Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

on August 09, 1991 by Charles Martin
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Some films obtain classic status by being intensely memorable. Some achieve it by taking the audience to places never experienced before. Still others get there by perfecting each element of the film. Here we have one that does it all, and you will never look at kung-fu movies the same way again. "Riki-Oh" is a breathtakingly funny but shockingly ultra-violent action movie based on a Japanese comic book. The film successfully manages to reach insane levels of violence and gore undreamed of in even Herschell Gordon Lewis' wildest imaginings.

This is one of those films where the plot never gets in the way of the story. Our hero, Ricky, is unjustly incarcerated, ultra-strong and almost always shirtless. He encounters an absolutely unforgettable assistant warden (whose office is lined with pornography and who keeps breath mints inside his glass eye!), four super-powered crime bosses and, ultimately, the warden of the privatized jail for the ultimate showdown. The stupidity of the plot is matched only by that of the characters and the increasingly bizarre nature of their conflicts. One of the many highlights of the film occurs when Ricky, badly injured in a fight, reties his own exposed tendons with his teeth in order to continue fighting.

Each shot in the film is so action-packed you almost forget to blink or breathe in for fear of missing something. Every moment is filled to the brim with outlandish looks, inscrutable dialogue and some of the most inventive violence ever seen on screen. The hilariously bad dubbing only accentuates the cartoonish nature of the over-the-top visuals and performances. "Riki-Oh" is a film that, once seen, will never be forgotten; any movie that depicts a dying opponent reaching into his own ripped-open stomach in an attempt to strangle his foe with his intestines is apt to leave an indelible imprint.

Starring Oshima Yukari and Siu-Wang Fan

Directed by Lan Nai-Kai

Produced by Chow Jan Tung

No distributor set

Action. Japanese-language; dubbed

Not yet rated

Running time: 90 min

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