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The Last Samurai (DVD)

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Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 2003 / Director: Edward Zwick / Actors: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe ... / DVD released 01 November, 2004 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen

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    22 Reviews
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      14.10.2012 17:43

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      all round good action film , tom cruise fans will love it

      I have to admit i am not a huge tom cruise fan at all , i didn't even think to go and see this
      at the cinema when released so i bought it on dvd , i have to say i love this film
      it gives you a good insight into the world of the mysterious samurai . There are lots of good action scenes in it and you do get to learn about how the country of japan was changing , its culture and people leading a new way of life , its the new against the old really .
      There's a very good story line behind the film as well , a good plot , good list of characters , you get to see how the samurai trained and devoted there lives , there is a bit of a love story in there to which is quite nice to see but its not too much focused on that . i learnt more about the past history of japan in this film even the battle scenes you learn something new e.g the new weapons be developed and sent over from the united states

      i love this film , i can watch this again and again

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      04.04.2012 00:20
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      Excellent oriental epic.

      By the standards of modern Hollywood, Last Samurai is excellent. Set in the 19th Century, Tom Cruise plays an American soldier, haunted by memories of the atrocities he took part in against native americans (Sand Creek?), whereupon he accepts an assignment to Japan, to put down a supposed rebellion by a band of Samurai who have gone to war against the Emperor's troops, believing that they are in fact serving the Emperor in doing so.

      Cruise's character is captured, and ends up associating with the Samurai, in a plot that is reminiscient of Dances With Wolves, but manages to avoid feeling overly hackneyed and stale. Cruise is suicidal as a result of being unable to come to terms with his past actions, and his seeking of death in battle allows him to rediscover a sense of honour via the code of the Samurai, ultimately fighting alongside them against the modernised Japanese army who are overseen by Cruise's despised ex-commanding officer.

      The film is set to the backdrop of Japan's sharp transition from feaudalist isolationism to modern industrailisation, and this theme is colourfully demonstrated in the contrast between the Samurai's ancient warring practices and ideology and that of the westernised, technogically advanced Imperial troops that they face.

      The plot is simplistic without being stupid, and whilst can be a bit saccharine this is Hollywood we are talking about after all. The portrayal of the Japanese people, both the traditionalist Samurai and their westernised counterparts, is uniformly respectful (machiavellian villains of the piece notwithstanding), although the film is primarily focussed on espousing traditionalist Zen Buddhist/warrior-code values over those of untrammelled capitalism and subservience to the west. It is always refreshing to see a mainstream US film that is willing to take an even-handed approach to American historical influence overseas, and Last Samurai does a good job of presenting a picture of a nation in a period of turbulent flux, caught between its time-honoured past and the urgent demand for social change, even if it does feel the need to frame its heroics around a photogenic American star.

      The acting is of a high standard, including the perpetually wounded performance put in by Cruise, whilst the cimematography is frequently stunning, both in capturing the country's natural/historic beauty and some excellent battle scenes. One sees mounted Samurai thundering towards the screen in the murky forest light, clad in terrifying masked helmets and looking like hellish creations from another world, whilst another battle sees a breathless charge with smords and armour against Maxim machine guns, rifle fusillades and heavy artillery across open ground. It's arresting stuff, like some oriental take on the civilisational car-crash of ancient-combat-meets-modern-industrialised-warfare that one immediately associates with the First World War, presented in a visceral yet almost poetic fashion.

      The Last Samurai is ultimately a popcorn film, but it is one that manages to be beautiful, arresting and not-unintelligent in addition to being entertaining. Hollywood actually got it right for once.

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        13.01.2012 17:45
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        East meets West.An American soldier finds himself at the heart of a rebellion.

        A warrior sits on a hilltop amongst the sweeping mountains and forests of Japan; he is the last leader of an ancient line of warriors, the revered Samurai. Katsumoto's (Ken Watanabe) way of life is crumbling. After a dedicated life of service to the Emperor his future is being replaced with one of survival. Dying are the old traditions and values, fading are the codes of honour the Samurai live by, their homes, their lives, the very fabric of their existence is under threat, The Samurai culture is being annihilated as modern westernisation sweeps in to engulf traditional Japan.

        The year is 1876, America, a country recovering from a civil war, civilisation and modern philosophies are spreading westwards. The Union Army still battle against the Native American tribes and former Union Officer Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) sits awaiting his announcement at a rally. He is a war hero, a decorated man of honour and courage, the protector of American life and he is a drunk! He is a man in who is disillusioned, dejected and tormented by the memories of his role in the Indian campaigns, he is in limbo, and unforgiving of himself. He hates what he has become.

        He lives in contempt of the authority that commanded him to fight and butcher a tribe of innocent Native American Indians. Custer, the narcissistic, vainglorious and arrogant, general of the union forces has long since made his last stand but at what cost? Algren believes it cost him his soul.

