Six-String Samurai (1998)

If You Scratch My Guitar, I’ll Kill You.

When today’s movie was requested by a former coworker named Chuck, I admittedly had no idea that the movie existed.  And, as best I can tell, neither did anyone else.  Chuck alone was the audience of this movie.  But it was indeed requested, so there was no way that I wasn’t going to do it at some point.  And it didn’t seem like it’d be that bad of a fit for me, seeing as I enjoy both playing guitar and sword-fighting.  And, from the title, that’s all I could gather from the movie.  It was found on Netflix and put in my queue, and it eventually arrived.  So I bring you my review of Six-String Samurai, written and directed by Lance Mungia, co-written by and starring Jeffrey Falcon, and also starring Justin McGuire, Stephane Gauger, John Sakisian, Gabrille Pimenter, Zuma Jay, Monti Ellison, Kim De Angelo, and Clifford Hugo.

I will do my best to formulate this story into a coherent paragraph because, as best I can tell, the writers of this movie did not find that to be very important.  The story takes place within the world of Fallout: New Vegas, but instead of super mutants and bandits with guns roaming around the land, it’s a bunch of people with swords and guitars.  One such person is called Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon), so cleverly named because she shares a physical appearance with rock ‘n roll legend, Buddy Holly.  His goal is to become the new king of “Lost Vegas” after the death of Elvis.  On his way there, he saves the life of a kid, cleverly named “Kid” (Justin McGuire), but fails to save the life of his mother.  Having nothing better to do with his time, the Kid follows Buddy.  Along the way, they’ll run into various groups of unsavory people lining the way to Lost Vegas, including cannibals, guys dressed like astronauts, rejected extras from Mad Max, and bowlers who kill people.  The main antagonist is a guy dressed like Slash who calls himself Death (Stephane Gauger) who is trying to kill anyone who intends to become king.

What the fuck did I just watch?  This the most confusing and weird movie I’ve watched in recent memory, and none of it in a good way.  Some people may appreciate movies like this one for their campy appeal and the imagination it demonstrates, but not me.  I just didn’t know what the fuck was going on, and I didn’t enjoy it.  But I do appreciate a few things about the movie.  I appreciate the meaning of the movie about someone trying to kill Rock ‘n Roll, but I didn’t appreciate how they did it.  Slash didn’t kill Rock ‘n Roll.  He IS Rock ‘n Roll!  The bad guy should’ve been 50 Cent or something.  Maybe Justin Bieber except that no one would believe that someone like Justin Bieber could even lift a sword, let alone fight with it.  If it comes down to it, I say let Slash kill Buddy Holly, or at least let Slash wait for an airplane to do his job for him.  Slash is awesome.  I kind of appreciate that the movie is kind a kind of reference/rip off of Wizard of Oz, which is something that can be seen in a couple of different places and, more specifically, the moment when a character dies when sprayed with water and the fact that Lost Vegas looks like the Emerald City.  But if you thought you needed some top quality drugs to come up with an idea like the Wizard of Oz then you’d have to OD to come up with this movie.  I also appreciated the fights.  They were interesting bits of martial and sword-fighting and were brief respites for my mind that lay shattered from over-confusion.  But those minor positives were not enough to overcome how annoying I found its crazy story that seemed as confused about where it was going as I was about watching it.  The camera guy was apparently going into convulsions because of how little the world made sense after this movie as well.  Either that or they just decided to use the most annoying camera techniques ever.  Some scenes were randomly fish-eyed, others were nauseating shaky cams, and other still were slow motion.  All were irritating.  If I could say one positive thing about this movie without caveats, it would be that I kind of liked the ending.  Whether I liked the ending because it was a poignant scene or just because the movie was finally ending, I cannot say.

There was not a performance in this movie that I enjoyed.  Jeffrey Falcon’s smug, raspy Buddy Holly annoyed me from the very beginning.  Then Justin McGuire as the Kid came in to show me that I could be annoyed more.  For the first 2/3 of the movie, he was apparently ABLE to speak, but decided that everything could be accomplished by shouting, “AAAAAAAAH,” instead of using words.  I was so disappointed that someone didn’t stab this kid in his voice box … which I say only to transition into this next problem with the movie: Why did everyone sound like someone else was speaking their lines for them?  About 90% of the movie seemed dubbed, but they were mouthing along with the words so I can only assume that someone fucked up royal when it came to the sound mix for this movie.

My review for the Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension should have let people know that a crazy and confusing movie gets next to nothing from me, but Six-String Samurai was requested anyway.  It’s so weird and annoying in its story and filming techniques that I almost didn’t make it to the ending that, though I liked it, did not make up for the irritation that the rest of the movie caused.  I feel like I need to go get some Aloe Vera for my brain it’s been so irritated!  Also, the performances are awful, as is the sound mix.  I don’t think anyone should watch this movie because it will shatter your grip on reality, and my grip on reality was already tenuous at best.  Six-String Samurai gets “If I were you, I would run” out of “The wastelands ain’t no place for kids.”

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