Martial Arts
The Story of Ricky - aka Riki Oh
Dir: Simon Lam
Star: Siu-Wong Fan, Yukari Oshima, Frankie Chan
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1991
Format: DVD R2

Mysteriously empowered "good guy" Riki Oh (Siu-Wong Fan) is sent to prison after avenging the death of his girlfriend at the hands of a drug dealer (despite being shot in the chest several times in the process). Upon reaching the prison he discovers injustice and rampant bullying are rife, at the hands of a band of ruthless inmates with certain talents, known as "The Gang of Four". They rule the prison with homicidal dedication in an attempt to protect the illicit drug business run by the sinister warden and his cycloptic assistant. Determined to combat the corrupt officials and the super powered "Gang of Four", Riki embarks upon a deadly vendetta mission to bring them all down and save his fellow prisoners. Using his enviable prowess in the martial arts combined with his uncanny super powers, Riki sets off a vicious and bloody chain of events with only one possible conclusion......

Due to it's excessive violence and gore, Riki Oh was the first Hong Kong cinema offering to achieve an 18 rating without having scenes of a sexual nature. You get the feeling that this is merely a clumsy fusion of Hong Kong style martial arts with low budget schlock gore and splatter. Not a film to recommend to anyone of a sensitive or squemish disposition as it delves deep into the gore buckets of Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi to gross effect. The first couple of instances appear quite hilarious in their over the top ridiculousness but the charm rapidly diminishes and they start to grate and generally spoil what would otherwise be some technically well choreographed martial arts, not to mention detract somewhat from the rest of the film. The fights are generally well paced but are ultimately very silly and at times quite farcical as the director attempts to literally translate the film from the original Manga comic. Most of the performances appear quite poor as they are very cheesy and corny. Relative newcomer Siu-Wong Fan displays great agility and gymnastic dexterity in his role as Riki and even provides perhaps the best performance, which admittedly isn't particuarly difficult.

One of those quite ridiculous little films that will undoubtably appeal to the beer & pizza brand of gore and splatter fans, but offers little to appeal to the hardcore martial arts or Hong Kong cinema afficianados. Riki Oh has little in way of a real story and suspension of disbelief would be better lubricated if not fuelled entirely by alcohol to assist enjoyment. About as far removed from a serious film as you could get in fact. The Fight scenes descend into rubber limb and gallons of spurting / gushing fake blood hell and what tension is broken by fake eyeballs popping out and rolling across the floor or flying across the room. The titular character posesses superhuman strength and an uncanny mastery of the martial arts in addition to extra "powers", none of which are explained or their origins explored (Unless you have read the original comic). Neither is the strange "Uncle Ghost" character who appears and disappears suddenly without really serving a particular purpose. In addition to the mysterious abilities of the film's hero Riki, the origins and equally implausible / fantastic abilities of his adversaries are also never explained. Riki is also capable of repairing a mortal wound by reaching in, tying the veins together which makes the wound miraculously heal up as good as new.

Despite being shot in a distinct Manga comic stylee this isn't a particuarly impressive film. But, it is dark, highly cult arguably comedic and undoubtably has quite a following. Riki Oh is a gore soaked melee of a film with a swiss cheese plot that you just can't take seriously. For maximum enjoyment though add several friends, copious amounts of alcohol, plenty of corn chips and savoury dips, leave brain at the door and entertainment is virtually guaranteed.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Glitz's say:

This is a public warning, the Story of Ricky is without doubt a truly awful movie.

Mixing martial arts with gore in a live action Manga style requires both more money and talent than is displayed here. In fact live action Manga so far hasn't a good record. Maybe its because the scope of Manga animation just can't be captured within any sane budget. However whatever the reason this film must take the credit as being the worst attempt to date.

Lets start at the beginning. The story revolves around the mullet haired Ricky a man who can punch through concrete (or people) and whose Martial arts power, learnt from the ghost of his uncle, can defeat death (so why is his uncle dead then?). Ok pretty daft but go on. He is placed in prison where cruelty is the norm. In fact they have cells which fill full of concrete and ones where the roof can squash the prisoners. Ok so that makes little sense but stick with me here. Enforcing the rules of the governor (who can turn into a monster) are four super martial artists. These include one who throws knitting needles, a gay one who has a single death blow, and a giant with a huge pitch fork. Ok lets stop its getting silly. As you can see the story is a ridiculous pile of utter toss that makes little or no sense (Ricky gets mad a one point when the warden threatens his girlfriend, even though she is dead!!!).

But wait we haven't talked about the gore yet. Never in the history gore movies has anything been so distasteful yet so pathetic. Yes it may have been worth commenting on the unnecessary gore if it hadn't been so badly implemented. The effects are so poor that they make the Teletubbies look like reality television. They are bad, bad, bad, bad. I would go on but it really isn't worth it and I think you get the idea. This is coupled with the fact is that all of the fights are the same, consisting as they do of two punches and pile of exploding body parts.

There have been loads of good B movie prison dramas, and this isn't one of them. It takes a stock prison story and ruins it with amateur effects, poor acting and direction, and the stupidest story ever. This is one redeeming feature though, and that is there is fun to be had laughing at how bad this all is. So if you are in the mood get your mates round have a few beers and get ready for a good laugh. Anyone sane or sober should give in a wide berth.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Picture 16.9 Widescreen Good quality image
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good quality soundtrack
Features Cool animated menu
Audio commentary by Jude Poyer (Hong Kong stuntman) and Miles Wood (film critic)
"Rising Star" - cool subtitled interview with the film's star Siu-Wong Fan
Trailer gallery - UK Promo & original Theatrical trailer
"Martial Hero" - Short film of martial arts Kata's performed by Siu-Wong Fan
The obligatory Hong Kong Legend Trailer showcase
Verdict Not a bad disc overrall. What extras you get are pretty cool but a commentary track by the stars or director would have been more interesting. Pretty cool menu though.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home