Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is a special kind of film. The hero Ricky punches through dudes, decapitates his enemies with open fist blows, and can crush guys heads like he’s popping a zit. Based on a Japanese manga, which then developed into an animated series and finally this live action film, Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is probably one of the most comically gonzo, graphically gory features I’ve seen. The movie, set in 2001, begins as we learn prisons have been privatized, and are run as franchised businesses, and we witness the arrival of a group of new inmates. Ricky is sent to prison for killing the thugs who kidnapped his girlfriend after she witnessed a drug deal and jumped off a roof to escape said thugs.
The Story of Ricky is the average tale of one strong, noble man that has the courage to stand up to the evil, and oppressive authority. This jail consists of four divisions, each with one leader. All of those leaders are quite brutal and they give Ricky, who stands up against them, quite the hard time. I’d probably go to the movies more often if American studios produced flicks like the Story of Ricky. There is nothing else like this on the face of the earth. The truth is, this is a horrible movie, but it’s just SO gory, and SO bad, that it is something that fans of bad movies just must watch.
The cells aren’t locked, and murder seems encouraged. At one point, you have to wonder if this is how our prison systems are actually perceived. This might not be the smartest propaganda film in history, but that’s exactly what makes it so entertaining. The downside is that the film was released by the Tokyo Shock studio – a studio synonymous with terrible VHS-quality transfers, distorted sound, and no worthwhile extras. But like I said, Citizen Kane got nothin’ on Ricky Oh.
I always wished someone would make a live action Ninja Scroll, and this is the closest I have seen. With alarmingly frequent eye-gougings, dogs kicked in half, and faces reduced to fist-shaped craters, this movie really must be seen to be believed. The special effects alone are to be commended for their almost intentional unreality. I won’t get into plot or expound upon characters, but what I will say is this movie has the joy of being in a very small category of films that are ‘so bad, they are actually good’. Invite some friends over and let the fun begin. Just don’t eat a lot beforehand.