Six-String Samurai (1998)

In the heady pre-social media days of 1998, this movie came out of the Slamdance festival with a huge buzz, ready to instantly be crowned with the title of cult classic. It did well enough, but the two intended sequels never materialized, nor did the career of its leading man, Jeffrey Falcon, who had appeared in several Hong Kong martial arts films.

I have no idea why the buzz faded. This movie is completely bonkers.

In 1957, Russia attacked the U.S. with nukes, destroying most of the country, except for the town of Lost Vegas, which is ruled by King Elvis. For decades, the Russians tried to take the city but the King always protected his home. Now, forty years later, the King is dead and a DJ demands that all rock and rollers gather to choose the new King of Rock and Roll.

Buddy, who is a mix of Lone Wolf and Buddy Holly, is making his way to Lost Vegas and is dealing with the Kid, a young child that he’s saved and doesn’t want bothered with. As they make their way through the fallout, they must deal with Death itself, a heavy metal guitar playing monster who looks like Slash, as well as a group of bounty hunting bowlers, a cannibalistic suburban family named for the Leave It to Beaver family, the three archers that follow Death, mutants and what’s left of the Red Army.

My favorite part of this film is when Buddy plays his guitar while bravely walking toward Death and through a sea of arrows. It’s pretty awesome. The end is pretty cool, with the Kid assuming the mantle of Buddy and walking the rest of the journey toward Lost Vegas. I really would’ve liked to have seen where the series would have gone after this.

The closest I’ll get is the comic book that came out after from Rob Liefeld’s Awesome Comics. Check it out!

There are tributes to Shaw Brother films, as well as Lone Wolf and Cub, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ritchie Valens and The Wizard of Oz. Look for the band the Red Elvises, who did the soundtrack, as the band with the nice shoes.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

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