Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
This movie first came to my attention via the intro to Craig Kilborn’s “5 Questions” segment on the old Daily Show (that’s right kids: it hasn’t always been Jon Stewart in the hosting chair). “What is that movie where a dude is just crushing another dude’s head, Mortal Kombat style?” I would ask absolutely no one. Lo, it was Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky. Timing (my wife was out of the house) and fate (it’s available on Netflix) have finally colluded, allowing me to watch this…is masterpiece the right word?
A moment of honesty: Netflix screwed the pooch here. Riki-Oh is a Chinese film, yet there were no subtitles and no dub on this version, leaving me up to my own (half-distracted) devices to figure out what the fudge was going on. Basically, it’s Lock-Up mixed with your run-of-the-mill martial arts revenge flick, sprinkled atop a Dead Alive x Fist of the North Star extreme gore cocktail.
Right, so I had no idea what the hell was happening. Basically, Riki shows up (oh right, it’s the year 2001 aka THE FUTURE but THE FUTURE must suck because everything looks like it did in the mid-80’s, just shittier).
Anyways, Riki shows up, prison is corrupt, he rights some wrongs with EXTREME PREJUDICE, there is much dramatic exposition, multiple flashbacks that make no sense (including Riki getting trained in a graveyard by a drifter who throws tombstones at him #realtalk) and then hardship after hardship (hardships usually fixed by exploding heads). Someone gets crucified, there’s a subplot involving musical leaves, a girl jumps off a roof, and the end boss is a were-ogre.
I wish I could have made any of that make sense. But I didn’t watch this movie for it to make sense and neither will you. You’ll watch it for the batshit insane levels of gore and the jaw-droppingly bad special effects. You’ll watch because at first you’ll think the warden of the prison is a well read man based upon his full, colorful bookshelves, until the camera cuts in close and you realize it’s just racks ‘n racks ‘n racks of porn.
Fun fact: Siu-Wong Fan, who plays Ricky, was also in Ip Man. Which is also on Netflix! Make your Friday Flix experience a double header! Now, gather your loved ones & point yer collective peepers at the big glowing screen.
After the jump, my unfiltered thoughts as I was watching the movie:
notes on ricki-oh: the story of ricky
- this film came out in 91 ( A Golden Harvest Production!) looks like it came out in ’81
- take the over the top violence of your fist of the north star, apply it to humans and you’ve got the story of ricky
- you’re driven into a prison as the credits roll
- apparently this film takes place in 2001 aka THE FUTURE where ALL PRISONS HAVE BEEN PRIVATIZED
- netflix forgot the subtitles
- so now i have to just draw conclusions, using context clues and my amazing command of the mandarin language
- ok, so the films started and some bad guys just threw an old man across a bathroom for not moving away from the sink fast enough. Then a bunch of guys urinate in unison.
- they are really giving this old guy the business
- the ring leader of the old man tosser does a header right into some exposed nails; the special effects look SUPER REALISTIC. like, that totally wasn’t a rubber mask at all.
- holy shit they’ve got a giant fat dude chained up in solitary. why? now they’re going to feed the old man to him. ..no the old man is safe. FOR NOW
- something is happening in the prison courtyard. it’s raining, there is much emoting, a wooden train shows up, i have no idea. What i do know is Ricky is PISSED. Oh shit he’s going super saiyan!!
- now he’s kung fu’ing the shit out of the rain.
- shower scene! aaand here comes the giant fat guy, fresh off his meal of the old man. King Hippo just uppercutted ricky across the shower. and HOLY HELL ricky just disemboweled king hippo with one punch! AND he just ricky just sliced the old man tosser from the first scene in half with a right cross.
- oh shit, yakuza joe just showed up. he means business
- ricky is in solitary and has a sad…no, it appears he;s having a heart attack. meditate your way through it ricky! meditate!!!!
- flashback to ricky as a wee lad…runs from school right into a graveyard with a creepy drifter…who ricky runs RIGHT UP TO. jesus, he has no common sense. now the drifter is diddling him!!! ok, no, that’s a different movie. GRAVEYARD KUNG FU!
