Oh man, where do I begin with this film? Some of you may be aware of The Story of Ricky. Mostly aware you’d be aware of its infamy as being one of the most gloriously brutal and violent films of its kind. To be honest, that’s likely all you’d be aware of. The film is pretty much a wafer thin story hanging on the tendons of a recently severed/exploded arm. Follow the link below and allow me to explain why that is all Riki-Oh needs.
Riki-Oh (Fan-Siu Wong) is a young chap chucked into a privatised prison in the dystopian future of 2001 where violence is the law and the wardens, along with their selected prisoners, can administer said law as much as they like. Which is handy cos you want a film sold on its gratuitous violence to have a little of it here and there. Riki, who is in prison for murder, has a strong sense of honour and justice which he preaches with the power of his fists whenever wrong is done. Wrong is done in the prison (opium farming, murder and the sorts) and so Riki decides to stand up for the weaker prisons to fight the established system. Basically there are bad guys and Riki beats the shit out of them and then a violence happens and there is bloods. Lost of bloods.
There is literally nothing at all to the film’s story beyond Riki fighting the Warden’s goons beyond a flashback or two explaining where his supernatural abilities come from and how he ended up in prison. The film follows this simple progression from start to finish. Bad thing happens to someone else. Riki fights and kills a guy. Flashback. Bad thing happens to Riki. Riki breaks free and fights and kills a guy. This cycle goes around 6-7 times in the course of the film’s 91 minute runtime and, well, that’s all it needed to do.
I do appreciate a simple film. These days film makers seem to confuse the amount of stuff happening in the film with depth and thematics. Riki has only the basic level of plot events but each one stands up as a memorable scene that will likely have you laughing or cheering. Maybe even both at once. I’m not saying the film has any depth at all. I suppose there’s a message of a good man not giving up in the face of adversity, but who cares about that? Riki just punched a guys jaw off. If you read my review of Ultraviolet, a insipidly terrible mess of a film, you’ll recall that 24 hours after watching it I had forgotten massive parts of the film because it just had that little effect on me. 24 hours after watching Story of Ricky I could probably replay the entire film in my mind, scene for scene, exploding body part for exploding body part, and still enjoy it just as much.
Yes, Story of Ricky is one of THOSE films. Much like Troll 2, Ninja Terminator and Miami Connection (which you may notice I have never reviewed… odd that.) Story of Ricky is a confounding mess of poor film making, abysmal story telling and hokey acting, and yet, it is an incredible amount of fun. You feel the passion to replicate the original Japanese Manga comic any way they could on the limited budget they had each time a very, very, rubber dummy is used for a gore effect. You can see in the conviction of Fan-Siu Wong’s performance that he is giving all the shits he can about this role. You can tell that when the blood is spurting from a wound that the effects crew knew that they needed to pump out more because, dammit, it ain’t a 90s Manga adaptation unless the blood fills 90% of the screen. This is film making driven by the passion and love of producing entertainment and by Lord Keldor does it succeed.
It would be pointless for me to even try to convince you of the objective quality of Story of Ricky. You already know if this is the sort of film that you would enjoy. If you have difficulty enjoying films of its type then first, You’re clearly missing a soul and/or funny bone, get that looked at, and secondly, you’ll probably not want to watch Story of Ricky anyway. Which would be a shame. When modern cinemas are filling with films that seem to lack creative passion or show no signs of being their own distinct work, lacking any kind of unique qualities, a film like Story of Ricky can remind you that there is always something you could actually enjoy watching instead. Something you can laugh at with your friends. Watch multiple times over because there’s always someone else you need to show it to. A film you can share. Have you ever honestly grabbed a friend and said “Oh my God you just have to watch this movie it’s amazing!” at which point you put on a copy of G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. No, no you haven’t. Because that film is just plain rubbish and is nearly entirely forgettable. Watch the sequel though cos that knows what camp fun is.
I kind of wish I had saved this review for one of my milestones. I like my milestone reviews to be films that I absolutely feel everyone should see just for the purpose of expanding their scope of what kind of films they could be watching. Usually they’re what people call “good-bad” movies. There is a reason for this. Because only a good-bad movie will let you realise just how much more enjoyable film can be. Why watch a bad-bad movie and have a horrible and potentially entirely forgettable time when you could watch a film you’ll cherish. A film that is the cinematic equivalent of The Little Train That Could. Plus, if you’re a student of film, what the hell could you learn from Ultraviolet? At least Story of Ricky has the decency to make it clear that maybe using rubber dolls for close ups isn’t great if your dolls look like they came from a joke shop. So, Story of Ricky, watch it. It’s bloody good fun.