ASIAN FILM - Review
11:00 - 12th July 2015, by Calum Waddell

Riki-Oh

The Category III boom (basically adult-orientated genre cinema from Hong Kong) was in full swing by the time Riki-Oh (AKA The Story of Ricky) arrived in 1991. Subverting the familiar ‘women in prison’ B-movie template by focusing on muscular males behind-bars, the hyper-violent shocker was something of a revelation.

Although Cantonese cinema had touched on this sort of thing before, most notably with Chow Yun Fat’s Prison on Fire franchise, Riki-Oh proved to be an altogether different proposition. This was full blown, boundary-breaking, hack ‘em up horror cinema – and, in its own way, arguably one of the chief achievements of the island’s celluloid during this period. Directed by the ex-Shaw Brothers hand Lam Ngai Kai, who had helmed another Category III classic in the shape of Erotic Ghost Story (1990), and adapted from a brutal Japanese manga, Riki-Oh features so much gore that only the strongest of stomachs are advised to apply. The muscular Louis Fan Siu-wong (later from the Ip Man movies) plays Ricky, a man sentenced to ten years in a futuristic, and hellish, prison. Unfortunately for the fascist wardens and their colleagues, Ricky is impervious to pain, and destroys every opponent he is faced with. Although the violence is largely played for laughs, such sequences as Ricky tying a knot in his exposed arm-arteries – or a rotund bully having his eye pierced with a spike – are surprisingly nasty. All told, though, Riki-Oh remains a lot of fun and the end result is one of the most audaciously entertaining Category III capers. Once seen it can never be forgotten!

If you don’t mind lots of latex wounds, lopped-off limbs and spurting splatter, Riki-Oh is for you. A gross-out masterpiece.
SCORE: 5/5
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