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Riki-Oh
Directed by Lam Ngai Kai
Starring Fan Siu Wong
Mei Sheng Fan
Ka-Kui Ho
Yukari Oshima
Frankie Chen
Distributed by Golden Harvest
Release date(s) 1991
Running time 91 min.
Country Hong Kong / Japan
Language Cantonese
Gross revenue $2,147,778 HKD

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (力王 Lik Wong [Strength King]) is a 1991 Hong Kong film directed by Lam Ngai Kai, based on the Japanese comic book Riki-Oh by Masahiko Takajo and Saruwatari Tetsuya. It stars Fan Siu Wong as Ricky Ho Lik Wong (Lik Wong is the character's given name, but the subtitles use the anglicized "Ricky") and Yukari Oshima as Yomi (Rogan in the English dub). The English title given on screen is simply Story of Ricky but later releases were sold under the title Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky. It had a limited theatrical release in the US around 1993. It is well-known for its extreme, brutal, and highly unrealistic violence. One scene, showing a character crushing another character's skull with his bare hands, later became a regular fixture on The Daily Show during Craig Kilborn's time as the host.

A sequel, titled Dint King, Inside King (aka, Story of Ricky 2 or Super Powerful Man) was allegedly released on video in Hong Kong around 2003-2005. The film was never released in the United States or in Europe, but is available on DVD (without English subtitles) through Panorama Entertainment. The film follows the events that take place in the manga after Ricky breaks out of prison, though apparently no mention is made of this. Oddly, and possibly due to rights issues, the film is built as a stand alone project despite casting Terry Fan Sui Wong in the title role. Even the characters have different names (Ricky's name is He Shen in this film). Fan even sports the camouflage poncho seen in flashbacks and in the manga.

Contents

Plot

The plot closely follows the events depicted in the original Japanese comic and its anime adaptation, with some minor modifications in certain instances.

The opening narration reveals that in 2001, all government institutions, including the prisons, have been privatized. Ricky Ho, a martial arts expert and former music student, arrives at a prison to serve a ten year sentence for manslaughter after attacking the man who was indirectly responsible for his girlfriend Ying's (Gloria Yip) death. Flashback scenes reveal that a group of thugs had captured her after she had witnessed their heroin deal. Ying was so scared in captivity that she ran upstairs and then leapt off the roof to her death.

Ricky soon becomes involved in fights with other prisoners and the fearsome "Gang of Four", a group of thugs who each control a wing of the prison. The Gang of Four are backed up by the sadistic, one-eyed assistant warden in their quest to defeat Ricky. The Gang of Four illegally grow opium for profit in a secret section of the prison. The arrival of the warden and his overweight son from vacation in Hawaii only make matters worse. Ricky's martial arts skills allow him to defeat and violently kill his opponents one by one. A constant struggle between the warden and Ricky climaxes with a brutal fight that ends when Ricky throws the mutated warden into an industrial meat grinder. After Ricky topples the tyrant, he then breaks through the outside prisons wall, allowing the prisoners and himself go free. Ricky's moral refusal to fight back until forced draws out the conflicts.

Notable scenes

The film is notorious for its excessive use of graphic violence and gore. Aside from the aforementioned head crushing and meat grinding scenes, most notable is a fight scene between Ricky and a knife-wielding prisoner named Oscar. During the fight, Oscar slashes Ricky's right arm, but Ricky uses his teeth and left hand to tie the tendons together. Oscar charges at Ricky, but Ricky taps him on the back of the head, popping one of his eyes out. Seeing himself at a disadvantage, Oscar attempts suicide by disembowelment. However, when Ricky approaches Oscar to try and stop the suicide, Oscar grabs his own intestines and wraps them around Ricky's neck in an attempt to strangle him.

In another fight scene, Ricky lands an uppercut on a Gang of Four member with such force that his jaw is torn off his head.

The film's crude budget shows in the scene where Ricky's girlfriend Ying commits suicide. For this scene, a mannequin wearing her clothes is thrown off the top of the building.

Box office and reception

Riki-Oh's Category III rating (the Hong Kong equivalent of an NC-17) essentially destroyed its box office chances. It was one of the first Hong Kong movie that used Category 3 film rating system for non erotic media. It grossed $2,147,778 HKD in Hong Kong.

The film, however, has received surprisingly positive reviews overseas. Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice called the film "a rather astonishing, starkly stylized blood flood set inside a privatized prison."[1] Kurt Ramschissel of Film Threat gave the film 5 stars, saying that "the violence comes fast and furious and is just as outrageous and over-the-top as Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson ever were."[2] Rotten Tomatoes currently has the film rated at 89% fresh on their Tomatometer.[3]

Trivia

  • The X-ray punch is a small tribute to Sonny Chiba's The Street Fighter movie.
  • Japanese (she has a Japanese father and Chinese mother) martial arts actress Yukari Oshima plays an effeminate but male character in the feared "Gang of Four." She is dubbed with a male voice-over and has a fight scene with Ricky.

References

External links








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