Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Don't Touch My Guitar, Don't Even Touch My Guitar

Six-String Samurai
All in glorious 320 bit

by Tom Schulte
This is one of the best soundtracks of recent years. It is full of hilarity and zany surf guitar ditties. Snatches of dialogue tell the story of, apparently, a geek surf guitar virtuoso interrupted en route to Vegas to dispatch a band of desert-dwelling Russian marauders. A sample of the dialogue that makes this collection classic is: "They say you can kill over 200 men and play a mean six-string at the same time.... is that really true?" This is immediately followed by "Boogie on the Beach," a trombone and rock band surf number with strong reverb on the vocals.


1 United States of Russia [Dialogue/Score]
2 Neverland [Score]
3 Love Pipe
4 A Mother's Hand/Buddy [Score]
5 Fly Away Little Butterfly [Dialogue/Score]
6 Kill 200 Men (Dialogue)
7 Boogie on the Beach
8 I Do Not Like Rock & Roll (Dialogue)
9 Hungarian Dance #5
10 Arrowed Kid/Bowlers on the Floor (Dialogue)
11 Rock & Rolling Ourselves to Death (Dialogue)/Jerry's Got the Squeeze B
12 Lonely Highway of Love (Dialogue)/Scorchi Chornie
13 My Darling Lorraine
14 Astro [Score]
15 Follow the Yellow Brick Road (Dialogue)/Leech
16 See You Around Kid (Dialogue)/Siberia
17 Good Golly Miss Molly
18 My Love Is Killing Me
19 Sacred Funeral [Score]
20 Relentless Sun [Score]
21 Over the Hill [Score]
22 Bring His Guitar to Me (Dialogue)/Sahara Burn
23 A Boy and His Spirit [Score]
24 If You Were Me, You'd Be Good-Looking (Dialogue)/Surfing in Siberia
25 Draggin a Fallen Hero [Score]
26 Nice Tuxedo (Dialogue)/Showdown at Not Okay Corral [Score]
27 Bend Before the Ways of Heavy Metal (Dialogue)/Dueling Guitars [Score]
28 Dream March [Score]
29 The Great Battle [Score]
30 End of a Hero/Finale [Score]
31 On My Way to Vegas [Score]

The Movie

A rockin' swordsman goes on an epic quest to Las Vegas, because Elvis has left the building.

Justin's Review: 1957, the bomb drops. Bummer. Then the Russians invade. Suckatude. But things can't be all bad, because Elvis reigns over free "Lost" Vegas for forty years. This has a slightly adverse affect on the world because it spawns dozens of King wannabes who also, for no apparent reason, carry around swords with their guitars. Now that Elvis is dead, there's a race to get to Vegas to have a new rocker crowned The King. And just to make things interesting, Death himself is trying to thin out the applicants.

Welcome to a post-apocalyptic looney bin of crazy proportions.

Our hero in Six-String Samurai, Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon), is a product of the 50s and bad action movies. He's stoic, natch, never breaking into a grimace or grin while cutting down scores of bad guys. Toting around a samurai sword strapped to a guitar, he's got a gig he can't miss. It's basically Back to the Future with more radiation and random acts of violence.

Buddy makes the fatal mistake of rescuing a little kid at the beginning of the film, condemning himself to have a sidekick that, for the most part, just grunts "AUGHHH!" and tags along like a parasitical tapeworm. You watch this film, and you will, will grow to hate this kid. It's an absolute certainty. Kids never have a place in action movies, but for some reason filmmakers keep throwing them in there so that we can be reminded to have our tubes tied after exiting the theater. Fortunately for us, Buddy smacks said little brat on the head a lot and throws him into the trunk of a car, which is a good role model for most babysitters.
Samurai and kid quest across the arid wastelands of Nevada, encountering a score of sunstroke victims. Answer me this: why are there never any happy, normal, civilized people in post-apocalyptic earth? I'm sure that out there, there just had to be some English tea drinkers, debating Longfellow over a game of backgammon. But no, here we get violent bowlers, a nuclear family gone bonkers, a gang of men in spacesuits (which, in a desert, just has to be crispy cool), your standard mutants and Spinach Monsters, and -- of course -- the Grim Reaper (as a heavy metal enthusiast) and his merry gang. It's a tough road to travel for the samurai, and he can never find a rachet when he needs one.
With almost nonstop rockabilly music -- the soundtrack is downright unrelenting -- Six-String Samurai is a confused mixture of action, fantasy, and slap-happy humor. Although the idea of this film very much appeals to me (we just don't get enough post-apocalyptic flicks to suit my taste), it had a hard time winning my heart. At many times, it felt somewhat amateurish, particularly when Buddy was posing before and after and during battles like a stock action figure. Yet, it also has a slavish devotion to the 50s rock-and-roll spirit, and I dug the attitude and quotes that were written in here. Because of the PG-13 slant, most of the action scenes lose their punch with frantic cuts and lack of blood, so it becomes nothing more than some clever martial arts posturing.

Where Six-String Samurai excels is in its world, which manages to be diverse while at the same time retreading territory that we've seen in films like Mad Max and The Stand. It was some sort of wacked stroke of genius to have our hero take on, more or less, the entire Red Army in a sword fight. That, indeed, was groovy.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Six-String Samurai is not just a quirky flick, but instead a cult masterpiece. All I know is that I wish more filmmakers would be this imaginative when it comes to location and story. But next time, leave the kid at home and make it an adult night out. And you should probably see this, just so that you can say to your coworkers or friends, "Last night I watched a post-apocalyptic flick starring a guitar-playing samurai who wanted to replace Elvis as King." That'll get you dates.


Brandonio! said...

Yeah this movie was pretty weird.I was kinda mixed with the soundtrack here though.I ended up just copying the good tracks and selling my copy.Probably just to buy another surf/instro record that i really wanted.

Trustar said...

Have never seen the flick. It's on my list now.

andy h said...

great trash movie! i've watched it about 5 times

Bruce C. said...

Ha, ha, bullseye w/ this one! :)))


Trustar said...

Thanx for dropping in Bruce & Andy. Make sure to check back for more suprises.