- 12 hours later (no seriously, now it’s night) the drifter and ricky are still in the graveyard, having a karate party
- way to desecrate the dead guys…ricky and the drifter are just going HAM on all the headstones. clearly they are NOT made our of plaster.
- did you guys know that Dr. Claw was asian? maybe that’s why inspector gadget hated him so much; he’s a racist.
- dr claw apparently runs the guards here and is a fucking glutton.
- all sorts of exposition here, i have no idea what’s happening. except that ricky can dodge bullets, is always sweaty, and just got the shit stabbed out of his hand by dr. claw
- the first time you see dr. claws office, you think: look at all the color books on his bookshelf. but the upclose shots show it’s just a massive collection of pornography.
- flash back time: ricky and his apparently 11-year-old girlfriend are just having a grand old-time flying a remote control plane. this is all accompanied by ricky on recorder
- some dude takes a shit then sings a victory song.
- asian patrick swayze shows up, clearly has bad intentions.
- yakuza joe shows up, ultra violence is imminent. i was right…he just split asian patrick sway’s face in half, width wise with a saw-tooth sword.
- yakuza joe just challenged ricky to a fight. how’s this going to end? oh right, spastic over violence
- randomly, someone is nailed up to a giosnt cross in the prison yard
- yakuza joe just got so hard his eye flew out. some nearby crows ate it.
- HOLY HELL YAKUZA JOE JUST DISEMBOWLED HIMSELF THEN TRIED TO CHOKE RICKY WITH HIS ENTRAILS.
- what’s happening now? prison riot! dr. claw is going to get it!!
- …no he isn’t. look’s like DC’s been keeping some shock troops in reserve for just such an occasion. and they are massacring the prisoners. like a cut-rate version of the three storms from big trouble in little china
- …and just like that *POOF* they are gone.
- how long is this movie?
- ricky just played the opening notes of Wu-Tang’s “Triumph” on his recorder.
- I’ve just realized that this is dubbed from one language into another. that second language is NOT english.
- they skinned yakuza hjoe!
- ricki is the anti captain planet, burns down a beautiful rose garden because…well, i don’t know why. i kind of stopped paying attention. but now he’s getting his ass kicked by a girl.
- the Not Three Storms are totally having their way with Ricky. not, like, in a butt way, but otherwise, it’s not looking to hot for our long-haired kung fu hero.
- anew twist. apparently the prison is also a series of ingenuous death traps, including rooms that fill with liquid concrete and guns that pop out of walls.
- some twisted old man shows up with his nerd linger son, stabs an inmate in the eye with a walking stick, almost has a heart attack, then visits a concrete encrusted ricky. what is even happening…
- ricks head is getting jammed through some prison bars by an abobo…and now abobo just got OWNED via an upper cut through the lower jaw and then having his hand exploded via punch
- ricky escapes a death trap (the ol’ crushing ceiling) by just straight diving through his cell bars. couldn’t he have done that before?
- this is the longest movie in history
- ricky’s been buried alive. I’m drowning in nonsense.
- ricky is just absolutely whipped in the face with a spanner. oops, now the old rebar-to-the-crotch. shit, now they stuffed his mouth full of razors, tapped it shut and slapped the shit out of him.
- ricky is now in full on vengeance mode! he just punched the top part of his head off, sending his scalp & brains flying, then punched dr. claw square in the face, knocking out his good eye.
- THERE’S A RIOT GOING ON. and apparently riot guards use morning stars.
- ricky just kool-aid mans his way through a wall and proceeds to further fuck up dr. claw and everyone else in the vicinity
- ok, final showdown with the big boss. real brutality begins now. and the big boss metamorphoses into an ogre, the special effects of which are just absolutely amazing.
- the ogre then gets thrown right into a meat grinder. the result? FOUNTAINS OF BLOOD
- ricky then uses THE GLOW to knock a hole in the prison wall, freeing prisoners and guards alike. because you see, the guards were prisoners too, man. you know?!?!
- ricky then saturday night fever struts on out of the prison, having brutally murdered dozens of individuals in what appears to have been a 4 day prison stay.