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Story Of Ricky (1993)
Director: Nam Nai-choi

review by Christopher Geary

Based on Japanese manga Power King, this infamous and shamelessly OTT cult movie is set in the franchised prison of a futuristic dystopia and features scenes of delirious masochism and extreme violence. Produced as a live-action feature after two animated versions, Story Of Ricky (aka: Riki-Oh) stars Fan Siu-wong as the eponymous hero, a reluctant martial arts master with regenerative super-powers that make him invincible in combat and virtually indestructible (like the hero of Gerry Anderson's puppet show Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons).
   Convicted of murder (which for once, as revealed in a noir style flashback that features Gloria Yip as Ricky's girlfriend, he is a movie hero who actually did commit the heinous crime he's locked up for - though it was an act of justifiable revenge), Ricky is condemned to a hellish regime where the malicious warden and his team of sadistic guards preside over routine punishments like flaying, dismemberment and other inventively humiliating tortures. Upon entering the prison, a number of bullets lodged in Ricky's chest set off the metal detector. Why on earth didn't he have them removed asks a guard. The reason is the stuff of legend. When Ricky is warned to beware of the prison's most notorious and dangerous bully, we get the classic line: "Mad Dragon ate the Warden's horse!" In a sequence likely to shock the devoutly religious, the stoic Ricky is crucified with chains. Other similarly vicious provocations include repeated punches in the face after being force-fed a mouthful of razor blades, and the nightmare of being buried alive for seven days. Eventually, Ricky turns on his tormentors with a vengeance, and then the real fun begins...
   There's outrageous humour and vivid splatter-punk gore, in extraordinarily intense scenes of brutal and savage kung fu action. Ricky punches off one sorry victim's head with a single blow. A dog gets kicked to death. More sequences of graphic mutilation follow with another opponent being strangled with his very own intestines. It's something like Spartacus meets Conan The Barbarian, by way of A Clockwork Orange and Total Recall. Adding to the absurdity, charismatic Japanese martial arts actress Yukari Oshima appears as male character Huang Chaun, one of a gang of four mighty super-villains called in by the warden to help defeat Ricky. But our hero becomes a champion of the oppressed inmates and fights a series of duels to overthrow the warden's tyranny. In the ensuing chaos of rioting and mayhem, Ricky leads the prisoners' desperate break for freedom.
   I first saw this several years ago in a dismal bootleg video format, so it's great to finally watch it again with excellent picture quality. The long-awaited DVD from Hong Kong Legends is a Region 2 collector's edition, with a digitally restored and re-mastered anamorphic transfer enhanced for widescreen TV, and sound in Dolby digital 5.1 with optional English subtitles. There's a good martial arts showcase, and filmed interview with star Fan Siu-wong. Hong Kong stuntman Jude Poyer and film critic Miles Wood provide a fascinating expert audio commentary track. You also get an archive of trailers for other releases on the same label, and fully animated menu design.
Story Of Ricky
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