Friday, April 29, 2005

Oh Ricky

I like martial arts films. I’ve been a fan since the days when my high school friends and I would take the el (elevated train) from the Bronx, transfer to the subway and head on down to 42nd and Times Square to catch the latest Bruce Lee flick. We all began studying various forms of martial arts at the time and my friend, Paul, even went on to own his own martial arts school and became something of a celebrity in the field of Tai Chi Chuan. Back then, you didn’t have the “wire-fu” productions that have since become (rightfully so) so popular, here, in the United states (finally!). Bruce Lee was great, I’ll grant you – but none of his films were any match for a spectacle like “Hero”. Sometimes change is a good thing.

Sometimes, it’s not.

Enter “RIKI OH the Story of Ricky”.
I had heard a lot about this film. Mostly, that it consisted of an over-the-top, cartoon-ish approach to the martial arts genre. The story revolves around a young martial arts master who is sent to prison for killing an opium dealer. The opium dealer had kidnapped Ricky’s girlfriend and to get away, she decided that the most intelligent thing to do would be to leap to her death from the building she was held captive in. Yes, that’s exactly what I would do. When faced with a threat, one should always consider jumping off a building.
Anyway, while in prison (which appears to be privately owned), Ricky becomes involved in a conflict with the evil warden (of course) and his “gang of four” (martial arts masters – of course). It seems, not only is ridiculous brutality used to control inmates, but the prison itself is an opium factory. Ricky, being the valiant hero, takes exception to this. This is when all the “fun” begins. There are no words to describe the level of violence depicted. Personally, I love a violent film. I’ve always been that way. But seriously, strangling your opponent with your own intestines? Alrighty, then. We also have the infamous “head crushing” scene shown on “The Daily Show”. Yowza! I’ll admit, the scene where a blow from a fist punches in somebody’s skull shown in “x-ray vision” is pretty cool, but most of it just had me staring in stunned disbelief. As the movie draws to a conclusion, the violence escalates to a point where I just had to stop and say, “What the hell is this?” This movie is in a class all by itself. Some movies are just plain repulsive. But others can keep you glued to your seat in shock until you realize you’ve just spent a couple of hours looking at something you had no intention of wasting your time on . Bravo Ricky!

Next up "Singapore Sling"


At 12:32 PM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

I'd heard a lot about this film, especially the level of violence, and pretty much decided it was a bit much for me. (My level is just below Dead-Alive--I can feel my gorge rising during that one, but I can watch the film without incident.)

I think the problem with violence in movies is the same as sex in movies--there is only so far you can go in explicitness before the audience becomes jaded, and you have to reach more and more to get a reaction.

(Which is why I think suggestion is so much more powerful, but that's just me.)

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

For a more quaint film, I can suggest the only sporadically mega-violent Five Fingers of Death, which was the first Chinese martial arts film to make a killing over here, and thus in its own way an important film.

This is the film, referenced in Kill Bill, that uses the blaring horns from the Ironside theme whenever the hero marshalls his Iron Fist. It also contains of the most hilarious eye-gougings in cinema history.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Oh, as as to Beckoningchasm's note, I am undoubtedly more wimpy than he is. I saw Dead Alive in a midnight showing at the Music Box in Chicago, and during the scene where somebody ate an ear that had fallen into their soup, was about a centimeter away from throwing up all over the floor. Luckily, I was just able to contain myself.


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