A superhuman martial artist takes on the corrupt
officials of a private prison to liberate his fellow inmates.
Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)
Written and Directed by Ngai Choi Lam
Starring Fan Siu-wang, Fan Mui-sang, William Ho Kar-kui,
Chang Kau-wing, Chan Gwok-Bong, Chan Chi-leung, Chen Jing, Gwok Zen-fun, Wong Chi-leung, Wong Gwok-leung,
Wong Gwai-hung, Yukari Oshima, Gloria Yip Wan-yee
Based on the manga by Tetsuya Saruwatari and Masahiko Takajo
It’s 2001 and Capitalistic countries have privatized all government organizations. Prisons, like car parks, have become franchised business. This title card sets the stage for our introduction to our hero, Ricky Ho, who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter and assault. It is here he will have to deal with the Gang of Four that runs the North, South, East, and West sections of the prison and work directly for a crooked and sadistic Warden. In the annals of wild kung-fu movies, Riki-Oh is up there with some of the best.
As he comes to prison, Ricky disobeys the guards and sets off a metal detector prompting the guards to slam him against a metal detector revealing five bullets in his chest. When asked why he didn’t have them removed, Ricky replies, “They’re souvenirs.” Immediately setting the tone that Ricky is a bad motherfucker, but how did those bullets get there in the first place? Each of the four wings of the prison are controlled by a boss and Ricky first crosses Hai, leader of the North Wing, after he trips his captain Samuel in the shower, causing him to fall face first on a 2x4 studded with nails! Samuel strikes a deal with one of the guards to release Mad Dragon from isolation. This prisoner was put there after eating the warden’s horse and when you see him, you’ll see why. This drooling mountain of a man is put into the showers with Ricky to kill him, only to have Ricky punch a hole in his stomach, spilling his intestines out and killing him. Samuel tries to catch Ricky off guard but only gets a fist through his gut for his troubles. This is only the beginning and the action continues to spiral into the insane as the film cruises through its 90 minute runtime. Ricky punches and kicks his way through all of the Warden’s goons and inspires the downtrodden prisoners to rise up and help him defeat their oppressor. Along the way we learn how Ricky got those bullets in his chest and why he is so determined to bring the Warden and his prison down. It culminates in a wild showdown between Ricky and the Warden you will not soon forget.
I don’t want to give any more details away as this movie has to be seen to be believed because it is a howling good time. With characters like Cyclops, Wong Chun, Tarzan, White God, and Uncle Ghost, you know you’re in for a good time. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is a top notch kung fu flick and a stellar addition to my party movie library.