Monday, June 28, 2010

Six String Samurai: The Internet Has Failed Me Again


If you spend anytime reading about people's favorite post apocalyptic flicks, almost invariably you'll see an item on everyone's list, and that' Six String Samurai. I finally tracked it down and gave it a watch. I don't think anyone quite prepared me for what I was going to see, and I'll admit that my expectations were a little high.
Just take a look at that movie poster up there, drink it in for a minute. There's a certain joy in the visual design, with the hero being dressed remeniscent of Buddy Holly, and the villain as Slash. That joy in design pervades the entire movie, with many characters and groups of characters being homages to either musical icons or at least fashion trends. Every new scene reveals something new and delightful to see.
The backstory is that Russia nukes the US in 1957, and Las Vegas, being one of the least affected areas, becomes the center of a new society, with Elvis as its king, centered around rock and roll, and ass kicking. There's a sort of knight class that all carry guitars and swords, hence the title of the movie, which describes the hero, who carries a guitar and a katana. Flashforward to the present, and the King is dead, and all of the knights are journeying to Vegas, with whomever is the last night standing/first to reach Vegas, becoming the new King.
The visual style and the backstory are the two things that I really liked about this movie, and they'll probably be the last things that I praise.
The movie is done up as a kind of Hong Kong action movie spoof. The opening scene was intentionally shot in an odd aspect ratio, and then squeezed into a standard aspect, which was apparently common in the cheap Hong Kong flicks that were brought to the States. The entire movie sounds like it was dubbed, although all of the actors are clearly speaking English, so I don't know if they did that intentionally, or if their audio equipment was just cheap (most of the rest of the movie felt cheap). Unfortunately, whereas some films can pull off being intentionally bad, this one just falls flat. With bad acting, and poorly thrown together action scenes.
There is one scene near the end of the movie, where the hero comes across a blockade made up of left behind Russian soldiers, since they won't let him pass, he just charges in and starts cutting them down, one againt one hundred. The second in command says "Why don't we just shoot him?" "Idiot! We haven't had bullets since 1957!", then they run away.
If you could watch this movie just as a nonsensical string of fight scenes with it's bizarre soundtrack, I would probably enjoy it a lot more, but it might be worth watching if you're interested in a little masochistic viewing.

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