Six-String Samurai

Everything from Pulp Fiction to The Wizard of Oz to Road Warrior to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly has been mulched into this postapocalyptic road movie by Lance Mungia, who made this first feature fresh out of college. Cowriter Jeffrey Falcon, who also designed the costumes, stars as samurai Buddy, his battered, black-framed glasses and dweeb suit inspired by Buddy Holly. Buddy's on his way to Lost Vegas, an Oz with an opening for a new Elvis, but it's a long, strange trip, imperiled by mutants and bogeymen whom he must battle. Falcon is an agile martial artist and deadpan clown, and his wild-child sidekick, The Kid (played by seven-year-old Justin McGuire), is equally appealing. There's one charming sequence, with vaudeville grace and tragicomedy worthy of Beckett, but the rest of the film, even with startling visual effects and some impish humor, is repetitious and derivative, playing like an endless commercial for bullet-hole chic.

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