Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

An ingrown nail can be hazardous to your health.

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky
(1991)

Rating: ******
              4/6

Directed by Lam Nai-choi
Starring Louis Fan

How many films have you seen warm or iced
That were bloodier than the Passion of the Christ,
Or contained perhaps even more blood and gore
Than the infamous Rambo 4?
This is a film in which blood flows like honey,
And give the Saw movies a run for their money,
A film in which no grisly mess is verboten—
The kind revered by director Verhoeven.

The story originated with the Japanese,
And got this live-action Hong Kong release.
We see Louis Fan in his most famous role,
As a man named simply Riki-Oh.
Ricky’s a man who’s stronger than tanks,
Being blessed with superhuman strength.
His girlfriend was slain by scum,
So he goes to jail for killing them.

He’s sent to a prison that looks like a mall,
Yet this prison movie tops them all.
This prison is private and has all the charm
Of a rather large-scale opium farm,
A farm supervised by deadly brute killers,
Inmates as formidable as concrete human pillars.
The guards are just there to keep people from leaving.
There is no escape. It’s faulty believing.

A good, balanced diet is the key to great health and strength.

This is the place where Ricky will spend his days,
And on his very first day there he starts making waves.
He sets off the metal detectors on entry,
And it’s discovered five bullets long ago made an entry
Into his rippling and muscular chest.
“Souveniers,” he said, when asked about this.
That night he knocks a hole in the wall of his cell,
And goes out exploring to see if all’s well.

Even Assistant Wardens are born evil.

Nobody knows it, but he has an intent.
He isn’t there by accident.
He heard a rumour of this place,
And decided to see it face-to-face.
He sees with his eyes various horrible crimes,
In addition to the punishment of just serving time.
The bosses are brutes, and bully the weak,
Causing horrible disfigurements if they so much as speak.

When Ricky sees a man getting hurt,
He gives the aggressor a reason to clean blood off his shirt.
This act puts Ricky on everyone’s radar,
And violence starts happening on orders from afar.
The first few times they send people to give him a contusion,
They treat his death like it’s a foregone conclusion,
But in addition to Ricky’s incredible strength,
He has trained in martial arts for a considerable length.

Whenever he hits someone, something breaks,
Or, if soft, it squishes and separates.
He’s fully capable of making new holes
In a body as if it were skewered by poles.
And the few times he’s injured he just shrugs it off,
Making do or else healing oft.
The Warden’s away, so his right-hand man,
The Assistant Warden does all that he can

Sadly, I don’t think the editors had access to the infamous Wilhelm Scream. We’re just going to have to imagine it.

To punish or kill Ricky in every way
That he can imagine, night or day.
His efforts are failures. I’m not going to lie.
You can see his amazement in his non-glass eye.
Ricky, it seems, cannot be destroyed…
Enter the Warden and his large, healthy boy.
He says that the warden of any prison, it’s true,
Must be the very best at Kung Fu.

Evil by nature, as film wardens are,
This warden observes Ricky getting hit hard.
He watches as razor blades get placed on his tongue,
And sees him gets slapped till they poke through some,
And his eyes open wide as he spits them right back
Into the face of the man who gave his jaw a whack.
Only one man, he reasons, can deal with Ricky—
One demonic man using supernatural trickery.

Luckily, that man is the Warden himself,
So he confronts Ricki-Oh and transforms himself.
Ricky turns him into hamburger meat,
As the whole room gets sprayed as red as a beet.
He frees all the prisoners and they get to go home,
For he has convinced all the prison guards to leave them alone.

The warden and his son.

So…how that my synopsis of the story has been completed,
What will the audience see if they go to see this?

Will the horrible atrocities leave them glum,
And the graphic horrors lower their level of fun?
That all depends on whether fake-looking gore
Has the power to turn your mood sore.
The filmmakers used buckets and buckets of liquefied red
To make people look like they’re injured or dead.
You see heads getting crushed, eyes popping out,
Stomachs being opened and blood pouring out.

You see a man take his guts from near his spleen
And use them to throttle a live human being.
You see other such sights that would really look messy
If this were directed by someone like Martin Scorsese,
Or be darker and brutal, with powerful acting
With a man like Mel Gibson directing.
These directors would make you feel the strife,
And that movie’s atmosphere would haunt you for life.

Instead, what we feel is lighter and more simplistic,
Due to the fact that none of this looks realistic.
It will give you about as much terror, stark,
As a funhouse at an amusement park.
The dubbing is bad, and is a good contrast
To the over-seriousness of all the cast,
In particular, Louis Fan’s performance,
His overacting makes him look like a ham, enormous.

His character deeply cares for the lives of all,
Whether he helps, or breaks, or kills them all.
It’s the fun factor that helps me rate this,
And the reason I’m giving it a four out of six.

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