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:: Thursday, December 26, 2002 ::

Crowd Pleaser

Again, you’re perusing the collection at Blockbusters, looking for something for everyone.

You want to watch a film with lots of swordfights, Bro wants post-apocalyptic sci-fi, Sis wants a religious epic, Mom wants a tender, flowering relationship story, Dad wants an Elvis picture, and the grandparents want a musical.

How could you possibly satisfy everyone?
You could start by bringing home Six String Samurai.

Who knew there was a film featuring a Buddy Holly rock and roll swordsman?

After the Soviet invasion of 1957, only a single free city-state lives outside the communist jackboot. Now, after forty years of benighted rule, Elvis is dead, and Vegas needs a new king.

Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon) is one of hundreds of princes. Skilled with blade and axe (guitar), he is but one of a myriad of would be successors sojourning to Vegas to compete for the title of Rock and Roll King.

Mid-trek he meets ‘The Kid’ (Justin McGuire), recently orphaned by a pack of arrow and candy wielding brigands. Although Buddy reluctantly saves Kid, he has no intention of making Kid his ward. Instead, Buddy leaves Kid at the hands of a post-suburban family of cannibals, who immediately make dinner plans.

The cannibals’ dinner plans are interrupted by a pack of wild astronauts. The spacemen seem poised to rip Kid limb from limb, when Buddy makes a timely arrival. Could this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Apparently not. Although Buddy and Kid share a series of adventures in which each of them saves the other from peril, at the first opportunity, Buddy ditches Kid with a body-building ‘little person,’ while Buddy chases a schoolgirl adept in the art of chewing-gum seduction.

Meanwhile Death (and his band) stalk the land, slaying the singing, strumming warrior princes one-by-one. When Death draws near, Kid manages to warn Buddy, and the two escape Death’s clutches (but only temporarily). When Death ambushes them, Buddy fights Death to a draw, while the Spinach Monster (yes, that monster) drags Kid down to Hell.

Like a Greek god, Buddy descends into Hades and vanquishes the legions of darkness. Of interest to religious scholars, while Death is away, he leaves the day-to-day administration of hell to the Windmill god, a supercomputer with a taste for freshly slaughtered children. Buddy defeats the Windmill god, but not before Kid gets to dish out American justice to a dead bully with his rock-and-roll fists. Buddy and Kid climb out of Hell and head for Vegas. Kid and Buddy get a chance to bond in a round of dance-fighting lasting through the night. At the break of dawn, the two set off on the last leg of their trip.

The gates of Vegas are guarded by the entire Red Army. Demonstrating his true American fighting spirit, Buddy takes them on all at once. Naturally he wins, but is mortally wounded. Buddy’s death leaves Kid at the mercy of Death, who arrives to claim Buddy’s soul.

Like Christ on Easter, Buddy revives and battles Death to the, um, death. Pitting swords and music against each other (Buddy’s style is eponymous, while Death bears a resemblance to a guitarist whose name rhymes with Slash -- oops SPOILER, don’t look). Death-metal triumphs, but Kid knows Death’s secret vulnerability: metal rusts.

With his trusty canteen, Kid vanquishes Death. Kid puts on Buddy’s clothes (and sword and axe) and completes the journey to Vegas where presumably (i.e., off screen) he becomes the new King. A victory for rock and roll and fun for the whole family (Rated PG-13).

By the way, the film is scored by the Red Elvises, a band of Russian you-know-who impersonators, and they sound wonderful. An epic in every sense of the word, Six String Samurai should be on everybody’s Thanksgiving rental list and in every film aficionado’s DVD collection.

Two ears up

:: Anna 8:46 PM [+] ::

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