RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY (1991)

Starburst Magazine - - Reviews - JOEL HAR­LEY

BD / CERT: 18 / DI­REC­TOR & SCREEN­PLAY: NGAI CHOI LAM (SI­MON NAM) / STAR­RING: SIU-WONG FAN, MEI SHENG FAN, KA-KUI HO / RE­LEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Riki-Oh, what a time we live in. In an age where ev­ery old cult genre movie is get­ting a spe­cial edi­tion Blu-ray re-re­lease with all of the trim­mings, The Most In­sane Prison Movie Ever Made fi­nally gets its shiny up­grade.

Dropped in a prison full of sadis­tic gov­er­nors, war­dens and inmates, buff su­per­man Riki (Fan) is sys­tem­at­i­cally tor­tured and abused by a se­ries of ever-wors­en­ing an­tag­o­nists. Thank­fully, Riki him­self is no de­fence­less To­bias Beecher – in­deed, to para­phrase Watch­men’s Rorschach, one quickly be­gins to get the sense that he’s not locked in there with them, but rather... well, you get the idea. Given the amount of walls Riki punches his op­po­nents through and things (mostly bod­ies, ad­mit­tedly) he tears apart with his bare hands, it’s ev­i­dent from the off that Riki could prob­a­bly just punch his way out of prison were he so in­clined.

Thank­fully for us, the oiled mus­cle­man seems con­tent to wait and re­act, the prison giv­ing him no short­age of things to punch off or through in de­fence of ei­ther him­self or oth­ers. The film’s rep­u­ta­tion is true; pack­ing an in­cred­i­ble level of gore and vi­o­lence (think the likes of Brain­dead and Evil Dead 2), it’s at once ex­hil­a­rat­ing and re­pul­sive, the prison movie The Hu­man Cen­tipede 3 wishes it was. If Riki is an un­der­writ­ten blank slate of a hero, its vil­lains are a won­der­ful set of malev­o­lent mon­sters, rang­ing from bulky hench­men to grue­some glut­tons and... well, what­ever the gov­er­nor is! Bill Boss, eat your heart out.

There have been DVD re­leases be­fore, but the film has never been as clear as in Medi­um­rare’s Blu-ray (and stan­dard def­i­ni­tion DVD) restora­tion. The blood and gore pops from the screen just like the eye­balls and body parts. An in­ter­view, com­men­tary and a fea­turette aside, it’s a lit­tle pal­try when it comes to spe­cial fea­tures though, mak­ing it a less com­pre­hen­sive re­lease than it could have been.

Apart from those small nig­gles, (and bear­ing in mind that this isn’t ev­ery­one’s cup of tea) The Story of Ricky is a fan­tas­tic re-emer­gence of one of cult cinema’s most ex­cit­ing flavours. Riki-Oh, you’re so fine.

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