Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991) - Lam Nai-choi Cantonese with subs


Plot - This is the year 2001......um, huh let's just call this the near future, where prisons have been privatised, are run as franchised businesses and are brutal and savage places. We start the film witnessing the arrival of a group of new inmates among them one Riki Oh. Riki is a new inmate, incarcerated for 10 years manslaughter for killing the mob boss responsible for the kidnap and death of his girlfriend, and he soon gets in trouble with the sadistic warden as well as the gangs that run the inside of the prison...

Thoughts - Well I wasn't expecting that.

I really wasn't expecting that.

Instead of an entertaining martial arts action film with improbable stunts I got a sleazy exploitation flick with insane violence and blood-letting that could have originated from the crazed mind of Corman or any one of a number of directors from America in the '70s instead of Golden Harvest more well known for the Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan films. We have grotesque parodies of characters from the seemingly indestructible lead character to the gang leaders to the warden and guards and an insane amount of gore and nonsense.

In many ways this is a terrible film. The story is wafer thin, scenes transition from one to another with sometimes no narrative thread whatsoever, the acting and dialogue is atrocious - they're really, really awful, the characters are barely two dimensional let alone anything more and yet.....

.....I kind of really enjoyed it. We have a scene where Riki punches the top half of someone's head off, where a character responding to the fact that all the tendons in his arm have been severed decides to, mid-fight, tie them together with his teeth and it works. He then proceeds to punch off a body part of the offending prisoner. Limbs get cut off, eyeball are popped out and sometimes in again, people are decapitated by being punched through the gut, nonsensical kung fu is performed and it's all played I think pretty straight. This film provided the rare example of something being so bad it became good, or it just so astonished me at how outrageous it was I couldn't help but warm to it.