This is a soap opera that stands at a distance from its characters (that distance being the length of a lawyer's briefcase) and, though handsome and capable, feels as inert as mannequins in a shop window.
Ford is hilarious and brooding, deeply wrinkled and deeply intimidating. He's got the best lines, courtesy of screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (of the repellent "27 Dresses" and the much better "The Devil Wears Prada").
Jones delivers her line readings so robotically that even her truths sound like lies. She's got the look of a Hitchcock blonde, and the movements of a deer in the headlights. Even her kisses look fake.
The script is ridiculous, the bodies are great and the film skates so long on the line between knowingly bad and bad that by the time the body count hits 100 and the booby count hits 1000, we've lost track of the difference.
A movie that overrules logic irritates its audience; we don't like to be reminded that there's a writer pulling the strings. And here, the POV horror is a conceit as well as a distraction, a crutch to create suspense from shaky, dark footage.
Is the result - a slapstick, bizarro melodrama where Ferrell plays the Mexican born and bred scion of a wealthy farmer - meant more for Spanish speakers or stoned and giggly Americans? It's a tough call.
Why is Emmerich elbowing his way into the conversation about Shakespearean authorship? Because the debate is explosive - and he can't resist packing on a few more pounds of dynamite on his confident drama of incest, greed and beheadings.
The only reason to root for Riddick is that his name is on the ticket stub. But he's so dull and the hunters so weird that we're literally cheering for the movie to kill off its personality, one throat slash at a time.