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`Six-String Samurai’ has its moments

SHARE `Six-String Samurai’ has its moments

On the cinematic dairy scale, there's cheesy, and then there's "Six-String Samurai" cheesy.

If audiences go into this extremely low-budget cult film expecting anything even approaching cinematic brilliance, they're bound to be disappointed. Otherwise, this goofy cobbling of "The Road Warrior," rock 'n' roll, Hong Kong martial-arts movies and the Japanese comic book "Lone Wolf and Cub" might just surprise you."Six-String Samurai" probably won't make many critics' Top 10 lists. But it does have more than a few amusing moments, thanks to its off-kilter premise and its winkingly awful intentions.

In this decidedly tongue-in-cheek, low-concept production, most of the continental United States was taken over by Red Communists in 1957, and one of the few safe havens is Las Vegas, now known as Lost Vegas.

Enter the title character, Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon, who co-wrote, co-produced and served as production designer), an unwashed, unshaven Buddy Holly lookalike who is en route to Vegas and hopes to become the new king there (longtime leader Elvis Presley has recently died, and the free world is now without a figurehead).

But his 300-mile journey isn't an easy one. There are hordes of radioactive mutants, Red Communist soldiers and bands of cannibals roaming the wastelands, and he finds himself saddled with a seemingly mute youngster (Justin McQuire).

Worse still, there's a heavy-metal-style physical incarnation of Death (Stephane Gauger) who has been knocking off all prospective kings and is now eager to test Buddy's musical and martial-arts skills.

Director/co-writer Lance Mungia gleefully plunders from the aforementioned sources, as well as "The Wizard of Oz," the Three Stooges and Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns. But surprisingly, it works to his advantage, as does his frenetic pacing and playing the whole thing strictly for laughs.

And though Falcon is no actor, he really doesn't need to be. Instead, he wisely limits his lines and lets his fists and feet do the talking most of the time.

"Six-String Samurai" is rated PG-13 for martial-arts violence, scattered profanities and brief gore.