In the 1870s, Captain Nathan Algren, a cynical veteran of the American Civil war who will work for anyone, is hired by Americans who want lucrative contracts with the Emperor of Japan to train the peasant conscripts for the first standing imperial army in modern warfare using firearms. The imperial Omura cabinets first priority is to repress a rebellion of traditionalist Samurai -hereditary warriors- who remain devoted to the sacred dynasty but reject the Westernizing policy and even refuse firearms. Yet when his ill-prepared superior force sets out too soon, their panic allows the sword-wielding samurai to crush them. Badly wounded Algrens courageous stand makes the samurai leader Katsumoto spare his life once nursed to health he learns to know and respect the old Japanese way, and participates as advisor in Katsumotos failed attempt to save the Bushido tradition, but Omura gets repressive laws enacted- he must now choose to honor his loyalty to one of the embittered sides when the conflict returns to the battlefield...
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I just got back from the movie and I can say it was one of the bestmovies I have seen in a very long time. When I saw the ads I didn'texpectmuch from it, just because I didn't think that a movie with samuraisagainstan army with gun powder interested me. And of course the fact that TomCruise was in it pushed me away (Don't get me wrong he is a pretty goodactor but I was never too fond of him.). But the idea of anothersamurai,and that is was nominated for academy awards I had to go see it. Itturnsout that it was a really great movie. I can't believe I almost past upthisfine opportunity to see it. Which brings up the question, those of youwhovoted for it as a 1 did you even see the movie? In short, great movie,andit also raises my opinion of Tom Cruise.Cameron Henrikson,Pirates4Ever
One of the best films that I have ever seen! My favorite is BraveheartandI would rate this right under it! If you like drama, action, passion, thefight for freedom....you'll love this movie! Tom Cruise's best film yet!2thumbs up!!!
KEN WATANABE AS "KATSUMOTO"Ken Watanabe's fierce, brilliant portrayal of "Katsumoto" in the LastSamurai took my breath away!Characterization was this film's strongest point--the many verbal parriesand silent communications between these very real characters made me feelawe, sadness, smirking amusement, loss, and heartbreak. All by itself,thatwould be a terrific acomplishment and my review would be written and donewith.But I really didn't know anything about this "Ken Watanabe" guy, did I?Notthat he's actually rather easy-going...and not that in real life he looksmore like a huggable chipmunk than a slashing Samurai!To be sure, this is silly, but I actually got so obsessed by this that Iwasdownloading pictures of Ken as Katsumoto to my desktop just so I couldswitch back-and-forth between each picture and a video interview I foundonline. I just could NOT rectify the guy in the video with thisvitallicallyfierce character, especially when at the movies it seems "Katsumoto" mightget in your face instead of Nathan's (Tom Cruise).Yesiree, pretty amazing stuff this Watanabe-san is, hmmm? Oh, but wait,that's nothing yet...there's a reason I'm calling him Watanabe-san...he is100% Japanese, has always lived in Japan, and this is his firstEnglish-speaking role. He had to apologize ahead of time when he walkedintoa press conference because his English isn't that good yet...and this isAFTER he made the movie!So now that you KNOW, go back and see the movie a second time. DuringEVERYone of his quotes of wisdom given in that musically poetic voice, or EVERYrazor-sharp taunt at Nathan Algren, you sit there and try to convinceyourself that the Ken in these videos is the same guy that delivers thoseimportant lines with such perflect inflection--in English!Of course acting is so much more than speaking...it's the precise raisingofan eyebrow, the sharp and skeptic gaze, the royal carriage, the smallgesture, the smirk that almost but never quite appears. Ken Watanabe isthemaster at all of these, and then some. He's simply larger-than-life, andhowhe does it is a mystery. I am sure he will be considered a master of theart, in both theatre and film, for decades and decades.THE MOVIE"The Last Samurai" is a breath-stealing, enthralling epic, humorous attimesand deft in the sensitive portrayals of its well-drawn characters--oftenwithout the aid of dialogue. Set mostly in rural Japan during the MeijiRestoration, it attempts, and mostly succeeds, to pack the stories ofseveral complex, historical figures into one unified drama throughfictionalcharacters inspired by real Japanese people.The story opens with a landscape of etheral beauty, where a Samuraimeditates next to a mountiain-top temple. He has a vision of a battle inthefog-shrouded forest, with a roaring white tiger surrounded by his band ofwarriors. Then we are shifted to post-Revolutionary America, whereretired,decorated Army captain