Story Of Ricky AKA Riki-Oh
HONG KONG LEGENDS
 
Starring:
Fan Siu-Wong, Yukari Oshima, Gloria Yip
Directed By:
Nam Nai-Choi
Year:
1991
Run Time:
88 mins
Producer: Hong Kong Legends
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, English 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Dutch
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
1.78:1 Anamorphic (cropped slightly)
Region:
2 & 4 PAL
Genre:
Horror / Action / Manga-In-Motion - 18 (UK)
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MOVIE
3/10

This unremittingly and unrepentantly violent film makes its way onto the HKL label with the reputation of something of a cult classic.
Having not seen the film before, but having read much, I was looking forward to experiencing a piece of Hong Kong's Extreme Cinema...something which I soon wish I hadn't.

I never thought I'd write this, but Story Of Ricky is the first film whose violence was too much for me to stomach.
Lacking any sort of real story arc, although being firmly based on the Japanese Manga
"Riki-Oh", the film's main aim is to top each of the previous scene's sickening violence.
Now, I don't want to sound like a hypocrite, as I've watched and enjoyed many a violent movie before, but this film is different. It has no redeeming features, no characters worth caring for, or even a remotely intelligent storyline. It just has violence, gore and hokey special effects, which whilst faithful to its Manga origins, left me feeling empty.

Playing the lead role of Ricky, Fan Siu-Wong certainly looks impressive with his incredible physique, but his acting range is paper thin. Making a meal of every scene - overacting, overreacting and irritating in equal proportions, Siu-Wong did nothing to endear himself to this reviewer.
The rest of the cast follow suit admirably, proving they won't be outdone, by delivery the film's leaden script with over-the-top gusto.

Looking back, I can't think of one single element of this production worth praising.
Looking forward, and I can't see myself returning to it.

PICTURE
8/10

Considering the age of the print, HKL do a top job in their presentation.
Spotless, well-coloured and featuring solid blacks, their transfer is a reminder of what can be achieved when they put their mind to it.

Image detail is very good generally, although due to the source material, is occasionally quite soft.
Artifacts are absent, leaving a highly competent transfer.

SOUND
6/10

Mono in everything but name, this supposed 5.1 remix is adequate without being anything more.
The main gripe with this disc is its lack of treble, resulting in a muffled, bassy sound throughout.
If pushed, I could maybe name three moments where the surround speakers are called to task, but otherwise this is a truly one-dimensional soundtrack.

SUBTITLES
7/10

On the whole, very good, but a few disappointing liberties are taken with the translations.
However, they matter little for a film whose script was probably given away free in a packet of corn-flakes.

MENUS
10/10

A major improvement on HKLs recent and not-so-recent efforts.
Using the comic book origins of the film, and elements from the film, the striking opening menu, and subsequent screens stay faithful to the production.
Nice to see HKL putting some real imagination into their menus.

EXTRAS
5/10

Rising Star
A very interesting and substantial (36 mins) interview with Fan Siu-Wong.
Covered in some detail are his background, in both films and kung-fu, along with his views on the movie itself.
Fan talks of his concerns before and during filming of the ultra-violent gore, and the filming of key scenes.
Like many of the Hong Kong Legends' interviewees, Siu-Wong comes across as a very nice guy, making this a pleasant experience which holds your attention throughout.

Trailer Gallery

Original Theatrical Trailer - a superbly evocative trailer which makes the film look far, far better than it is. Intercutting of the original Manga artwork is an inspired touch.
UK Promo Trailer - Not as sophisticated as the HK trailer, although still quite effective.

Martial Hero
A very short clip of Fan Siu-Wong running through a few Wu-Shu styled forms. Empty-handed, and then with a Gim (straight sword), Siu-Wong looks very good, although quite what this extra provides the viewer with is beyond me.

Commentary

Thankfully letting Bey Logan get on with providing commentaries for far better films, HKL ask Jude Poyer and Miles Wood to give their views.
Whilst containing some decent information, Wood and Poyer deliver their commentary as if narrating a wildlife programme!
Their slant on the commentary is undoubtedly different to the one Logan would provided, and whilst this makes for a welcome change, it isn't nearly as absorbing.

Additional Trailers
• The Killer • Naked Killer • Mr.Vampire • My Lucky Stars • Eastern CondorsAvenging Fist

CONCLUSION
5/10

An unpleasant and over-hyped film is given far too much respect by HKL.
No doubt it will sell well amongst
its long-standing fans, but for those who have yet to view it, I would recommend a rental at best.
This is one Story HKL would have been far better never having told...

MOVIE 3/10
PICTURE
8/10
SOUND
6/10
SUBTITLES
7/10
EXTRAS
5/10
MENUS
10/10
PACKAGING
4/10
OVERALL
5/10