“It’s Evil Dead 2, Braindead, and the Matrix…times ten, turned up to eleven!” (DVD tagline)
After watching the first half of the Chinese film Riki-Oh, I contemplated not being able to appropriately label a review of the film as “craptastic”. Also, I contemplated not being able to hold my bowels. I found myself through the duration incredulously gasping “Holy shit!” and thus, could not decide if it was a fair that such a strong visceral reaction could warrant a review that would fit into the same category as those of Grizzly Park, DIEner, and Mega Piranha. However, after the title character Ricky (Riki) punched through yet another face as if it were made of wedding cake, I realized that this film was a redefinition of ‘craptastic’: loose plot, campy acting, and grotesque physical effects combine to deliver a highly entertaining romp through a futuristic 2001 (remember, the film is from 1991) Chinese prison.
The plot revolves around Ricky (Fan Siu-wong), sentenced to who-cares how many years for murdering the crap out of a guy who gave Ricky’s girlfriend the drugs that eventually led to her suicide. While rushing at said murdered guy, Ricky takes five bullets in the chest. No big deal. Did I mention that Ricky has super human abilities? No? Well let me explain…
Ricky is a bad mother. Through the movie, he routinely calls on supernatural forces that are never explained besides some references to the devil inside him. This results in punching through body parts, reattaching, then using, severed arteries, and, well, I don’t want to give up too much. Depending on the cut you can find (I found it on Netflix instant stream), the movie is rated NC-17 or R. Netflix has the R version, which obviously means I missed out on more ridiculous gore. ‘Tis a shame. ‘Tis indeed.
The plot continues as Ricky realizes the injustices of the prison he occupies, and he sets out to make changes to the order and mistreatment to his fellow, weak, inmates. (Side note: except for Ricky and the antagonists—the Gang of Four and the Assistant Warden—every other character would be someone’s girlfriend in the US prison system) The result is an explosion of outlandish fight scenes and visual effects that have surpassed the film in fame. At points the make-up and transformations made me directly think of 1986’s Big Trouble in Little China. You know the guy that puffs up and explodes? Yep. Delightful.
For those of you old enough to remember someone other than Jon Stewart as the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, you may remember that Craig Kilborn’s version of the show routinely used a head smashing scene from the movie, seen here:
If that isn’t enough to motivate you, try this stellar use of dialogue:
After Ricky disembowels an enemy, the same guy uses his intestines to strangle Ricky (no, disembowelment is not enough to kill him silly) and the assistant warden cheerily yells, “You’ve got a lot of guts, Oscar!” I hope that was just poor translation.
Anyway, I give this Craptastic movie a three out of five g-bears.