Nathan Algren drowns away his guilt in booze,makinga profitable but pathetic living as a side-show attraction at Winchestergunsales events.Nathan is tormented by flashbacks of attacks in which his army killedinnocent Indian women and children. A former comrade seeks him out as hehasrecieved a proposal to work in Japan. They and their former commander areoffered an outrageous sum for training new, modern warriors for theroutingof some tenacious bands of Samurai who refuse to give up their traditionalway of the warrior, especially the feared and crafty Katsumoto. He isloyalto the emperor but believes the man-child is being manipulated by greedyJapanese and foreign businessmen. Nathan allows himself to be talked intothe get-rich scheme and off he sails.Responsible for transforming an army of conscripts, mostly farmers andsomeformer Samurai, into modern-day gun-toting soldiers, Nathan hardly hastimeto catch a breath before his arrogant superior officer orders the regimentdetached to the forest to stop Katsumoto from attacking trains in thecountryside. As expected (no spoiler here), the result is a patheticflaying.** SPOILER ALERT! **Knocked off his horse in battle, Nathan is surrounded by fearsomeswordsmentrying to get his life over with for him. He valiantly tries to hold off awhole clutch while they are gaining the advantage. Down from his whitesteeddrops the legendary Katsumoto. He yanks off his mask, openly gaping inamazement at this overwhelmed and outnumbered man who refuses to give upwhen he is beat. The man is sweeping a sword he ripped from one of theSamurai in wide, defensive arcs. In slow-mo, we see hanging from the swordthe flag of the white tiger! At the moment of certain death, Katsumotoorders, "Stop!" and the action comes to a grinding halt.While witnessing the death of one of the army officers, Nathan theprisonerof war is led away on horseback to be held in a mountain village. Openlyhostile and hateful at first, Nathan soon learns not to pre-judge hisenemyand that he and Katsumoto have more in common than not. Brief passages ofwitty dialogue alternate with demoralizing defeats and silent emotionalmoments as Nathan parries with and learns from the wise Katsumoto,strugglesto uphold his pride amongst the exclusionist warriors, learns to speakJapanese and to love the simple way of life, and** SPOILER ALERT! **discovers that his caretaker, Katsumoto's sister Taka, who was widowed byhis own hand, deeply resents her swiftly-growing feelings for him. He evenvaliantly defends Katsumoto, Katsumoto's brave little nephew, and the restof the family from a deadly Ninja assassination plot!Eventually the emperor guarantees safe passage for Katsumoto to return theprisoner to his American comrades, and so they set off for Tokyo.Everythingis changing...Samurai are stripped of their titles, police officers cutoffboys' top-knots, and the wearing of swords is forbidden. After Nathantakeshis leave, Katsumoto stubbornly walks in to attend a council meeting withthe emperor. The council demands he give up his sword.** SPOILER ALERT! **Katsumoto offers to take his own life, but the emperor won't speakdirectlyto him. Refusing to lay down his sword, he is placed under house arrest athis Tokyo home, led to a special ritual room, and offered a knife forritualsuicide in order to regain his honor, because he has refused to follow theemperor's mandates.Meanwhile, Algren is preparing for his journey home, refusing to stay and"kill japos" to make more money. He resolutely refuses to be drawn into anargument with his former officer about his supposed "hate" of his ownkind.** SPOILER ALERT! **But then Nathan seems to have a sudden inuition that something terrible isgoing to happen, or he mentally yanks himself up, and determines to springKatsumoto. Goverment spies have been keeping an eye on him, however, andheis cornered by a troupe of Ninja assassins. He puts himself in the stateof"no mind" and visualization, armed only with his fists, and manages tostealtwo swords and efficiently dispenses with the enemy. With the help of thegoofy foreign photographer, an expert in all things Japanese who hadaccompanied the Americans in Tokyo and the emperor's palace upon theirinitial arrival, and several other men, he hatches and carries out a crazyplot to gain entrance to Katsumoto's Tokyo estate and spring him fromcontainment. Katsumoto's brave young son dies in the battle, but therescueis a success. They retreat back to the village, but Katsomoto has no heirofhis own or of his son's to pass the village on to (land is passed throughranks of Samurai only).During their dejected retreat, Katsumoto considers taking his own life toavoid dishonor in defeat in his quest to preserve the old way of life, butNathan talks him out of it. For once, he teaches Katsumoto his ownphilosophy about destiny and death. "We will make the emperor hear you,"hesays.Back at the village, as vast army regiments gather below in preparationforthe rout of the last Samurai, Katsumoto and Nathan work out