It must have been 3 am. I think I was watching “Rock Around the Clock” when I got up to hit the fridge, tripped over the bong, and slammed my head into the coffee table. The ensuing adrenaline rush unlocked some three-year old acid sitting in my fat cells. When I came back down, I was watching “The Hills Have Eyes.” In the interim, my mind conjured up a fever dream something like “Six-String Samurai.”
The Russkies nuked America in 1957. All that remains is a “Mad Max”-style wasteland and the fabled city of “Lost” Vegas subbing for Oz. We pick up the story 40 years later after Elvis, King of Vegas since the meltdown, has died. Now, every guitar-slinging swordsman in America is journeying to Vegas to claim the throne, including our hero, Buddy (Jeff Falcon as a stocky, seedy Buddy Holly clone). Buddy has a long road to Vegas, though, and “Death” (or Slash from Guns n’ Roses, I’m not sure) is just a step behind him. Buddy picks up an almost mute kid along the way whom Buddy cares for, despite himself.
“SS Samurai” wins the 1998 “El Mariachi” award for saying, “I’ve got a story, talent, a camera, some friends, and no money, but I’m makin’ a movie anyway!” Director Lance Mungia’s reach sometimes exceeds his resources, but he and the film always have fun. This movie is inspired by nearly every film that plays TNT in the middle of the night except, strangely, “Beastmaster.” My favorite would be a guitar duel straight out of Walter Hill’s “Crossroads” (a film that would be classic if Charlie Sheen had starred in place of Ralph Macchio). “Samurai” will be around for years to come with appeal to frat boys and stoners alike. (I know they’re the same thing now, just humor me). Jump on this film while you can as its release is rather limited. You should then be able to determine the drinking game by the time it’s released on video.