King Rikki (2002) Poster

(2002)

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Classic Villainy in the Barrio
JeanineGMail5 April 2003
With LA gang territory as situational backdrop and the convention of soliloquy/narrative storytelling as method, Street King renders a stunning updated headshot of classic villainy. This is chiefly a character study, not a lesson is gang sociology. The narrative device, so effective here, is, of course, a tradition evidenced most recently on film with Kenneth Branagh's Iago -- the Shakespearean baddy bent on punishing Larry Fishburn's _Othello_ while letting the audience in on each turn of his twisted plot and mind -- and with Al Pacino's incarnation of Rikki's mentor, Richard III, in _Looking for Richard_. These characters are desperate, vengeful, self-isolated men, convinced that the world has stolen their birthrights in one form or other, with `the third wall' -- that's us -- their only true companions. They're bent on revenge, and they relish sharing their process.

Now in _Street King_ ( alias _King Rikki_) there too goes Rikki Ortega, with an ironic humor that paints his brand of black all the darker a shade of never-gettin'-over-it. Jon Seda gets the idea; so does the script. The audience gets a stylish swine in modern dress.

Too bad the film's release wasn't well publicized. As Hillary Clinton might say, it takes a budget. Seda's performance is laser perfect, and there are some other solid performances as well. (Liz Torres as Rikki's mother is particularly fine.) For the drama of pure devilry, this video is worth checking out.
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I liked it alot
Max-18112 March 2003
I saw it under the title "Street King" and thought it was really inventive to have one of Shakespeare's more violent plays, Richard III, translated to hispanic urban gang war, drug trade and street politics. Jon Seda is incredibly good as the evil Rikki Ortega who kills his brothers and rivals to gain power. The movies flows and it really captured my attention. Mario Lopez doing a turn as Rikki's childhood friend who grows up to be 5-O and turf rival was even more interesting and cast against type for Lopez. Good job.
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7/10
Violent Family Drama
Falconeer11 July 2018
Using a unique style of having the protagonist speak directly to the audience, "Street King" is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's "Richard III," set in Gangland L.A. Jon Seda is perfect as Rikki, the gang leader who is carrying a vicious grudge, against the entire world, especially his family. As a child, his mother gave him away to relatives because she couldn't afford another mouth to feed. He returns and, under the guise of familial loyalty, he methodically, "dispatches" each brother who ranks higher than him, as he climbs the ranks of Gangland royalty, to top spot. This film is not for all tastes, and very "un-Hollywood." The main character has absolutely no redeeming qualities, honor or moral compass. He is the definitive "sociopath." This means there is nobody at all to root for, or even to relate to, unless you yourself, are also a sociopath. But J. Sena has so much damn charisma, that he pulls off the impossible, in that he still manages to charm the viewer, even as he is killing off his own family! No, this is not a mainstream film, and it's doubtful the film makers thought this would make any profit whatsoever. But that is somehow commendable. I imagine "Street King" must have a cult following within the gang community, specifically because of it's accurate portrayal of gang mentality, and of this utter lack of respect for human life. Violent and misogynistic, this ultra-low budget movie is definitely worth a look, especially for the off-the-rails performance of Jon Seda, who has 100 times more sex appeal and talent than 100 Johhny Depps..
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4/10
Stupid
=G=14 January 2003
"Street King" sticks Seda out front as a Mexican gang member who climbs the ladder of success in the streets of East L.A. by finding creative ways to "off" his competition. Seda explains his stratagem and gang politics by talking to the camera throughout the film thereby providing constant reminders we're watching a MOVIE (duh)! The film offers okay art and technicals but fails on story, breaching reality in every frame as it withers and finally dies a slow death of purposeless mediocrity. Pass on this sophomoric story and waste of talent. (D+)
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5/10
Shakespere's King Richard in the Hood??
CJXzoic197011 October 2002
I admit the updating of one of Shakespeare's classics to modern day storytelling is intriguing but it takes the right cunning mastermind to achieve the same heights the master storyteller did. Not many Shakespeare's updates come close. Giving the reins to Mr. Bedford better known for smutty sexapades such as the Red Shoe Diaries and Wild Orchid further kills all hopes. King Rikki or The Street King whatever you want to call it is clouded by the fact it plays itself as a typical street gang film. With plenty of killings and violence it fits the bill but with main character Rikki Ortega (Jon Seda) running continuous humorous commentary to the camera gives the film a more comedy somewhat dark feel. There is nothing here to feel for the characters or identify with them in any respect. Rikki's sole purpose to become crime boss and leader of his dwindling family is because his mother had traded him to cousins when he was a child because they were poor. So sorry so sad - that happens sometimes but at least she kept it in the family and sent for him when ready. Hell he could have gone to a foster home. Then would he want to kill everybody?

When his brothers started to make money they send for Rikki to come back home. Intervening muddling of the woes of notorious gang rivalries The Crips and The Bloods doesn't even make a difference in Rikki's vendetta. Not wanting to spoil the movie but Rikki's motives is weak and not even tied to those gangs. What family is he trying to run after he kills them all off? His mother and girlfriend don't even trust him with right not too! The only likable thing about Rikki is he's funny! Even with him explaining his motives this movie still didn't make a bit of sense and stank all the way through. Mario Lopez's cop/old friend/quasi gang member character was completely unbelievable and didn't add anything to the picture. No wonder this minimal actor dwells in b-movie franchises, he adds nothing. The whole thing was distorted and extremely annoying. No wonder this movie churned out with little to no fanfare in it's straight to video and down a path to obscurity.

It's too bad because Jon Seda and quite a few of the other unknown actors, particularly, the young newcomer Tonantzin Carmelo that played Anita have lots of potential. This numb wanna be Shakespearean Barrio Boys in the Hood epic does not work! Somebody please recommend a good barrio gangster flick done by people who know their subject matter!
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