RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY (1991)

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Riki-Oh, what a time we live in. In an age where every old cult genre movie is getting a special edition Blu-ray re-release with all of the trimmings, The Most Insane Prison Movie Ever Made finally gets its shiny upgrade.

Dropped in a prison full of sadistic governors, wardens and inmates, buff superman Riki (Fan) is systematically tortured and abused by a series of ever-worsening antagonists. Thankfully, Riki himself is no defenceless Tobias Beecher – indeed, to paraphrase Watchmen's Rorschach, one quickly begins to get the sense that he's not locked in there with them, but rather... well, you get the idea. Given the amount of walls Riki punches his opponents through and things (mostly bodies, admittedly) he tears apart with his bare hands, it's evident from the off that Riki could probably just punch his way out of prison was he so inclined.

Thankfully for us, the oiled muscleman seems content to wait and react, the prison giving him no shortage of things to punch off or through in defence of either himself or others. The film's reputation is true; packing an incredible level of gore and violence (think the likes of Braindead and Evil Dead 2) it's at once exhilarating and repulsive, the prison movie The Human Centipede 3 wishes it was. If Riki is an underwritten blank slate of a hero, its villains are a wonderful set of malevolent monsters, ranging from bulky henchmen to gruesome gluttons and... well, whatever the governor is! Bill Boss, eat your heart out.

There have been DVD releases before, but the film has never been as clear as in Mediumrare's Blu-ray (and standard definition DVD) restoration. The blood and gore pops from the screen just like the eyeballs and body parts. An interview, commentary and a featurette aside, it's a little paltry when it comes to special features though, making it a less comprehensive release than it could have been.

Apart from those small niggles, (and bearing in mind that this isn't everyone's cup of tea) The Story of Ricky is a fantastic re-emergence of one of cult cinema's most exciting flavours. Riki-Oh, you're so fine.

RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY (1991) / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: NGAI CHOI LAM (SIMON NAM) / STARRING: SIU-WONG FAN, MEI SHENG FAN, KA-KUI HO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW




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