Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Microreview [film]: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky


The Meat (in this case, literally)

Have you ever seen a movie where a character in a fight realizes he has lost, commits harakiri, but, before dying, has a change of heart and attempts to strangle his opponent with his own steaming intestines?

No? Then you haven't seen Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky.

TCM Underground screened this Hong Kong martial arts/prison movie the other day, which is stunning, because when I first saw it about ten years ago, its reputation was as literally the most disgusting and violent movie ever made. It turns out that the movie isn't nearly that -- not unless you find Itchy and Scratchy cartoons on The Simpsons legitimately disturbing. Anything by Gaspar Noe, anything that may or may not depict actual cannibalism, anything with graphic depictions of rape or child abuse, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, those are far, far more disturbing films because they appear to depict actual human beings in distress (or, in Twilight's case, actual audience members). Riki-Oh is a live-action cartoon that deposits gallons (what's a larger quantity than a gallon? hectares?) of blood at the audience's feet and says "I dare you not to tell your friends about me."

So if you are a fifteen-year-old boy, or an insatiable fan of Hong Kong action movies, or are high, then you will probably totally dig the following things that happen in Riki-Oh:
  • Several heads are punched (yes, punched) clean off
  • Ricky ties his own tendons back together with his teeth after being cut in a knife fight
  • Several intestines are punctured, either with knives or fists
  • A dog is kicked in half
  • At least two people are literally punched in the brain
  • Razor blades are consumed like candy
  • Several eyeballs go missing during fights
If right now you're struggling to contain your excitement, let me be very clear that none of this looks and/or feels any more realistic than accidentally spilling ground beef on your kitchen floor while trying to make chile rellenos. But if you're still excited about it, then by all means, hit up your local indie video store and bring this baby back to your dorm room.

The Math

Objective Quality: 4/10

Bonuses: +1 for the sheer inventiveness of finding this many ways to kill and maim in the least realistic ways imaginable; +1 for the evil assistant warden who keeps his breath mints in his glass eye; +1 for the warden himself, who seems to confuse the concepts of "kung fu" and "actually being a giant demon in human form."

Penalties: -1 for, well, most everything else.

Cult Movie Coefficient: 5/10. Problematic, but has redeeming qualities.

[See explanation of our non-inflated scores here.]

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