5/27/10

Ladies Night Presents Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)

 Once a Month, T.L. Bugg takes a day off and hands the keys of the Lair over to his lovely wife, Miss Directed, and best friend, Fran Goria. The Ladies of the Lair take this chance to shine a spotlight on some of the best and worst films out there, and you never know what might happen when it's Ladies Night! Take it away Fran....


Ricki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991) Director: Ngai Kai Lam Writers: Tetsya Sarauwatas (manga), Ngai Kai Lam Starring: Siu- Wong Fan, Mei Sheng Fan, Yukari Oshima, and Ka-Kui-Hu

Ricky-Oh is a martial artist with super human strength. Ricky-Oh will only fight if words will not resolve the situation. After his girlfriend, Ying, witnesses a drug deal, she is held captive by the gang. She becomes so terrified that she jumps out of a window and falls to her death. Ricky-Oh seeks vengeance for his girl’s death, and he kills the crime boss responsible. As a result, he receives a ten year prison sentence for manslaughter.     Way back in 2001, prisons became privatized. Ricky-Oh is serving his sentence at Warden Sugiyama’s prison. Ricky-Oh must now overthrow the tyrannical warden and his pornaholic assistant, defeat the dreaded Gang of Four, stop an illegal opium farm, rally the inmates, and save the day. Did I mention the ass-kicking? Ricky-Oh must also kick ass.


Riki-Oh was a lovely film about fighting the establishment with super human strength and good old-fashioned kung fu. I quite liked watching the film. It is a must see for anyone who likes martial arts films mixed with pure campy goodness. From Ricky-Oh tying the tendons in his arm together with his teeth, to him punching an opponent’s lower jaw off, I was hooked. With that being said, this is turning out to be a difficult review for me to write. On the one hand, I adored the film, and on the other, I just don’t know what to say about it. Ricky-Oh shows up and kicks lots of glorious ass. The blood is beautiful and plentiful, and the English dubbing is a good time to be had by all. However, this alone does not make for a passable review. So I’m just going to jump in and see what does, or does not, happen.

When the film was originally released in Hong Kong, it received the dreaded Category III rating, due to its violence. Riki-Oh was the first non pornographic film to receive the rating. I have to say that I am a bit surprised by this. Okay, yes, there is some violence. Yes, there is blood and gore, but the effects are not great. I’m not sure if anyone else knows this or not, but in a porn film, the sex is real. Those actors are really having sex with each other. At no point in Riki-Oh did I think it was real. I did not believe, or even suspect, that the actor playing Riki-Oh could actually punch his fist through a dude’s chest. Nor did I think he could crush a skull with only his deadly, deadly hands. The point is, it is a shame that such a fun film got such a severe rating upon release. Although, the rating caused poor box office sales, it did not keep Riki-Oh from gaining a cult following. One good thing that has come from the Category III rating is that without it, this paragraph would have never happened.

Riki-Oh was a super fun film. I had seen clips of it here and there, but never knew the title. I was pleasantly surprised when T.L. presented it for Ladies Night. Now I can’t speak for Ms. Directed, but I had a great time watching it. The special effects were cheesy, the dubbing was bad, the action was way over the top, and it was AWESOME! I loved every bit of it. I look forward to watching it again, and I’m sure I will love it just as much as I do now. I cannot think of a single part of the film that brought me down. It started strong, stayed consistent, and finished strong. I should warn every one now, that the fun I had watching Riki-Oh has affected my rating by at least 1.

Fist Rating





We all have very strange talents. Some woman can put a cherry stem in their mouth and tie it into a little bow. I’ve tried that trick, and all I ever spit out is a bent up cherry stem. What I can do is remember very stupid things I have seen on T.V. I never thought this would come in handy until I started writing for the The Lair. Now it is, believe it or not, one of my most treasured skills. I’ll get back to that later. We take turns picking films for Ladies Night with it rotating between Fran, me, and the Bugg.  I always get a little scared with it’s his turn. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but he watches some crazy crap. Some months he has been overruled. After all, it’s called Ladies Night. Today’s film was the Bugg’s pick, and I was relieved when he told us we would be reviewing Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

I had never seen Riki-Oh, but I had heard lots about it. Sometimes when I watch a movie that has been hyped to me, it’s just not as impressive as everyone made it out to be. Thankfully The Story of Ricky was all it claimed to be and a bag of chips.  The movie took everything that is awesome about anime, made it live action, and they left the creepy tentacles at home.  There’s so much great about Riki-Oh that it’s hard to know where to start. First off, it’s a story set in a prison, something I more often than not enjoy. I have always found prison is a great setting for action movies because it is the ultimate fight against authority.  The bad guys run the prison, the warden runs the bad guys, and the poor inmates have to take the scraps. These are some super special bad guys though.  Think marital arts super villains that are named after old movie serial characters, my favorite being Tarzan.  

Ricky gets sent to jail because he was avenging his girlfriend’s death by drug lords. In all the flash backs, she seemed to be a real wet blanket, but a Riki has to do what a Riki has to do.  Here’s where the tone of the movie gets messed up in fantastic way. On one hand you have our hero fighting of hordes of anime-esque super villains. On the other hand, Riki becomes more of a sissy with every scene. For heavens sake, playing a flute wasn’t enough, he had to play a leaf. It was like someone in Japan said, “I like that High Plains Drifter movie. You know what would be badass, lets make a similar movie but instead of Clint playing a harmonica, we’ll give our guy a leaf.“ All I can say is thank you Japan. 

This is a movie you will want tell you will want to tell your friends about.  The mix of the crazy story, and the over the top practical effects make this one of the most entertaining films I have seen in a while. Now, back to my special talent. While watching the Riki-Oh, there is a scene where a fellow smashes the head off an unfortunate gentleman, and I knew I had seen it somewhere before. Then it occurred to me, that cut was used in the opening of the 5 Questions segment on the Daily Show back when it was hosted by Craig Kilborn. So even if you haven’t seen the film, if you’re a Comedy Central fan there’s a good chance that you’ve seen that clip somewhere along the line. Down below the trailer, I’m going to embed the clip of the head explosion right under it. Overall, I thought Riki-Oh was really entertaining, and it was just the type of film that you want to invite your friends over to watch. 

Fist Rating



5 comments:

  1. Awesome review, ladies. I've heard of this film before and have been recommended to see it. Those gore effects look tremedously silly! Now beacuse of you guys I HAVE to see it. Thanks!

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  2. I love this movie!! Thanks for reviewing it!

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  3. Joe Monster, yes, you HAVE to see it. It is a must!
    Gore-Gore girl, I'm glad to see another lady loving this film! Thanks for reading.

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  4. This movie has the craziest gore, but its so cartoony that you just have fun with it. Like that scene where a guy gets shredded to smithereens when he gets caught in this giant fan thing...wow that was crazy!

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  5. I hadnt even heard of this one until a friend dropped it off for me, and said "You HAVE to see this. NOW."

    Amazing. Glad to see another awesome review up for it!

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