Story of Ricky (1991)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 15, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Universal (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, Cantonese DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 87 minutes
The Movie
Director: Ngai Kai Lam
Starring: Siu-Wong Fan, Bin Shimada, Mui Sang Fan, Ka-Kui Ho, Yukari Ôshima, Tetsuro Tamba
Screenplay:Ngai Kai Lam
Music: Fei Lit Chan
Country: Hong Kong
AKA: Lai wong; Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky
Universal Australia, through their Hong Kong Legends label, have been giving the martial arts fans of Australia a real treat by offering fully re-mastered DVDs of martial arts classics with cast interviews and film documentaries. But wait a minute; this is a horror and cult movie site, why are we discussing Asian action flicks? The answer to this is The Story of Ricky a.k.a. Riki-Oh.

Based on one part of the 12 act manga 'Riki-Oh' by Tetsuya Saruwatari and Takajo Masuhiko, The Story of Ricky is set in 2001, in a privatized prison controlled by a monstrous Hulk-like warden (Ka-Kui Ho), his evil one eyed assistant, Cyclops (played by Fan Sui Wong's father, Fan Mui Sang) and the Gang of Four. The Gang is four prisoners who each control one wing of the prison (amusingly an all male prison yet one of the Gang of Four is played by female actor Yukari Oshima) with an iron fist. When superhuman Ricky (Fan Sui Wong), who has been trained in chi gung by his Uncle Ghost, is imprisoned for the revenge killing of the drug dealer who forced his girlfriend's suicide, his righteous presence and selfless outlook soon make him a hero to the inmates, which threatens to usurp the power of all those in charge. They decide they must rid themselves of Ricky's influence…forever!!

The Story of Ricky is the first movie in Hong Kong history to receive a Category 3 rating for violence rather than sex. The over-the-top cartoonish brutality of this movie makes the Itchy and Scratchy segments on The Simpsons look like The Smurfs by comparison. Eyes are punched out, people are pushed through meat grinders and arms are lopped off. The gore level of Riki-oh is as extreme and ridiculous as that of Peter Jackson's Brain Dead. So much blood is sprayed, not spilled, in this movie, that the actor, Fan Sui Wong, was so drenched in the red stuff after one scene, that it took him three days to clean his stained skin.

Overacted and completely devoid of continuity, The Story of Ricky is highly entertaining despite is faults. It's directed by Simon Nam a.k.a. Ngai Kai Nam (director of Erotic Ghost Story) under it's Cantonese title Lai Wong which literally means King of Strength.
A beautiful digital re-mastered and restored DVD, this 16:9 anamorphic version enhanced for widescreen TVs is clear and sharp.
A choice of English dubbed or Cantonese in Dolby Digital 5.1. Both choices can be played with an English subtitled track. An interesting way to watch this film is in English with the English subtitles, the names in the English dub have been changed from the original Cantonese like Hai and Huang to regular English names like Alan and Oscar. The audio is suitable but unspectacular.
Extra Features
My only real criticism of this disc is the Themed Menus. The main menu is clever in it's representation of areas of the film, but it does not actually tell what that menu is for, i.e. the section labelled 'Graveyard' is actually the special features menu.

Rising Star is an interesting 35min interview with Fan Sui Wong, Ricky himself, about his career in movies, his training and his origins. Intercut with the interview footage is footage from other Hong Kong movies not starring him, like My Lucky Stars and The Magnificent Butcher (which starred his father).

Martial Hero is a two and a half minute display by Fan Sui Wong of martial arts.

The audio commentary is by Jude Poyer, Stuntman and Hong Kong film critic and Miles Wood, film critic and author of CinEast: Hong Kong Cinema in the Looking Glass. This is an informative commentary by two men who are huge fans of the Asian action film genre. I learnt more about Hong Kong cinema from this commentary than I think I ever knew before. The commentary also has a text introduction about the two men, which I thought was a fine feature.

There are also trailers from other Hong Kong Legend releases such as: Fist of Fury, Once Upon A Time in China, Iron Monkey, Armor of God and Police Story.

The Verdict
Insane rampant violence, over the top effects and hammy acting combine to make The Story of Ricky a hilariously vicious tour-de-force. Essential viewing!!
Movie Score
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