Six-String Samurai [1998]

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
As a genre-buster, Six-String Samurai--just your average, run-of-the-mill postapocalyptic kung-fu-rock & roll road movie--has a lot going for it. The film takes place in a Soviet-ruled America (they nuked the U.S. in 1957; with the exception of Lost Vegas [sic] and the badlands around it, the country is a Soviet territory). It revolves around Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Buddy Holly), a guitar-slinger-swordsman who's on his way to Vegas, where he plans to succeed the just-deceased Elvis as the King. Along the way, he picks up an orphaned preteen traveling companion, and the pair's quest leads them to confront various Mad Max-style pop-culture weirdos, the Red Army, and Death--a rival guitarist who looks suspiciously like Guns n' Roses' Slash. Falcon's background is in Hong Kong cinema, and it shows in this made-on-a-shoestring production, filmed mostly in Palm Springs and Death Valley. (He certainly had enough opportunities to influence the production, since, besides playing the lead, Falcon pitched in as cowriter, coproducer, production designer, and costume designer on the film.) Despite the limited budget, the movie is generally entertaining, though it could probably stand to lose a couple of go-nowhere subplots that account for about 15 minutes of the 91-minute running time. --Randy Silver

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