Riki-Oh: Story of Ricky (1991) - Lam Nai Choi

I had seen this movie years ago when I was a kid. It was weird enough to stick with me but alluded me all through these years. It had come on Cinemax for a long time along side movies like If Looks Could Kill, Parenthood and Fast Getaway. If you grew up in the nineties then chances are you might have seen this. It was crammed somewhere in between your sessions of

Street Fighter II or Super Mario Brothers 3. Let's just say that the best way to enjoy this movie is with a Slurpee and bag of Chili Cheese Fritos. This is the movie about a misunderstood prisoner with superhuman strength, dexterity and endurance. Riki-Oh has been in prison for assault and manslaughter and must resort to some extreme measures in order to survive. The prisons are run by gangs and each one is ruthless, they all want Riki-Oh dead. It doesn't help that the prison is practicing cannibalism. Cartoonish and Entertaining, this movie mixes elements of late eighties Jackie Chan movies with Tom Savini-ish effects. 

Riki-Oh is a Kung Fu movie with horror elements. The film isn't presented in any way that would be considered scary. In fact it feels like Enter the Dragon or something in that way. The horrific details are what make this movie fun. Riki-Oh showcases a trail of blood and guts that is never really rivaled in other Martial Arts movies. 

This movie isn't a classic. It's not the best acted and doesn't have the best effects. In fact some of the fighting is a bit slow. However, what it doesn't have in quality it more than makes up for with loads and loads of gore. It is apparently based on a manga but I don't know if that one is as violent or gory. 

Another fantastic entry to a playlist for a Halloween party. This movie is sure to entertain just about everyone. The over-the-top violence is just a small part of what makes this movie eerie and weird. It is definitely too violent for younger viewers but older teenagers and young adults will really love it. I know I did. 

Initial release:

October 5, 1991 (Japan)


Lam Ngai Kai


Lam Ngai Kai

Music composed by:

Phil Chen

Story by:

Tetsuya Saruwatari, Masahiko Takajo


 Fan Siu-wong, 

Fan Mei Sheng, 

Ho Ka-kui

Did ya know...

The first Hong Kong movie to receive a "Category III" rating for violence. Riki-Oh's Category III rating (the Hong Kong equivalent of an NC-17) greatly inhibited its ability to make money at the box office. It was one of the first Hong Kong movies that used Category 3 film rating system for non erotic media. It grossed $2,147,778 HKD in Hong Kong.

"The Gang of Four" was an actual group that existed in China in the 1960's and 1970's. The members were Jiang Qin (wife of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong), Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen. All four were convicted of anti-party activies and given life sentences.