It’s a bad sign when you start admiring the vistas to the point of losing track of the story, but Six-String Samurai is that kind of movie. It may be pointless, paceless and too self-consciously hip for its own good, but it sure looks nice.
The premise is this: Russia has kicked America’s sorry ass in a nuclear exchange in 1957 — it’s one of those parallel universe things — and the landscape is all picturesque desert inhabited by scruffy medieval types à la Mad Max. It’s 40 years after the war as the movie opens. Elvis, the king of Lost Vegas, has died and roaming-samurai, guitar-playing, martial arts experts are heading to the city to claim his title.
The film follows the exploits of the taciturn Buddy, as in Holly (Jeffrey Falcon), one of the six-stringed samurai determined to replace the king — though if Russia won the war, wouldn’t King Elvis just be a puppethead for the dastardly commies? Hmmmm ... ? Things take a turn for the worse pretty early in the proceedings, when an excruciatingly annoying little desert rat known — in the credits — as The Kid attaches himself to our hero. Since Buddy exudes a lot of spaghetti-western macho, one waits hopefully for him to drop-kick the little bastard over the nearest sand dune, but it never happens.
Not much else does either, just a few fights and much wandering around. The movie is crammed with a lot of flat-footed jokes that you’d have to be 12 years old or very stoned — or both — to enjoy, borrowings from Sergio Leone and Kaurismaki’s Leningrad Cowboys Go America, and a tedious non-performance by Falcon.
But the cinematography by Kristian Bernier is impressive, especially considering that this is an ultra-low-budget student film that got mutated into a feature. All that sand and sun. Very nice.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.