Review: RIOT GIRLS Doesn’t Deliver The Fun

FIRST IMPRESSION

Although it has a wacky and fun concept, Riot Girls never amounts to much because of an uninspired story arc and overly energetic execution.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Riot Girls, written by Katherine Collins and directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, is a new heavily-stylized post-apocalyptic action-comedy. Although it hopes to be Mad Max by way of a high school comedy, the energy of the film is ultimately too overwhelming for it to be particularly effective.

The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic 1995 in which a deadly virus has wiped out the entire adult population and a town is divided into two rival gangs of teenagers who are constantly at war. Even though this world is certainly intriguing, the film does not do enough to build the mythology of the individual groups. Since the movie is under an hour and a half long, the film could have spared to introduce us into the world in a deeper and more interesting way.

However, even with more world-building, the movie would have faltered because of its generic plot. The story of the film is a pretty standard rescue mission, akin to quite a few other post-apocalyptic movies of this nature. As such, the film feels annoyingly unoriginal, particularly because the movie does so little to make itself stand out.

The only visible attempt at making the film feel unique comes with the dark comedy, although even this is largely a failure. There are a few moments that are chuckle-worthy here and there, but for the most part, the movie is rather joyless and bland. Even more frustrating is that the film repeats these few successful gags over and over again until one almost wishes the characters were bashing in their heads.

riot girls jocks
L-R: Atticus Mitchell
(CRACKER), Carson MacCormac (SPIT), Vinson Tran (KYLE). Photo by: Ian
Watson.

Perhaps with some additional character development, the movie would have been more effective. The foundations for interesting character dynamics are there — they simply aren’t developed. For example, the relationship between the two leads is compelling and a unique twist on a trope common to the genre. Sadly, this part of the film feels more like an afterthought than a focus, preventing it from adding any real substance to the story.

The actors also try to give solid performances, although they are dragged down by the weak material. Madison Iseman and Paloma Kwiatkowski have great chemistry together and are, quite frankly, the only reason that this movie is worth watching. Iseman and Kwiatkowski both have a very natural screen presence and are able to deliver the lines, particularly the wittier ones, with ease. It’s a shame that they aren’t given more to do.

On a technical level, the film is so energetic that it becomes overwhelming. Although the movie can’t be faulted for lack of ambition, that ambition never pays off. Instead, the film feels like the unholy child of multiple different styles, from steampunk to retro to comic book. Because of this major identity crisis, the movie is not particularly pleasant to look at, and as such, becomes even less fun.

Riot Girls had a lot of potential, but it was wasted on a bland script and over-the-top execution. Unfortunately, this film will likely only appeal to a teen audience, many of whom won’t be old enough to buy a ticket because of the graphic violence it contains.

Riot Girls hits theaters and VOD on September 13.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Pen15: Season 2 Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original

There’ve been some developments. Pen15 Season 2 premieres September 18, only on Hulu. Season 1 is now streaming! ABOUT PEN15 Pen15 is an R-rated “traumedy” set in middle school as it really happened in the year 2000. Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine play versions of themselves as thirteen year old outcasts, surrounded by actual thirteen…

The 100 | Season 7 Episode 10 | Broadcasting From The Palace Scene | The CW

Stream new episodes of The 100 Thursdays free only on The CW: http://go.cwtv.com/genHNDyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About THE 100: The human race returns, after a 97-year exile in space, to a wildly transformed Earth...only to discover that the human race had never truly left. Clarke found herself forced to lead a band of disposable juvenile delinquents…

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark Podcast: Episode 6 | It’s Chaos, Be Kind (with Kris Pedretti) | HBO

Nancy Miller talks to activist and survivor Kris Pedretti about her own discovery of the GSK’s capture. The pair discuss Kris’ decision to share her story, the survivors’ support network, and her reflections on the recent GSK hearing. Series directors Liz Garbus and Elizabeth Wolff remember Michelle McNamara’s healing mantra. #HBO #IllBeGoneInTheDark Subscribe to HBO…

ASMR from Homecoming Season 1 | Amazon Prime Video

These are the satisfying sounds from Homecoming season 1. Get ready for all of the ASMR tingles. About Homecoming: The critically-acclaimed series Homecoming returns for its second season with new twists and an exciting new star, Janelle Monáe. Her character wakes in a rowboat adrift a lake, with no memory of how she got there…

Rafting | World’s Toughest Race

While navigating the rapids of the Navua River in Fiji, in the World’s Toughest Race athletes have to furiously paddle if they’re going to stay in their boat, and make it to the end. From the creator of Survivor, 66 teams descend upon Fiji to compete in the most epic global adventure race ever attempted.…

Dead Pixels | Legendary | Season Trailer | The CW

Dead Pixels premieres Tuesday, August 18. Stream next day free only on CW Seed! SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico.…

New on HBO Max | August 2020

A new month means additional shows and movies filled with action, drama, and so much more! What are you most excited to see this August on HBO Max? Subscribe: http://bit.ly/HBOMaxYouTube Be the first to know more: HBO Max: https://hbom.ax/YT Like HBO Max on Facebook: http://bit.ly/HBOMaxFacebook Follow HBO Max on Twitter: http://bit.ly/HBOMaxTwitter Follow HBO Max on…

The Undoing: Official Teaser | HBO

Status cannot protect secrets. Uncover the mystery with The Undoing, premiering October 25. The limited series The Undoing, premiering October 25th , stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Grace and Jonathan Fraser, who are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. Overnight a chasm opens in their lives: a violent death and…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here