You Gotta See This: Riki-Oh- The Story of Riki

You know it’s so popular these days to mention “EPIC” in anything you talk about that’s supposed to be cool? How popular Chuck Norris “facts” have been? How pictures like the one below don’t really have or need an explanation anymore?

We live in a weird age where it’s as though somebody just thought “There really is nothing cool out there anymore. Unless I just MASH everything together!” And that’s pretty much how a movie like The Expendables ever got made.

But is there a part of you that’s sick of it? You feel the word “epic” is used too much that it belittles the true meaning of it all? Do you still agree that ninjas are cool, robots are awesome, but dang it, just go away for now and come back with something new? I do. So while I don’t have something “new,” per se, I do have something truly epic. What I have to tell you about is Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki.

In the distant year of 2001 (This movie was released in ’91), prisons have been privatized and are pretty much run by gangsters who use the prison to secretly make illegal opium. Ricky Ho is sentenced to this prison because of his murder of a crime lord who killed Ricky’s girlfriend. Through extreme violence and his mastery of the martial art known as Qigong, Ricky sets out to make things right in the prison, and see that it’s no longer run as a criminal fortress.

How does any of this sound to you? Does it sound like the chance to watch a movie where people literally punch through each others’ stomachs? Because it is. Every single scene of action in this movie will be the most violent scene you’ve ever watched, guaranteed. Saw movies are gory sure, but c’mon- who takes any of those sequels seriously, with their constant screaming and crying, fast-paced zooms and neon green filters? Riki-oh takes things to new levels like you wouldn’t believe. It’s every Chuck Norris fact set into motion. Watch this clip below and tell me it’s doesn’t get the testosterone pumping.

If you ever thought becoming a man consisted of growing older, learning from your mistakes or something like that, you’re wrong. Being a man means letting your own hand be punctured by a nine-inch needle while simultaneously breaking your opponent’s fingers. I like how the guards come in and tell Ricky to stop, so he punches through the second guys’ stomach then the guard holds his stick up to Ricky’s face like “This is the last time I’m gonna tell you!”

“Ricky, I’m warning you! No more!”

Throughout the movie, Ricky, as well as the warden’s elite assassin group, the Gang of Four, perform various feats of superhuman strength, speed, agility, and pretty much everything else you dreamed about doing when you’ve wanted to do since you were a kid. Being that Ricky has superhuman strength, they actually capture it a lot more realistically than many other mediums that feature characters with the same powers. If Superman, being as strong as he is, punched Batman, chances are he would be drawn as though he were flying back, maybe through a wall and crashing down. Not in Riki-Oh. As you saw above, Ricky just obliterates all skin, muscle, and bone by his superhuman punches. Understandably, you’re not going to see Superman disemboweling Batman or just some random thug by way of punching or anything else for that matter, but you see my point. I also realize how risky it is to put the word “realistic” and Riki-Oh in the same article but what can I say, I’m a risk taker.

In an article last week, I mentioned this masterpiece, but I don’t know if it will ever get the attention it deserves. How could it? It will have to wait Troll 2 type lengths to get any credit, but then again, it’s already been twenty years. If not now, then when? We need Ricky’s powers now!

Based on the also ultra violent manga, Riki-Oh was given the death sentence by giving it an NC-17 rating, or as they call it, a Category 3, which is the first time a non-pornographic movie was given that rating. It’s also awesome because it makes Riki-Oh sound like the force of nature that it is.

As much as I love this movie (5 stars on Netflix, what what), I have to slow it down a second, and get even more real with you: this movie is exhausting to watch. All the violence, all the crying, screaming, and highly intense emotions that permeate every minute of this movie, it will wear you out. I felt like I needed to take a nap afterward like I was crashing from an energy drink. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy who played Ricky just quit martial arts after this. “No, no. I’m done, okay? I said I’m done.”

So prepare yourself. This isn’t for the weak of heart. Or stomach.

And don’t ask questions.


One Response to “You Gotta See This: Riki-Oh- The Story of Riki”

  1. I laughed hysterically throughout the entire movie. I really didn’t think of it in terms of “superhuman strength” which would definitely put the movie in a different light. I just thought of it as cheesy outrageousness. Asians like to exaggerate things, especially in martial arts films. That’s how Quentin Tarantino got the idea to spray blood like a fountain every time The Bride slays a member of the Yakuza in Kill Bill.


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