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"Only one man could kill this many Russians. Bring his Guitar to me!"—Death, observing the results of our Hero's confrontation with the Red Army.
In an alternate world, Russia and the U.S. nearly destroyed each other in nuclear war in 1957, with only a couple of remaining outposts of civilization left. The most prominent is Lost Vegas, ruled by Elvis Presley. However, "after 40 rockin' years, the King is dead."
The position of King is now open, and a katana-wielding guitarist named Buddy is out to take the throne. Along the way, though, he has to fight off the other pretenders, Communist bowlers, the entire Russian Army, and Death in the form of... Slash.
Also along the way, he has to deal with a Tagalong Kid that ends up teaching him that being the King is about more than rocking and fighting.
This movie has examples of:
- After the End - Complete with Mad Max style neo-barbarians.
- Alternate History
- Arrow Catch: When Death's minions (who all use bows with unlimited arrows) chances upon Buddy when he's separated from his sword, he appears to just be dodging their A-Team Firing. When he gets up from one of his rolls, however, he throws away a bundle of arrows in each hand.
- Badass - Buddy.
- Badass and Child Duo
- Cannibal Clan - Who look and (try to) act like a stereotypical Father Knows Best-style '50's nuclear family.
- Captain Ersatz - Buddy and Death are Captain Ersatzes of, respectively, Buddy Holly and Slash.
- Although judging from what we see, Buddy might actually be the real Buddy Holly.
- Dance Battler - Buddy.
- Enemies with Death - Fighting a rock'n'roll sword duel against him? Can't get much more litteral.
- The Fifties - What's left of society still looks like it, since the nuclear war took place then - and most everywhere is far from recovered even four decades later.
- Gang of Hats: The Pin Pals, a gang of murderous bowlers with bowling ball flails and knives hidden in pins. And the Red Elvises, a communist rock'n'roll band who work for Death.
- The Grim Reaper - happens to look like Slash.
- Heroic BSOD
- I'm a Humanitarian - Buddy tries to drop the kid off with a family like this.
- Invaded States of America: Remnants of the Russian Army are in what is left of the United States. They're not in much better shape than anyone else, though.
- Katanas Are Just Better
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo - So, so many.
- The Load - That damn kid. Yeah, yeah, he occasionally does something useful, and The Power of Friendship and all that. Still, notice that every single time Buddy gets hurt, it's directly or indirectly the kid's fault.
- Lampshaded by Death's minions: "The boy! The boy makes him very uncool!"
- One-Man Army - Buddy versus the remnants of the Russian Army. See the quote above if you have any questions as to who won.
- Parental Abandonment - The Kid's mother is killed before his eyes at the beginning; he latches onto Buddy in part because Buddy killed his mother's killer.
- Straight Arrow - Death's minions; despite appearances they're really good shots (not that it helps against Buddy).
- The Power of Friendship - When Death finally catches up to Buddy, Buddy willingly throws away his guitar pick, to concede in his quest to become King. But Death refuses, saying that he's really after what Buddy values most. Realizing that means The Kid, Buddy yells, "You can't have him!" Which leads up to...
- The Power of Rock
- Samurai Cowboy
- Tagalong Kid
- Take Up My Sword - At the end of the movie, the Kid literally takes up Buddy's sword, along with his guitar, suit, and glasses. The final scene of the movie is him literally turning into Buddy as he walks towards Lost Vegas. Straightforward symbolism? Or has Buddy's spirit done this before?
- Viva Las Vegas - Lost Vegas is the last great bastion of civilization in the US.
- The Voiceless - The Kid until about halfway through the movie; lampshaded by Buddy immediately and later on.
- Weaksauce Weakness - In an Homage to The Wizard of Oz, Death is killed by getting wet.
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs? - Hoo boy....
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him - Justified and lampshaded, as the Russians ran out of bullets decades ago.
- X Meets Y: Lone Wolf and Cub meets Mad Max meets The Wizard of Oz meets Rock and Roll.
- You Have Failed Me - Done by Death to some of his minions (local "Soviet Rockabilly Surf Band" The Red Elvises). The Stock Phrase is interrupted when he sees their (nice) shoes, which he takes with him.