Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Prison Film  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Of all the thousands of exploitation films which have come out of Japan and Hong Kong over the years, only a few have managed to find worldwide cult audiences. This startling co-production is one of them, an outrageously wild and gory prison film that is unlike any in recent memory. The most interesting thing about the film (other than its unbelievable silliness) is its view of the human body. People burst like ripe melons full of blood and guts at the slightest punch or kick, except for Ricky, who is subjected to a phenomenal level of abuse with no apparent ill effects. At one point, Ricky is beaten across the cheeks while holding a mouthful of razorblades, only to spit them back into the warden's face. Everyone else, however, seems to be made of onion skin, barely more than human balloons full of viscera. This might suggest some sort of existentialist statement, if it didn't appear in a film featuring a giant monster made into hamburger in a revolving fan, a man shot in the buttocks before exploding in an oven, and a dog being kicked in half. As it is, Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky offers the sort of insight into the human condition best appreciated in an altered state of consciousness. But it is a lot of fun.