theirstrategy.Though the future of the Samurai is, in this movie as in real life, easytoportend, they vow to make it as difficult as they possibly can and notgiveup until the end.The ONLY "weakness" in the movie, and it is MINOR (hey, we already knewthefate of the Samurai before we ever stepped foot in the theater) is thescreenwriter's soft attempt to give the outcome some meaning above andbeyond the tragic understanding which we have already accepted, and whichhethinks we are not mature enough to handle and still find the many truths.Iwill not post any "spoiler" details on this.But along with the admirable values of honor, duty, loyalty, compassionandservice to family, there is a deeper tenet not associated with the Samurai"Bushido". We capture it fully only when faced with grim reality. A mansaidto me, when I was leaving the movie for the first time, "It sure renewsyourbelief in faith, doesn't it?" Yes, it does, and the tragedy of the Samuraidoes not have to be candy-coated for me to come away with a great sense offaith. In truth, people walk out of this film with an uplifting of spiritsin the face of death, which was exactly Ken Watanabe's hope for luckymoviegoers around the world.
I was not sure whether to see this film or not because I was tiring of theTom Cruise performance style. However I am glad I did as I found itvaluableentertainment with some great quotes and inspirationalsatire.Its true, Tom Cruise can act after all! It is quite a performance, withfantastic Japanese backdrops and culture, excellent supporting roles byKenWantanabe and Billy Connolly and great action sequences.So whats the catch? No catch really but more a warning as Tom Cruisebalances on the edge of self-adulation that has a familiar danger aboutwhich Kevin Costner became an expert. The last sequence of the filmrecordshis apparent immortality when everyone about him is killed. This for medidnot provide a happy end to the movie but made it rather unbelievable andmade an unfortunate diversion from reality. This rings alarm bells thataskis Tom going to do a Kevin; blinded by success and available finance, willhe be create films to further his immortality rather than the filmmakersart. I hope not.
"Not Real History But A Fun Fantasy Adventure", is a simple way to describe this movie. I was very excited to hear this movie was coming out. I have written several papers on the subject and not only admire Edward Zwick's other movies but I am a Tom Cruise fan as well. Unfortunately I was very disappointed in the movie, Tom Cruise was fantastic and the cinematography is beautiful but the film is almost completely "factless". America did open up trade with Japan but French and German officers trained the Japanese imperial army, They at the time had the best Foot soldiers. Also the young Emperor of Japan was not torn between the new and old ways, He instead was the driving force behind modernizing Japan as fast as it did, he saw the Samurai as one of the main reasons Japan had fallen so far behind. The Samurai that rebelled against the Emperor were considered "RONIN" meaning Samurai with no master, and sense Samurai means "To serve" they were despised by the Samurai that served the Emperor and were perceived as Dishonorable. The rebel Samurai also had full divisions that used Firearms, it was not the Bows vs. Rifles you see in the movie. And most importantly it was not the Honorable Samurai protecting the Peasant people from the heartless new way of the Evil imperial Japanese Government, quit the opposite is true. Japan had been divided for more then a century, the clans had known nothing but war. When the Shogun took power the Emperor was nothing more then a symbol and was never allowed to leave his Palace. The Shogun had the real power and the whole time it was most of Japan, the peasants and working class that suffered under the Samurai, They were Honorable warriors but only to other Samurai, ordinary Japanese were considered Less then Men and could be killed at the whims of the Samurai. It was the modernization of Japan that threatened the rule of the Samurai with the Shogun being forced to step down in 1867 and put the power back in the hands of the Emperor as well as the working class of Japan. Most Samurai saw this and surrendered the old way to the new seeing that The Samurai were obsolete, but the few that rebelled were motivated by Power, Status and Wealth that they were losing and not for the People of Japan like the film so badly suggests. This is a fun film if you watch it as a fantasy adventure with no basis in history. I give it a low rating because even thought both Tom Cruise and Edward Zwick admit that this is not what really happened but wanted to capture the spirit of the Samurai in a fiction film, I feel this is irresponsible and that this film dishonors The real history of Japan. I would like to add that the Chinese feel Honoring the Samurai and Japanese values is like Honoring Nazis and their way of life and I don't blame them for feeling that way.
