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Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

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Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLam Nai-choi
Written byLam Nai-choi
Tetsuya Saruwatari
Based onRiki-Oh
by Masahiko Takajo and Tetsuya Saruwatari
Produced byChan Dung Chow
StarringFan Siu-wong
Fan Mei-sheng
Ho Ka-kui
Yukari Oshima
Frankie Chen
Edited byPeter Cheung
Keung Chuen-tak
Diagonal Pictures
Distributed byGolden Harvest
Release dates
  • 5 October 1991 (1991-10-05)
  • 9 April 1992 (1992-04-09)
(Hong Kong)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryHong Kong
Box officeHK$2,147,778

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (Chinese: 力王), also known as Story of Ricky, is a 1991 Hong Kong martial arts splatter film written and directed by Lam Nai-Choi. The film is loosely based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Masahiko Takajo and Tetsuya Saruwatari. Saruwatari also co-wrote the film. The film stars Fan Siu-wong, Fan Mei-sheng (Siu-wong's real-life father), Ho Ka-kui, Gloria Yip, and Yukari Oshima.

Fan Siu-wong plays Ricky Ho Lik Wong, a young man who has super-human power and fighting abilities. Originally known in English as Story of Ricky, later releases were sold under the title Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky. The film had a limited theatrical release in the United States in 1993. It is well known for its acting, story, extremely brutal and highly unrealistic violence, as well as its high camp factor and extremely poor English dubbing. The film is considered a cult film and has an approval rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.[1]


In 2001, when all prisons have been privatized, super-strong and durable Ricky Ho is sent to one for manslaughter after killing a crime boss responsible for his girlfriend's death. The prison is divided by cardinal directions, with each wing having a member of the "Gang of Four" ruling over it. Ricky is placed in the North wing, where he witnesses an inmate named Samuel disfigure an elderly inmate. Ricky partially blinds him, so he pays obese inmate Mad Dragon to kill Ricky, while the disfigured inmate commits suicide after Samuel stops his probation from clearing. Mad Dragon attacks him in the shower, but Ricky kills him and Samuel.

Fearing that Ricky may inspire the other prisoners to revolt, the one-eyed assistant warden "Cyclops" orders the North wing leader Hai to publicly execute him. Hai disembowels himself in shame when Ricky beats him and tries to strangle him with his intestines, forcing Ricky to kill him. The rest of the Gang murder Hai's godson when he refuses to take revenge on Ricky, so Ricky burns their opium farm. The Gang restrains Ricky, but before they can kill him, Cyclops learns that the warden is returning from vacation and forces everyone back to their cells. Cyclops floods Ricky's cell with cement, freezing him in place.

The warden and his spoiled son return and the former interrogates Ricky, but is interrupted when Tarzan, the East wing leader, bursts through a wall to fight Ricky. Ricky brutalizes him and the warden tries to crush them to death under the cell's hydraulic ceiling, though Ricky holds it off to try and save Tarzan rather than escape. The warden shocks him with a taser to make him stop, only for Tarzan to hold up the ceiling long enough for Ricky to escape before he dies. The warden orders Ricky buried alive for a full week and promises him freedom if he can survive, which he manages to, though the warden still denies him freedom and leaves him chained up in his cell.

An inmate sneaks Ricky his food, but a snitch informs Cyclops, who kills the man and taunts Ricky with his body. Enraged, Ricky breaks free, kills the snitch, and blinds Cyclops's other eye. The inmates riot and mutilate Cyclops, who the warden kills, annoyed with his incompetence. Ricky twists the West wing leader's limbs to neutralize him, while the South wing leader is killed by the warden when he flees in fear. Having gone too long without his medication, the warden transforms into a hulking creature that Ricky barely defeats by shoving him into a meat grinder. As the prisoners and guards fight, Ricky stops them by showing off the warden's severed head. He breaks the prison wall with his fist and declares "you're all free now" before walking away.


