and got into the skif. I couldnít rationalise that act with the Riddick I thought I knew. Then two things occurred to me:

Would Riddick have led them to safety in a cave if he planned to leave them there to die anyway?

Riddick closes the door of the skiv after he has attached the fuel cells to the engine. The assumption has always been that he is preparing the leave. But earlier on in the movie, when Fry is performing a diagnostic run, the door of the skif is also closed.

So, can we say for sure that Riddick really was planning to run. After all he did go back with Fry. The easier option, if he truly were the cold selfish killer would have been to take off. Fry had no way of getting into the skif until Riddick opened the door for her. He could easily have left.

Iíll finish on one final point. Take a look at the expression on his face as he is holding a dying Fry in his arms, in the moment before she is snatched away from him and then tell me he feels nothing at the death of another human being.

Listen to his words as she disappears into the darkness. Are those really the words of a self-centred egotist?

The defense rests.