Well what can i say about this film,,,, Amazing!! Tom Cruise justproves AGAIN that he is the best actor of our generation. The LastSamurai fills you with every emotion a film could possibly produce,action, humour, love, etc. I cant count how many times i nearly cried,this film is so emotional, i was on the edge of my seat throughout. Tomplays civil war hero Capt. Nathan Algren who is employed to train andlead the Japanese army into battle against the samurai but after beingcaptured and living with the samurai ends up pledging himself to theircause. Edward Zwick has made the perfect sweeping and emotional epictale of the birth of modern Japan. I could go on all day about thisfilm but i promise you if you haven't seen this film already watch ityou will be blown away. Amazing Atmosphere, Amazing Costumes, AmazingSets, Amazing Actors, Amazing Score, AMAZING STORY.
This film was amazing and it was a well written script. The movie hasemotinal scenes, fightng scenes and other tense scenes. The fighting attheend was the best. Tom Criuse was amazing and so was the character he wasplaying. Overall i give this film (10/10)
Dear God, at last somebody (Edward Zwick) find a way to show there is lotsof other ways to live, to compassion, and to die honorably (although ithappened in the past). Yes to be true or false is a matter of others'opinions and thoughts and you could feel it in this perfect movie. Yes Ibelieve it by all cells of my heart that perfect is the most suitable wordfor all scenes, characters, dialogs, and love in this masterpiece.To be perfect is not something that should be seen or heard or touched,butyou should feel it by all your heart, mind and whole your body and I mustsay that this masterpiece inspire this feeling much much more than well,it's better say, it is the best of Edward Zwick's.I should also mention the perfectness of characters and plays in thismelodrama, Ken with his spiritual perfect play, Tom with showing passion,rage, hate and love in perfectness and all the others that complete thesetwo.At last I must thank everybody who was a role in making such a movie thatmake me so emotional after "legends of the fall". Thank youall
This is an excellent film! Edward Zwick is in completecommand of his talents with "The Last Samurai". This is apowerful and moving story about friendship, love, honor, loyalty,and loss. This is passionate filmmaking by a cast & crewcompletely dedicated to their story and lead by a filmmaker withexceptional gifts. "Glory" was another great film by Zwick. This film is on the same level of excellence. The intensity of the battlesequences are nerve-shattering, the warmth of the quiet momentsare comforting, and the beauty of the landscapes are awe-inspiring. The performances are exceptional. Tom Cruisegives his best performance since "Magnolia". This is a great actorwho makes great films. His performance here is focused,intense, and complete. Great work! Ken Watanabe absolutelyowns the screen! This is a powerful, epic performance by anextremely talented actor. The rest of the cast does an equal job. The entire cast brings dedication and passion to their work. Thehighest praise I can give the crew is this: I was in 19th centuryJapan for 2 & 1/2 hours. It's an amazing place! "The LastSamurai" is an excellent film.
