Six-String Samurai

In the far distant days of 1999, a friend of mine brought a VHS tape over with a movie on it. I’d heard a little bit about the film and we were all excited to see it. It was “Six-String Samurai”. I remember at the time the film was a big deal on the indy film scene and big things were expected from it. I watched it that once and never watched it again. . .

Until a couple of months ago when Krishna suggested I watch it so I can write a review. I went in full expecting to be underwhelmed this time. I’m not sure if I was or not.

The general run down of the story is that in the 50’s, Russia conquered the US in a nuclear war and now controls the country. The only surviving free city is Lost Vegas, ruled by Elvis. The King has died and now every “Six-String Samurai” is trying to make their way to Vegas to take the throne. This is the story of Buddy, a sword and guitar wielding wanderer dressed like a post-apocalyptic Buddy Holly as he tries to make it to Vegas. His journey is complicated by a Kid that ends up following him. All the while he’s being pursued by Death himself and his men.

Needless to say, this film doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has what may be one of the slowest and goofiest car chase scenes I’ve ever seen. It’s got some very good fight scenes in it though and some great ideas. But that’s part of the problem with it, really. It’s great ideas done on a budget. It feels like a proof of concept to me. Sort of a “MAN! This’ll be GREAT when we do it as a real movie!” I don’t want to use the word half baked, but it definitely isn’t done. It should have been a seed and not an end unto itself.
Another problem is Buddy. For a large portion of the film, the protagonist is just plain unlikable. I’m not saying he should be a bit rough, but you need to get your audience connected early on and the film botches that pretty badly.

Honestly, I think the idea of the film should be revisited now. Not as a serious film, but as what it is. Maybe with someone like Ben Edlund, Jackson Public, or John Roiland at the helm. Maybe an animated series. It’s a fun world and with some tweeks to the character of Buddy and some better writing it would be a fun film, tv show, or animated series. Who knows. Get on that Hollywood. This concept has legs if you can find them.


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