Riki- Oh: The Story Of Ricky
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
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.
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
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?!”