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PFR is marking the 500th post by putting up a bunch of DVD extras this week. This here is an excitable ‘review’ I wrote in 2005, trying my best to convince everyone on my local bulletin board that they must see this film.

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (aka 力王, Lik Wong, Li Wang)

I’ve seen a lot of fucked up films, but few can compare to the crazyness that is… The Story Of Ricky. Made in 1991, this film is pretty much a genreless gore-fest, everything’s included from comedy to action to crime, it’s all there. Set in a prison in 2001 you know it’s going to be fucked up when the opening blurb is something like

“2001AD, democratic governments have sold everything from prisons to parking lots over to corporations: violence rules” – you see what the commies did there? Down with democracy, and all that!

So anyway, the story’s about a guy called Ricky, I think he’s a pansy, but everyone’s scared of him ‘cos he’s got ‘super-bad-ass-strength’. The very first gore scene is an old guy getting his face re-arranged with a woodwork PLANE!! then Ricky beats this guy up by tripping him up on to a block of wood covered in nails… setting the tone for the greatest film ever made.

So Ricky runs around beating everyone else up in prison, punching through arms legs and even other people’s punches, he looks real tough… but when no-one’s watching this pansy sits in a corner thinking about his dead girlfriend and playing a pan pipe…

So much violent, but amateur, gore – it’s amazing. Must see for horror and gore fans.

“THIS IS THE MOTHER OF ALL GORY FU FLICKS! Plainly amazing, we’re talking heads punched in half, guys using their intestines (hanging out of their body cavity) to strangle Ricky, women kicking dogs in half, people exploding, and internal organs flying all over the place.” – badmovies.org

Punched through the face!

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Fast forward to the present and I’ve now watched this film about a dozen times with a whole heap of friends (usually whilst drinking). It’s a great movie for both its insane levels of OTT gore, and the tons of random Asian elements that make these oriental B-movies so endearing.

Hard Boiled: a classic cops Vs Triads flick by John Woo, arguably at his peak. This is almost always cited as one of the best action films ever made, and with good reason. The bloodshed is so, so stylish and cool: slow-motion, intricate and technical. The action is completely mesmerising in places with explosions, bullets, bodies, weapons and debris all dancing around the frame. This is the closest thing to an action-ballet you’ll see, with long swooping shots, that make the even the most intricate of scenes seem effortless. It also has a real cinematic quality for the most part, with brilliant camera work jumping out in places – peaking with a meticulous 2 1/2 minute single-shot through hospital corridors and lifts, like a shoot-em-up game. The story is pretty standard – fallen colleague, hostage situations and undercover cops – but Woo avoids cliché by putting 90% of the focus on the action. There are some minor downsides to Hard Boiled; the hospital siege goes on for far too long (well over 40 minutes), The 1980s synth soundtrack is incredibly out of date and there’s a bizarro Jazz motif throughout. It’s also the only foreign film I deliberately watch with English dubs because the original audio is in worse synch than the voiceovers. All in, Hard Boiled is the definitive action film that takes all the best parts of a tired genre and makes them great again, and so much more watchable.

Score: 8/10