“Nice Shoes”

21 Jan

Cult Of The Week 3- Six String Samurai

The apocalypse left little funding for education.

Even in week 3 of this year-long trawl through the bargain bins of cinema history, a theme is beginning to emerge- failure. Not necessarily just of character ( although there’s quite a lot of that as well) but of the film itself, a sense that everything didn’t work the way it was supposed to. COTW is designed to look beyond those flaws, to find joy in the one-legged-seagull/ bashed puppies of film. Six String Samurai is a movie with an inspired premise and so much working in its favour, but somehow it doesn’t pull together as well as you would hope.

Slash finally gets the opportunity to display his second love- fencing.

Six String Samurai, like all good movies, begins with a nuclear explosion and continues with a title scroll explaining how in 1957 Russian launched several warheads at the United States, resulting in most the country turning in to an inhospitable wasteland. The greatest surviving city is Lost Vegas, lead by The King himself- Elvis Presley. Due to some unfortunate circumstances Elvis has died, and a radio DJ informs the people that the Kingdom is in need of a new leader. Enter Buddy- a Buddy Holly lookalike with a guitar/katana whose quest for Lost Vegas is hindered by ‘The Kid” (who has perhaps  the single most annoying cry since Baby Mario in Yoshi’s Island. I’m sorry to bring back memories, but it’s an apt comparison), various teams of bounty hunters and Death himself- who wants Lost Vegas for himself to transform the world of Rock and Roll into heavy metal.

Even in an alternate timeline Nixon found a way to dick the space program

All this sounds amazing in a paragraph, and bits of it are great. The weird retro-futurism and crazy DJ (both tropes that’ll be familiar to Fallout 3 fans) add to the atmosphere, and most of the fights scenes are well shot with a Kung-Fu Hustle approach , bizzare costumes included  and the presence of weirdo surf-rockers The Red Elvises adds to the cartoon atmosphere. Even with the fights, the visuals and the music half the time it just doesn’t click. It’s difficult to say precisely why too- all the elements are great, but even at a fairly slender 91 minutes it drags, and while some of the dialogue has a goofy charm a lot of it crashes like so much Grecian crockery.

Don McLean comes back to finish the job.

This, like many films I’ll cover, has problems too big to ignore. The words are sometimes clunky and it’s all a bit higgledy-piggeldy but by Zeus the thing’s got character. Six String Samurai isn’t perfect but there’s a hell of a lot to love once you look past its flaws. That, if anything, is what Cult Of The Week is all about.

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