***spoiler*****to call this movie a brilliant epic is to give epics bad names. although,being an american epic, then it is alright. personally, however, i wasoffended by this movie. oh no, i was not offended by the usual rants of"white man saving foreigners skin" or anything like that. i was moreoffended by the director, the producer, the distributer and anyone elseinvolved in this movie. the reason being: they think that the audienceareidiots and therefore they have to explain everything to us in anear-insulting patronizing way, not for a moment letting us come to ourownconclusions. there was symbolism in the movie, but instead of letting theaudience seek out the symbolism, the director had to show it to us,continuously, without relent. i wish i could shout out "enough already"andthat would have stopped it, but i, not much to the way the producersfelt,do consider myself intelligent enough to notice when a movie is beingtrually symbolical and beautiful, and when they are fall of $#@!#$.sure there were some great scenes, and the acting was up to standard, andthe filming was good, but trying to force-feed me the sentimentality waskind of distracting me away from all of this.and besides that, tom cruise being the last samurai literally, well thatjust seemed a bit over the top.**/5
You've read all this before, so I won't belabor the common themes in thereviews.Beautiful cinematography, predictable plot, rehash of Dances with Wolves(which is, itself, in many ways a rehash of Little Big Man) with a dash ofLast of the Mohicans (in terms of themes -- IE: "our way of life isending"), etc. Just scroll down a bit and you'll see what I'm talkingabout.For me, the film was an entertaining diversion, and basically met myexpectations. Tom Cruise is, well, Tom Cruise. I'm beginning to understand why manydirectors like to go with unknowns rather than mega-stars in terms ofcasting. The problem with someone of Cruise's stature in Hollywood is thatwhen watching him, you can't completely forget that he's Tom Cruise. Ithink his acting abilities are fine, but it may simply be a case ofoverexposure. Honestly, I'd much rather watch a film with Ken Watanabe asthe big-name star at this point. My main issue with this film is that it's just so...well...typicallyHollywood. It feels like you're watching charicatures, NOT characters. Thedifference being that you never feel completely connected to the charactersas people. They're a little too shallow and not all that well developed. Isuspect that this is more the fault of the script and the editing. Perhapsa four hour version of the film might develop the characters a bit morefully. But even in this 2 1/2 hour film, I just didn't feel all thatconnected to the characters. **** WARNING!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!! *****Some of the characters even feel like walking plot devices. Case in point:the leader of the Japanese peasant force at the start of the film and the"gruff Irish sergeant" (incidentally, has an Irishman -- Wellingtonexcepted, of course -- EVER been shown as more than a sergeant in filmhistory?? Sheesh.). These characters are your typical Hollywood cannon fodder. They get themain character from point A to point B, or provide a convenient "moment" ofsome sort for the character. In both cases, they get about ten to fifteenminutes of screen time before they're snuffed. I can accept this in horrorfilms and action films, and even SOME war drama films, but if you're goingto bother to include a character or draw major attention to them (as opposedto, say, Platoon, which kills off fairly anonymous soldiers without reallydeveloping them, BUT also without giving them much screen time to beginwith), give them a BIT more of a purpose than "having witnessed the death of[character X], our hero feels compelled to [insert emotion/action Y here]." I mean, come on guys. Why even bother giving these guys names? Why notjust have the characters refer to these guys as Gruff Irish Sergeant andNoble Japanese General? These, of course, being the short versions of thenames, the long ones ending with "Who Will Surely Be Dead in TenMinutes."***** END SPOILERS ******If you do decide to see this movie, go into it with the same approach that Idid: expect a big, dumb Hollywood flick that's basically rehashing manyplots and themes you've seen before. Expect lovely cinematography, lots oflush shots of landscapes, expect to walk away saying "My, but Japan seems aninteresting place..." Expect Tom Cruise to be Tom Cruise, expect narrowcharacter development, etc. If you go in with these expectations, the film is reasonably interesting. If you're looking for an historical epic with rich characters and a novelplot, look elsewhere.
Ok, I won't go too into detail regarding the similarity with the great epic "Dances With Wolves". But I do feel the need to point out some recycled plot points from "Glory". Consider: "War captain put in charge of unskilled soldiers" This similar plot from "Samurai" also comes with the scene borrowed from "Glory" (gee, also by the same director .... hmmm) where the Captain (General) needs to prove to others that his soldiers are not ready for intense combat. Suddenly I am not experiencing "Samurai" but reliving "Glory".
I'm not sure what I expected before I saw this, but it was not too bad. When I think of Tom Cruise movies, some of his abominations (Days Of Thunder) come to mind. This was a pleasant surprise. One thing I hoped, however, was that it would have the epic feel of Braveheart (or movies along that line). Didn't happen. But again, all said and done, not too bad.
Went to see the film last night and really liked most of it. Forsomeone who likes historical or cultural period films this is a mustsee. There are so many good visual pleasures that the two andhalf-hours seem to go by very quickly. Even the acting, by everyone,was very good. Then comes the ending. I don't know what it is about thepeople in Hollywood today, but their need to make their own distortedpolitical statement has not only destroyed true historical events butit has rendered them incapable of making a really good classic film.Because of this self serving Hollywood ending they have delegated thisfilm to be just another of their soon forgotten could-have-been movies.For a film that deals with honor and integrity, they have dishonoredthe Samurai with their false ending.
A very good movie, starring one of the best actors. Last samurai is a 2anda half hour movie than feels like 30 minutes. A good story, great values,simply a great movie. A movie that should be, I think, in the top 20moviesof all time.
