The Story of Ricky (1991)

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (also known as Story of Ricky; Chinese: 力王) is a 1991 Hong Kong martial arts film written and directed by Lam Nai-choi, and based on the Japanese manga Riki-Oh by Masahiko Takajo and Saruwatari Tetsuya. The film stars Fan Siu-wong, Fan Mei-sheng (Siu-wong's real life father), Ho Ka-kui and Yukari Oshima. The live action Ricki movie is basically an international production. Its not often that you see this happen. The only other time I can think of, off the top, is the live action SHAMO film.

            Merry Christmas retro surfers! I was on my way to review an 80s holiday film and bring in the Seasons Greetings with style. However, I took a dark turn down an alley and parked in front of a hole in wall DVD shop and decided to scavenge through the aisles of yesteryear. A little bit of this and some of that and abracadabra here we are at our destination.

            The Story of Ricki is the story of a young talented and slightly super powered martial artist named Ricky who ends up in prison for unknown reasons and soon discovers the horrors and social Darwinism of life behind bars. The prison is ruled by a corrupt warden and kept under thumb by his four enforces, each controlling a different wing of the institution. Prison can be the kind of place where helping out a weaker inmate just opens up the shooting gallery on your head and that is exactly what happens to Ricki. All eyes are on him.


            I guess I have to comment on the production value. Well the remastering of the film itself does make the overall budget looks better. I mean its not a terrible Ed Woodesque production but, you can and will notice the occasional cardboard wall and Styrofoam head. The fight scenes are more anime style than Shaw Brothers, similar to fights from Yu Yu Hakusho (1992-95) or Evil Dragon War Chronicles (魔龍戦紀 1987-89). Cinematography is just as serviceable. Dialogue is cookie cutter and possibly straight from the source material directly; although, I doubt that. The wire work is obvious as well.


            Riki-Oh's Category III rating (the Hong Kong equivalent of an NC-17) greatly inhibited its ability to make money at the box office. It was one of the first Hong Kong movies that used Category 3 film rating system for non-erotic media. It grossed $2,147,778 HKD in Hong Kong.


            Ricki is violent and filled with gore; in fact rivers of gore are a plenty in this film. The biggest selling point is how over the top and completely absurd the violence is. At some point in the film an antagonist literally has his jaw ripped from his face by an uppercut and its glorious. So glorious, you dont even mind the fact that he delivers a few lines of dialogue right after, How? I have no clue how. But, who cares. Go Ricki!


 This version you are about to click on looks a bit like one of the remasters of the film. 


            From my memory, I believe Golden Harvest released an older version to VHS. There have been recent reissues and a Blu-ray release, even an airing or two on cables Turner Classic Movie channel. So there is a good chance you can own this mofo and add it to your collection by any means necessary.

            Now take off your shoes and sit back and go to jail with Ricki-Oh. Merry Christmas to the entire Retro Wave community and stay fit, stay smart and keep that fruit cocktail cool next to the rewind button.