  • Fan Siu-Wong as Lik Wong / Ricky Ho
  • Fan Mei-sheng as Assistant Warden Dan
  • Ho Ka-Kui as Warden
  • Yukari Oshima as Huang Chung / Rogan
  • Tamba Tetsuro as Master Zhang
  • Gloria Yip as Keiko / Anne, Ricky Ho's Girlfriend
  • Kwok Chun-Fung as Lin Hung / Andrew
  • Frankie Chin as Hai / Oscar
  • Koichi Sugisaki as Taizan / Tarzan
  • Wong Kwai-Hung as Baishen / Brandon
  • Chang Gan-Wing as Ma / Omar
  • Lam Kai-Wing as Wildcat / Samuel
  • Chan Ging as Yeh Ming / Edward Lee
  • Lau Shung-fung as Prisoner
  • Wong Kwok-leung as Warden's Son
  • Chan Kwok-Bong as Alan, Hai / Oscar's godson
  • Lam Suet as narcotic boss
  • Bill Lung Biu as prisoner
  • Kong Long as Prison Guard
  • Ling Chi-Hung as Prisoner
  • Cheung Yiu-Sing as Prisoner
  • Choi Kwok-Ping as Prisoner
  • Cheung Yuk-San as Prison Guard
  • Chiu Chi-Shing as Prisoner
  • Yuen Wah as Prisoner



Fan Siu-Wong was an upcoming martial artist slowing gaining attention in Mainland China and Hong Kong when he was approached by Golden Harvest after finishing filming "Stone Age Warrior." He claims he was picked up at the airport by Golden Harvest and immediately offered the main role in "Story of Ricky." Fan Siu-Wong signed up for the role before researching his parts, eventually finding out it was being adapted from an ultra violent Japanese anime, in which he was then shocked by the sheer violence and brutality of the anime. He initially was very nervous that nobody will like the film because of the blood and disgusting violence. Fan Siu-Wong eventually said the role of Ricky is still one of his most memorable and people in rural areas in China will often come up to him and talk to him about the movie and say stuff like "You were in "Story of Ricky" right?" He then says the violence is the ultimately the main reason why people still remembers the movie and why it is a cult hit among fans.[2]


The plot closely follows the events depicted in the original Japanese manga and its anime adaptation, with some minor modifications in certain instances.

The film is notorious for its excessive use of splatstick violence and gore, primarily due to the fact that the lead character is practically invincible, has impossibly great strength and can virtually withstand all pain, which is partially explained by Ricky being a practitioner of a superhuman form of qigong. This leads to attempts by other characters to subdue him which end up being extremely gory and over-the-top.

Aside from the aforementioned head crushing and meat grinding scenes, most notable is a fight scene between Ricky and a knife-wielding prisoner named Oscar. During the fight, Oscar throws powdered glass in Ricky's eyes and then slashes Ricky's right arm. Ricky seemingly finished, smashes a water pipe and cleans his eyes, then uses his teeth and left hand to tie the veins and tendons in his arm back together. Oscar then charges at Ricky, but Ricky dodges and smacks him in the back of the head, popping one of his eyes out, leaving it to be eaten by crows. Seeing himself at a disadvantage, Oscar attempts suicide by seppuku. However, when Ricky approaches Oscar to try and stop the suicide, Oscar grabs his own intestines and wraps them around Ricky's neck in an attempt to strangle him, prompting the assistant warden to exclaim in the English dub: "You've got a lot of guts, Oscar!". Ricky then punches Oscar in the face, with an X-ray image showing the front of his skull shattering. The deceased Oscar crumples to the ground without so much as a visibly broken nose.

In another fight scene, Ricky punches and graphically breaks the Gang of Four member, Tarzan's arm, then lands an uppercut with such force that Tarzan's jaw is torn off. Finally, Ricky goes for the Coup de grâce and punches several of Tarzan's fingers off as he attempts to punch Ricky.

