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Six-String Samurai (1998)

26 January 2010 by Baldy 6 Comments

Six-String Samurai

1998, dir. Lance Mungia

98 min., Rated PG-13.
Starring: Jeffrey Falcon, Justin McGuire.

Review by Baldy

God bless Netflix. I sign up, I spend ridiculous numbers of hours telling it which movies I like and don’t like. I rate the movies it sends me, I watch movies online, I get put onto new and interesting things.

Netflix said I would like this movie. It was RIGHT!

I honestly don’t know if this was a movie first, or a Rob Liefeld manga comic first. Both work out well for me. It doesn’t have much plot. It doesn’t have pithy dialogue or brilliant cinematography or, for that matter, a real budget.

It was just a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Here’s the setup. In 1957, the USSR dropped The Bomb. All of America has been taken over by Godless commies except for that last bastion of freedom known as Lost Vegas. In Vegas, Elvis is the king. Seriously, he’s The King. Forty years later, King Elvis is dead and every fast-picking, sword-swinging badass is heading to Lost Vegas to claim the throne.

Enter Jeffrey Falcon as Buddy. He looks like Buddy Holly, has an unassuming manner and taped-together horn rimmed glasses. He also has a beautiful and legendary guitar with a katana running along the back side of it. Apparently, playing guitar in this post-apocalyptic world is like being part of a news crew in Ron Burgundy: you never know when you might be attacked by opposing talent. Buddy’s pretty good with a guitar, but he’s downright impressive to watch with a sword in his hands. Most actors can look pretty good but typically don’t look like they use swords much in their private lives.

Mr. Falcon looks like he’s been working with one for YEARS.

Anyway, Buddy gets saddled with the most annoying kid/stowaway/leech on the planet. The kids just yells “Aaaaaaaa” like Oddjob, even though he knows how to talk. If it weren’t for his knack at fixing things, I firmly believe that Buddy would have left him with the Russians, or the Mexican midget, or the cannibal family. Still, the kid manages to stay with him and make himself marginally useful.

Here’s the plot. Buddy gets saddled with this kid. They head for Vegas so that Buddy can claim the throne. Along the way, he is waylaid by doo-woppers, mariachis, country and western types and eventually by Death Himself. That’s the plot.

Still, there’s more to it than that. Death kills the doo-wop. He kills the mariachis. He kills everyone, including Buddy himself. Death has killed the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. The kid, though, the kid. . . He picks up the guitar and sword, puts on Buddy’s glasses and resumes the solitary march towards Vegas and the throne.

Rock and Roll ain’t dead. Try to kill it, have a Day The Music Died, but there will always be someone coming along to take up the cause. Cool.

This movie is just plain fun to watch. Buddy in this movie is the kind of role Tarantino would have loved to play when he was younger. Falcon is a quirky and interesting presence on screen, is great with the sword in his hand, and delivers his silence better than most people can speak their lines. The strained relationship with The Kid is very well done. It’s action and absurd settings and moviemaking where they know that YOU know there’s not really a plot. The soundtrack is a rockabilly fan’s dream. It’s a movie made for movie geeks who want to see rock and rollers killing each other with swords to try to claim Elvis’ throne. How cool does that sound?


  • Matt said:

    I love this site. It’s like The Onion AV Club with tits! Keep up the good work.


  • Baldy (author) said:

    Gnoll, you should print that reply and frame it. Beautiful!

  • JCom said:

    First time i visit the site and I see a review for Unbreakable and Six string Samurai….Hooked nuff said keep up the good work.

  • mike said:

    you want people to keep it clean on a site where you use the word retarded??? ugh. give me a break.

  • Gnoll said:

    mike, what the shit goddamn fuck are you talking about?

  • Baldy (author) said:

    You worked your way through the site, stopped on Six-String Samurai and chose THERE to make your social commentary?

    Mike, you’re fucking retarded.

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