Thursday, April 20, 2006

Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki

Title: Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki aka Lik wong (1991)
Dir: Ngai Kai Lam
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

I'm so glad Netflix recommended this movie to me because me and Riki-Oh were made for each other. It is nothing short of a classic and every cult-film lover MUST see it.

Let me preface by saying: this is not a "good" movie. But let's face it, neither was Dead Alive. These are a very special type of film that I hold close to my heart. They are cheesy, gory, and above all, hilarious.

You've probably seen some of this movie and never knew it. If you ever watched The Daily Show when Craig Kilborn hosted, I guarantee you saw some of it. Remember that clip of an Asian dude smashing another guy's head between his hands? Or the one where a fat dude shakes, swells up, and explodes? If so, you saw two awesome shots from Riki-Oh. But that was just the top of the iceburg. This movie gets CRAZY gory and in the most absurb ways. It's fantastic!

Even though the plot hardly matters, here it is: Riki is put in prison after he seeks revenge on some drug dealers who kidnapped his girlfriend. In this "futuristic" prison, the guards are corrupt and an elite group of prisoners are in charge. Riki, being a swell kinda guy, defends the little guys and consequently pisses off the prison badasses. From there on, he fights all kinds of crazy villains, including a Sumo-sized dude, the 4 deadly leaders of the prison's quadrants, and the corrupt warden himself.

Riki-Oh is based on a manga of the same name, and from what I've seen, it's pretty darn accurate. The source material also explains the overabundance of blood in the movie (ya know how anime is), and thank goodness because it makes the movie what it is. The effects are SO cheesy and so so so fake, but it's absolutely glorious! Some of the gore is pretty damn clever, even if it looks ridiculously fake.

The characters, namely the villains, are also great and memorable. The shitty acting and horrible dubbing won't win it any Oscars, but they definitely enhance the humor.

This is not a movie for most mainstream viewers, but if you like films in the vein of Evil Dead 2 and Bad Taste, for the love of all that is unholy, watch Riki-Oh!