The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

I was supposed to see Ronin this weekend but SOMEONE forgot to mention that to me when I left the office on Friday and so I missed the film. I'd get rid of my useless editor, who seems to have absolutely no secretarial skills, except I remember how miserable I was when he left the first time.

And of course I just really love him.

Anyway, I didn't see Ronin. But I asked some people in the office about it. Harold in marketing said it was really great, full of action and fun and all kinds of great things. Burt in Human Resources said it was the greatest movie he's seen all year. But you can't put a whole lot of stock in what Burt says, he liked Godzilla. Our receptionist Sally said the movie was alright, but not great. She said it got a little confusing and the plot just kinda lost her. And no, she's not a ditzy blonde, she's actually pretty smart.

So there ya go. I supposed I'll see it eventually, and I might even review it once I do, but that's neither here nor there. I'm not going to bring myself to review a film I haven't seen. Not again, anyway.

So here's a film I did see. Although you might have a hard time seeing it yourself because I think it got released in all of 3 theaters or something like that. But eventually, it will be on the shelf in your local video store and you'll say “Hey! That's the flick The Self-Made Critic reviewed!” And then, upon remembering this review, you'll probably skip it and rent Spice World or something.

So here we go.

The film is Six-String Samurai. It is a low, low, low, low, low budget post-apocalyptic tale of sword fighting guitar players. I'm not making this up.

Here's the plot: In 1957, The Soviet Union dropped the atomic bomb on the U.S. and won the war. The only bastion of freedom left in the world is Las Vegas. They made Elvis king. Now, in 1997, Elvis has died. Vegas needs a new king. And every guitar-playing sword fighter who thinks he can be king is travelling through the wasteland of America on their way to Vegas to prove their worth. Oh yeah, and Death is one of the contestants, and he's killing everyone he comes across. Oh and the hero looks like Buddy Holly. And there's a midget. And a band called The Red Elvises. (They're actually a real band, I've seen them play live.)

It's sorta all over the place.

And did I mention that it was ultra-low budget? I mean they made the movie for less money than you'll spend at the theater seeing it, as long as you buy a large popcorn.

Not a lot of special effects. Not a lot of fancy set pieces. Most of the film has been shot on public land in Death Valley. Most of the actors double as members of the crew. You get the idea.

But is it any good?

I honestly can't decide.

On one hand, it's really horrible. I mean it's embarrassingly horrible. I mean, not as Bad as How Stella Cooked Her Groovy Goose, but pretty darned bad. Lousy acting. Silly dialogue. Fake action sequences (Although the movie is full of sword fighting, there is no blood. One character makes a slash through the air, the camera changes angles, and the other character falls to the ground dead.) And there's a really annoying kid who screams a lot. I hate that.

On the other hand, there is something really charming about this film. It grows on you. Buddy Holly is such the against-type hero that he becomes fun. The movie makes so many nods to other films and influences, that it's fun to try and spot them all. For starters, there's Clint Eastwood, Akira Kurosawa, Road Warrior and The Wizard of Oz. All rolled into one.

In the end, the question of whether or not you'd enjoy this film is really something to be decided for yourself. I can only tell you what it is. A very low budget romp. The kind of movie you can imagine a couple of young film students making on their summer vacation.

It tries very hard to be cool. It really wants to be a cult hit. It has no desires to be mainstream. Personally, I don't think the movie is quite as cool as it thinks it is, but your opinion may vary.

I'm gonna give Six String Samurai 2 Babylons. But if you're really into weird cult-like movies, you might want to add on an extra Babylon. At the same time, if you have no patience for movies with no real substance to them, you should take off a Babylon. I mean, this ain't no Gandhi.

For that matter, it ain't no Ronin, either. But we all know who to blame for that, don't we?

Editor's Note:

The Self-Important Critic can blame himself.

I'm not his lackey. I'm his editor. It's not my fault that every assistant he hires quits after a week due to his constant state of sexual harassment.

And he makes it sound like he suffered by not seeing the movie. You know where he was this weekend? On the Golf Course, working on his handicap.

You know, if wants a handicap, I can help him out...

Six String Samurai
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Lance Mungia
Starring: Jeffery Falcon, Justin McGuire, Shep Ripple, a Mexican Gangster Midget and The Red Elvises -- A Russian surfing band with cool shoes.

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