Although most recent movies are generally a mile wide and an inchthick, this movie is not so bad so long as the viewer is ignorant ofearly 20th century Asian history (which, fortunately for movie makers,the lion's share of moviegoers are ignorant of most everything).If you haven't figured it out yet, the movie revolves around thesamurai and their struggle to keep the "old ways" in the face ofmodernization/Westernization.Seems noble, doesn't it?The movie, although not in an attempt to mislead, fails to tell therest of the story. The idea of protecting the Emperor and worshippinghim as god on Earth makes a resurgence and, in short, leads to theinvasion of China and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. If a viewer cares toget a fuller picture of the ideals that Tom Cruise's character isfighting to protect, he must educate himself on such things as the Rapeof Nanjing, the brutal ethnic-cleansing undertaken on the Koreanpeninsula, the Bataan Death March, Unit 731, Korean and Chinese comfortwomen and the island-hopping campaigns of the Pacific Theater in WorldWar II. In short, the samurai ideal lead to the torture and death ofthousands of Americans and millions of Chinese and Koreans, amongothers.I would compare this movie to a film version of the early days of theNazi party, perhaps detailing the struggles against the Trade Unionsand the Communists. Probably entertaining if viewed in a vacuum, butwhen put into historical perspective, very ominous.
Quick plot synopsis: Tom Cruise plays Nathan Algren, a captain in theUS cavalry and a veteran of the civil war and various campaigns againstthe Plains Indians. At the start of film, we find him in San Franciscoin 1876, tormented by guilt over his participation in the massacre of aCheyenne village, a torment which he is trying (in vain) to drown withalcohol. He is approached by Omura (Harada), a minister in the Meijigovernment of Japan, to help train the new Japanese conscript army todefeat a rebellion by traditionalist samurai, led by a daimyo namedKatsumoto (Watanabe). Over Algren's objections, Omura throws the troopsinto battle prematurely, and the first engagement results in a rout forthe Imperial troops. Algren, despite putting up a spirited resistance,is captured by Katsumoto's samurai. He is transported to Katsumoto'sfief, which is soon isolated by the onset of winter. During hiscaptivity, Algren comes to learn and appreciate the ways of thesamurai, and becomes sympathetic to Katsumoto's cause. The springbrings an attempt at rapprochement between the government andKatsumoto, but when diplomacy breaks down (due to treachery by Omura),Algren sides with Katsumoto for the climactic battle between thetraditionalists and the reformers.Let me state that, in many ways, "The Last Samurai" is a magnificentfilm; the acting ranges from adequate to excellent, the cinematographyis fabulous, the production values are top notch, and the scenery isnothing short of stunning. So why did I hate it?First and foremost, the script is an exercise in one-sided stereotypes.Katsumoto and his samurai are without exception loyal, brave and true,not to mention honourable and selfless, desiring only to serve the bestinterests of the emperor and people of Japan. Perish the thought thatthey might be fighting to retain a feudal system in which they are ontop of the heap, free to lord it over farmers, craftsmen and merchants,i.e. those who had to actually work, not only to provide for their ownupkeep but for that of the daimyo and his samurai as well. Howcommitted the warrior caste was to serving the people may be divinedfrom the almost 3,000 peasant revolts which took place between 1590 and1867, with increasing frequency and violence. The samurai are portrayedas disdaining guns as "dishonourable." For "dishonourable" read "allowsa mere commoner to easily kill a samurai"; can't have that. But sincesuch historical facts would get in the way of Logan and Zwick'sglorification of the samurai, so no mention is made of them. As aresult, it never occurs to Algren that the only reason his captorsconsider him worthy of even an opportunity to win their respect isbecause they know him only as a warrior, and that if they knew he wasmerely (in their book) an upstart farmboy, their attitude would likelybe less friendly.To ensure maximum contrast with the noble samurai, their opponents areportrayed as having no redeeming features whatsoever. Omura and hishenchmen are only interested in acquiring wealth and power, and areprepared to wade through the blood of innocents to achieve this. Omuraeven hints at plans for Japanese expansionism and the consequent needto match military power with the West; with this, he is simply reducedto a cardboard cut-out 1940s Hollywood "Jap." Of course, Omura is not asamurai, and therefore lacks their sense of honour. That the rulers ofJapan, samurai included, had envisaged the subjugation of East Asiasince the late Middle Ages (if not longer) is, again, convenientlyignored. Omura's American