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Palm Pictures presents
Six String Samurai (1998)

"Float away, little butterfly. Just fly away. I got a gig in Vegas and the Wastelands ain't no place for kids."
- Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: April 26, 2000

Stars: Jeffrey Falcon, Justin McGuire
Other Stars: The Red Elvises
Director: Lance Mungia

Manufacturer: Crush Digital Video
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, language.
Run Time: 01h:30m:45s
Release Date: February 23, 1999
UPC: 660200300128
Genre: cult


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A B-A-A C

DVD Review

If you're looking for something a little on the goofy side, and you like surf guitar music, you've come to the right place.

Six-String Samurai features the post-apocalyptic adventures of Buddy, a Buddy Holly lookalike kung-fu practitioner/swordsman/rocker, in a world dominated by the United States of Russia. Buddy is traveling through the nuclear Wastelands to Lost Vegas to become the new king, because King Elvis has died. On the way, Buddy has to combat bowlers, assorted maniacs such as the cannibalistic Cleaver family, and Death himself, while protecting the semiferal little boy who attaches himself to Buddy. While this may sound like a sick parody of The Road Warrior, the film actually works quite well, thanks to the continual throb of surf guitars in the background and the inspired goofiness of the various threats encountered along the way.

While not for every taste, those with a liking for cult films will be sure to enjoy this less-than-serious action romp with dialogue reminiscent of Nicholas Cage's voiceovers in Raising Arizona. Jeffrey Falcon portrays Buddy as a cross between Buddy Holly and Clint Eastwood, giving a low-throated threatening growl to his adversaries. His deadpan attitude works as a bright counterpoint to the ludicrous goings-on. In all, this film is an underappreciated little gem that deserves to be known better.



Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The picture is crisp and clean, with vivid colors throughout. Blacks are rich and solid, and no artifacts were visible anywhere. The picture could probably be somewhat better if it were anamorphic, but this looks about as good as a 4:3 transfer is likely to get.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
PCMEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: As much as I liked the movie and the video, the best aspect of this disc is the sound. The DVD has a 5.1 track that is incredibly active in the surrounds throughout the film, with both Russian/surf guitar and ambient sounds through coming loud and clear. While it's not a big gunplay movie, it is a suitable demo disc. Even the trailer is in 5.1! There is also a stereo track which is a pale imitation of the vibrant 5.1 track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Music video Love Pipe (The Red Elvises)
  2. Music video Boogie on the Beach (The Red Elvises)
  3. DVD previews of The Basketball Diaries; Mandela; Dance Hall Queen;Gravesend;Ghost in the Shell;Ninja Scroll;The Wings of Honniamise;The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
Extras Review: I would have loved a commentary to this film to find out how this thing ever got made. However, we're left pretty much to guess about that and any other background to the film. There is a theatrical trailer (presented in full frame format) which captures the flavor of the movie quite well. The music videos for The Red Elvises are entertaining, and feature actors from the film in clips both in the film and made expressly for the videos.

Rather than theatrical trailers for the other films in the preview section, we are given brief snippets of trailers with voiceover. All of these previews are presented full frame as well. I would have much preferred seeing original theatrical trailers, at least for the non-anime offerings.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Six String Samurai is a laugh and a half that just keeps hitting you with one inventive scene after another. The soundtrack is simply terrific, and the picture quality is very good as well. Very highly recommended!

 


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