Another scene includes the warden's graphic death which depicts Ricky throwing him into an industrial meat grinder. Ricky pushes the struggling warden through the grinder, until his whole body is shredded and only his head remains. In that scene, so much fake blood was used that Fan Siu-wong could not wash the blood off his skin for three days.

The film's low budget shows in the scene where Ricky's girlfriend Keiko jumps to her death. For this scene, an obvious mannequin wearing her clothes is thrown off the top of the building, landing with a dull thud and a slight bounce. A dummy is also used in some scenes where there is a close up.


Box office[edit]

Riki-Oh received a Category III rating (viewers under 18 not allowed). It was one of the first Hong Kong movies to receive such a rating for non-erotic content. This rating greatly inhibited the film's ability to make money at the box office. The film grossed $2,147,778 HKD in Hong Kong. Despite the box office performance, Fan Siu Wong said that the movie was a major hit on rental since many kids who were not allowed to view it in theaters could now rent the film and watch it.[2]

Critical response[edit]

On the aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Riki-Oh has an approval rating of 90% by 10 reviews, and with an average rating of 7.1/10.[3] Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice called it "a rather astonishing, starkly stylized blood flood set inside a privatized prison."[4] Kurt Ramschissel of Film Threat gave the film 5 stars, saying that "the violence comes fast and furious and is just as outrageous and over-the-top as Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson ever were."[5] J.R. Jones from the Chicago Reader said, "If you can handle the torrent of grisly violence, you'll find yourself royally entertained by this Hong Kong actioner."[6]

Home media[edit]

In the U.S., Tokyo Shock released it on a bare bones DVD in 2000. In 2002, DVD was released by Hong Kong Legends in Region 2.[7] In 2003, Fortune Star (formerly Mega Star), current holders of the Golden Harvest library from Media Asia, released a Remastered version of the film on a 3 disc set along with The Dragon from Russia and City Hunter.

The film was released on Blu-ray by Media Blasters in 2011.[8] Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky became available in its original Chinese with hard-coded English subtitles on Netflix's Instant Streaming service in mid-2012. The film aired on Turner Classic Movies on 2 November 2012 and 14 April 2013 as part of TCM Underground. In the UK, the film was first released on Blu-ray from a new HD restoration by Mediumrare Entertainment in 2015[9] before going out of print. In 2021, British distributors 88 Films released their own Blu-ray edition of the film with new remastered English subtitles and both Cantonese and English audio tracks.[10]

In November 2023, the movie was released on Criterion Channel.[11]

Unofficial sequel[edit]

An unofficial sequel titled Dint King Inside King (a.k.a. Story of Ricky 2 or Super Powerful Man) was released in Hong Kong in 2005. The film was never released in the United States or in Europe. Fan Siu-wong is again cast in the title role, and wears the camouflage poncho seen in flashbacks and in the manga.


  1. ^ "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky". Cult Film In Review. 18 June 2015. Archived from the original on 17 September 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1992) Fan Siu Wong Interview 力王: 樊少皇專訪 [English Subbed]". YouTube. 20 October 2017. Archived from the original on 11 August 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  3. ^ "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
  4. ^ Atkinson, Michael (5 November 2002). "Taboo Ya!". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 17 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Story of Ricky (Lai Wong)". Film Threat. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012.
  6. ^ Jones, J.R. (12 March 2008). "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on 9 December 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  7. ^ Desbarats, Xavier. "Riki-Oh". DeVilDead. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky". Blu-ray.com. 27 September 2011. Archived from the original on 9 August 2022. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Restored Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky Heading to Blu-ray". Archived from the original on 23 July 2021. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  10. ^ 88 Films: Riki-Oh The Story of Ricky and Robotrix Detailed for Blu-ray, archived from the original on 23 July 2021, retrieved 23 July 2021
  11. ^ "Criterion Channel's November 2023 Lineup". Criterion channel. Retrieved 18 January 2024.

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