associates are similarly ruthless in thepursuit of riches, and more uncouth to boot. The Imperial cabinet andtroops are either thugs or dupes (who realize the error of their waysonly when it is too late). Obviously, nobody could really benefit fromrejecting feudalism(!)Stereotyping aside, the script strains the viewer's (or at least,*this* viewer's) willing suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.Within a year, Algren has defeated his drinking problem, learnt tospeak almost fluent Japanese, and has not only mastered the katana, buteven manages to defeat multiple opponents while using two full-lengthswords. As students of martial technique (and role-playing geeks likemyself) will know, the technique of fighting with two swords wasreportedly developed in the early 17th century by the near-legendaryswordsman Miyamoto Musashi, who coined a number of names for it beforesettling on Niten Ichi-Ryu ("School of Two Heavens"). Also according topopular culture, none of Musashi's students (life-long samurai) couldmaster it, and the technique died with its creator. Nevertheless, itseems to come naturally to Algren.Throughout the film, it takes at least three bullets to slow down anygiven samurai, and another three to actually kill him. For majorcharacters like Katsumoto, Nobutada or Algren, the number is muchhigher. If that were realistic, one wonders why the Tokugawas were everconcerned about matchlocks; even breech-loaders should have posed nomajor worries.A host of ninja sent to assassinate Katsumoto fail mostly due to theircomplete failure to observe anything resembling stealth, supposedlytheir trademark. And, true to Hollywood, each shuriken thrown resultsin a guaranteed kill at 30 metres, whereas in actual fact, ninja wouldgenerally use shuriken not as a killing weapon, but to provide"suppressing fire." A ninja would throw a bunch of shuriken atpursuers, forcing them to seek cover while the ninja made his escape;any actual hits were an added bonus.Finally, at two and half hours, the film just collapses under its ownweight. Even before the "climactic" battle, each drawn-out samuraideath was met with cries on my part of "Just f*cking DIE already, youparasite!" When you find yourself rooting against the protagonists,it's not a good sign. On top of all that, the ending is just tooludicrous for words. By all means, watch "The Last Samurai" for the eyecandy (and Billy Connolly), but do not take it seriously.
It's a pretty good movie overall. It would have been nice if Tom Cruise were replaced by a japanese actor. It would have been impossible for a foreigner to learn the japanese language and how to sword fight (japanese style) in such a small space of time as described in the movie. Basicly 6 months?? LOLThe movie is loosely based on the "Satsuma Rebellion" which took place in 1876-77 when a bunch of aging Samurai decided to take a last stand against the new Meiji Government. The Samurai fought well but eventually went extinct. The Last Samurai is a good movie though, in a world with a lack of Samurai flicks.
I wanted this one to be good, but it was what I thought it might be. agoodidea for a movie but why must they make everything so "entertaining"? Byentertaining I mean, that every movie is made the same way all other bigHollywood films. They are always making a box-office-hit not a good movie.The movie would have been much better without Tom Cruise stealing theshow.He is not that good actor (not very bad either, but this time I had toomuchof him). It`s true that this is very much like dances with wolves, butthereis one big difference. In D.W.W. the film is about indians and the wrongpicture white folks had about them. in Last Samurai the focus is onCruisescharacter. Lot of good things in the movie too: Great fighting scenes,Greatmusic, some Great acting performances, Great japanese scenery... I wantedthis to bee a great Samurai movie with Tom Cruise in it, but I got Aprettygood adventure film located in Japan starring Tom Cruise. I give it 7/10
If you are looking for Kill Bill-like action, then forget this film. Otherwise, it is a great story about the culture that keeps a societytogether. I'll be frank...The Tom Cruise character could have had a betterimpact if it was performed by a more adept actor (Russell Crowe really cameto mind). The real star of the film is the Samurai played by Ken Watanabe. His character exemplifies what makes his culture so precious to the Japanesepeople. And through the movie, it shows us how the culture of a people makethem who they are and can never really be taken from them if they are strongwith it.As for the film itself, old TC, though a decent actor himself, neverconvinced me that he was the character...the film needed a much strongercharacter for that role. On the other hand, Ken Watanabe does a beautifuljob as the Samurai. His performance in itself makes this film worthwatching. The supporting characters are also all well chosen. A definitewatch, but a far cry from an "Oscar" movie.7/10