Ricky-Oh! the Story of Ricky, is one of the all time strangest, weirdest, most insane and most unpredictable action films ever made. It was based on the Korean comic book series of the same name and quickly went on to become a cult legend. The internet has really boosted its visibility, as people have cut out their favorite scenes and posted them on message boards. The movie goes on any list of must download internet movies simply because it’s so darn bizarre and weird.
The movie follows Ricky, a young martial artist who winds up in prison. Within the prison, there are four gang leaders who all use their own styles of martial arts. Ricky takes it upon himself to take these thugs down, to strange results.
The movie is nothing if not violent, but the violence is so absurd that it’s not really offensive or disturbing so much as it is funny and weird. It reaches Loony Toons proportions. In one fight scene, a badguy rips out his own intestine to strangle Ricky with, immediately after Ricky, having received a slash across a major artery, pulls the vein out and ties it in a knot.
These movies are just too funny to be disturbing. It really is just a cartoon, so you’ll be too busy laughing to have any time left over to feel offended or upset by what you’re seeing… If you can believe that you’re actually seeing what you’re seeing in the first place, that is.
Another sequence has the warden of the prison transforming into a twelve foot tall monster, built out of ridiculously bad makeup and special effects. He “meats” his demise on the business end of a beef grinder. It’s violent, but it’s so ridiculous and funny in its violence that it never feels real. It always feel like silly makeup and special effects, as if the actors and stuntmen are just having some fun with this stuff.
The story actually, surprisingly, has a heart under all this surreal violence. The real story of the film revolves around Ricky trying to fight for freedom and dignity for all of his fellow inmates, who are constantly harassed and bullied by the warden and his spoiled rotten man-child son. It’s about humanity, empathy and understanding more so than it is about violence.
Of course, the violence and weirdness is why it’s a big cult hit, but that’s sort of its angle: Use something silly to get everyone’s attention and then teach them something about life while they’re actually listening to you.
And still, the ending is actually somewhat uplifting and positive. In a movie full of surprises, the optimistic ending may well be the biggest surprise of all. That’s really the appeal of the film. It grosses you out, it makes you laugh, it shows you some weird stuff you’ve never seen before and will never see again, and then somehow in the course of the events, it’s actually gripped your heart and you actually care about the characters.
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