Riki- Oh: The Story Of Ricky

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & blu- ray -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

1982 | 18 | Dual- for­mat Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: Paul Schrader Cast: Nas­tassja Kin­ski, Mal­colm McDow­ell, An­nette O’Toole, John Heard, Ruby Dee, Ed Be­g­ley Jr

Paul

Schrader’s re­make of 1942’ s Cat Peo­ple is a deeply ’ 80s cover ver­sion, trad­ing the am­bigu­ous shad­ows and whis­per­ing men­ace of the orig­i­nal for some­thing de­cid­edly louder, al­to­gether less sub­tle.

It’s not only the puls­ing Gior­gio Moroder synth score and sepul­chral croon of the Bowie ti­tle song that puts you in mind of vin­tage MTV: Schrader shoots this gory tale of shapeshift­ing killers with all the sur­face sheen of the early mu­sic video era – mist, crim­son fil­ters, icy fash­ion shoot eroti­cism.

And vis­ually there’s much to savour. There are some fine make- up ef­fects and a mem­o­rably hal­lu­cino­genic “Catvi­sion” se­quence where a bare­naked Nas­tassja Kin­ski hunts neon- coloured wood­land an­i­mals. Schrader’s clearly in­fat­u­ated with his star, wor­ship­ping her full- lipped Euro­pean smoul­der in ev­ery frame, but there are times when it feels less like a love let­ter and more like a stalker’s note.

Ul­ti­mately the glossy, arty stylings clash with the lurid schlock of it all. It’s pot­boiler non­sense at heart – SEE! A half- naked hooker mauled by a leop­ard be­fore your very eyes! – and when the film throws self- con­sciously ’ 80s poses it feels like noth­ing so much as an episode of Man­i­mal with pre­ten­sions.

The DVD com­men­tary’s AWOL, but you do get in­ter­views with Kin­ski, O’Toole, Heard, McDow­ell, Lowry, Moroder and Schrader ( 49 min­utes), plus gal­leries and trail­ers. Nick Setch­field The pro­duc­tion team used cougars that had been dyed black, be­cause ap­par­ently pan­thers are im­pos­si­ble to train.

Jail­house Schlock

Re­lease Date: 8 June

1991 | 18 | Dual- for­mat Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: Ngai Choi Lam Cast: Fan Siu Wong, Fan Mei Sheng, Ho Ka Kui, Oshima Yukari

If you’re

weak- stom­ached, stop read­ing right now. De­spite the fact that Riki- Oh is a mar­tial arts movie, it’s so vi­o­lent the ac­tion of­ten feels less like Street Fighter and more like Hell­raiser. There’s fre­quently more blood in one punch than the en­tire gore- geyser in Army Of Dark­ness. The squea­mish will spend so much time hid­ing be­hind their hands they’ll de­velop palm- read­ing skills.

The plot – in a dystopian fu­ture, our su­per- strong hero goes to pri­son for vig­i­lante- re­lated an­tics and finds he has to fight most of the in­mates – is re­ally just an ex­cuse to link some of the most grue­somely over- the- top punch- scenes in cinema his­tory. The vi­o­lence is imag­i­na­tive, var­ied and ridicu­lous: in one early scene, a fighter cuts out his own in­testines so he can at­tempt to stran­gle his op­po­nent. That’s the level of insanity we’re deal­ing with.

By nor­mal movie stan­dards, Riki- Oh is about as far from per­fec­tion as an ac­tion star’s hair­cut – it’s episodic, and full of per­for­mances that Lloyd Kauf­man would re­ject for be­ing too car­toony – but for gore geeks and fun fa­nat­ics, it’s par­adise chopped into chunky pieces of flesh drip­ping with blood and gris­tle.

A newly- re­stored HD mas­ter is the main rea­son to up­grade. The old DVD ex­tras have been car­ried over: stunt­man/ critic com­men­tary, an in­ter­view with the star, a short clip of him do­ing some movies, and trail­ers. Sam Ashurst The film is weird, but the orig­i­nal manga is even weirder – in that, Riki- Oh is a de­scen­dant of Adolf Hitler.

Luis Suarez had left his mark.

“Hang on, I’m wear­ing this?!”

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