This week I decided I would revisit an old classic of foreign cinema. Actually, classic may not be the best word for it. It is however, a brilliant piece of Hong Kong camp cinema coming out of the early 90s. Based on a Japanese manga, Riki-Oh (The Story of Ricky) is guaranteed to satisfy any B-movie fan who likes his bad films to be both ridiculous and gory.
Though the overall plot of the film is completely secondary to the fun within, but as a matter of course I should probably relate the general outline. It is the “distant” future of 2001 and the prison system has become privatized. Ricky, our hero, gets thrown into jail for the murder of the crime lord that killed his girlfriend. While in prison, Ricky manages to make enemies of pretty much everyone. The main bad guy, the Warden, tries to get rid of Ricky by pitting him against various enemies and death traps, all of which the hero manages to defeat in one way or another.
The fun of Riki-Oh doesn’t really come from the plot. The best reason to watch this film is to see the ludicrous ultra-violence that permeates it as Ricky fights the bad guys and avoids death. At one point, Ricky gets attacked by someone using his own intestines as a weapon. He also has a tendency to knock body parts off of people when he hits them. And, of course, there is the infamous exploding head scene that made its viral rounds some time ago.
If you’re a fan of the camp and goofy, unrealistic gore, Riki-Oh is a win. Be prepared for some seriously bad dubbing though. There’s really no point in trying to watch this one with subtitles, since it will distract you from the action on-screen. Also, I find that the bad dubbing adds to the film’s unique “charm”.
Here’s a video with some of the best bits from the movie. If after seeing this you’re not convinced that this is one of the coolest B-movies in the world, you should probably avoid it, cause it’s just an hour-plus more of the same.