        The world has changed, the once fought battles now distant and pointless as the modern civilisation invades both America and Japan the old ideals of honour and courage, old values, codes, and philosophies are drastically becoming a memory. These are two men adrift in a sea of confusion and decline but two warriors whose paths are about to converge.

        * * * * * * * * * * * *

        The last Samurai is a revealing tale of a culture at a defining moment in its history. Set in 1876 in Japan the movie is fictional but has roots based in the Satsuma uprising of 1876/77, this movie illustrates the violent and epic struggle between two eras and two worlds. An American soldier finds himself at the heart of a rebellion with only his sense and wits and routine to guide him. Cruise exceptionally portrays the drunken Algren who unexpectedly observes the ways of these honourable warriors, becoming impressed, and influenced by their powerful convictions, their ethics code of bushido; the way of the warrior, the philosophical code followed by the samurai of feudal Japan, a code of loyalty to one's master, self discipline and respectful, ethical behavior which remind him of the man he once was and who he still wished to be.

        Approached by a former comrade, his sergeant at arms Zebulon Gant (Billy Connelly) Algren is persuaded to go with him to meet with Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn) his former commanding officer in the war against the Native Indians. Bagley is now an arrogant, avaricious, mercenary in the employ of the ruthless, ambitious and acquisitive Japanese minister Omura (sinisterly portrayed by Masato Harada) whom is also chief advisor to the young, immature and very impressionable Japanese Emperor Meiji (Shicinosuke Nakamura). The Emperor reveres the Samurai, many of whom were his teachers but he wants to move his country into the 19th century, to join the modern world. They have a proposition for Algren, a very lucrative proposition.

        A rebellion threatens the imperial rule lead by Katsumoto. The minister Omura is contemptuous of the old traditions and the Imperial advisors he controls desire the eradication of the rebels in preparation for a more westernised and trade-friendly government that will line his pockets with a veritable fortune. Omura coerces Algren to train Japan's first modern, conscripted army in the ways of modern warfare enabling the Imperial troops to destroy the savage rebels.

        But the rebellion will not fall without a fight. The rebels he speaks of are the legendary Samurai.

        Algren journeys to Japan and meets a country on the brink of a turbulent transition, embracing technology and change. Blocks of wooden warehouses and shops are replacing the picturesque pagodas and traditional styled buildings. Telegraph lines and railroads are slowly encroaching upon traditional Japan and the foundation is being built for the technological society the Japanese have become today. It is the birth of an era.

        Knowing the imperial troops are undisciplined and ill prepared Algren is ordered into battle against the mighty Samurai warriors where his troops break and run as they face a majestic charge of the mounted warriors in a mist shrouded forest with the eerie and unsettling war cries echoing in the gloom. Battling to save his life, he is wounded when confronted by a warrior of imposing strength and enviable swordsmanship; barely escaping a deadly blow he defeats his enemy only to be taken captive. And so Algren's life changes.

        Sensing something different about the American, Katsumoto is curious of this foreigner, this barbarian and sparing his life installs him as a guest in his home, closely guarded by his most trusted followers; his sister Taka (Koyuki), the wife of the warrior Algren defeated and her family. All is not easy, Algren is fevered from his injury and delirious, Taka tends him, her mind is in turmoil, Algren killed her husband, she cannot bear the anguish and hatred she feels. She implores Katsumoto to take the American from their home but her entreaty is rejected. Of Katsumoto's family, his son Nobutada (Shin Koyamada) is the first to extend the hand of friendship, and takes it upon himself to teach Algren the Japanese language. Later his friendship is repaid in a Tokyo street as Algren prevents Nobutada retaliating when and a group of Japanese guards confront the young warrior and attempt to confiscate his swords when the Imperial council outlaw the possession of the mighty weapons.

        Thrust now into unfamiliar yet unique environment, Algren's life now hangs in a balance. Recovering from his injuries he comes to appreciate the simple but vanishing culture as he observes their peaceful and honourable customs. He falls in love with the simplicity of their lives and how in all aspects the Samurai strive for perfection. These traditions are a balm to his torment and a new balance forms in his mind as he learns to appreciate life and adopts the philosophy that governs the Samurai. Now he can crawl from the pit in which he has lain for many years.

        Already a fine and outstanding swordsman Algren begins to learn the Samurai way and not without embarrassment, he trains under inscrutable masters to fight like one of the renowned Samurai warriors. Katsumoto grows to befriend and accept Algren and after a ninjas assassin's attack of the village where Algren saves his life and the life of his nephew, Katsumoto realises Algren has evolved from a barbarian enemy into a trusted ally. This trust is enhanced when on the morning of a battle Katsumoto presents Algren with a katana engraved with the words, "I belong to the warrior in whom old ways have joined with the new". A poignant yet accurate edict of the changes happening within the Japanese culture. The course of the future for the Samurai is now irrevocably entwined with Algren's as both warriors make a stand against those that would threaten the Samurai honour and values in which both warriors are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and serve at all costs?

        * * * * * * * * * * * *

        Buoyed by a magnificent script from John Logan the writer of Gladiator, and directed with sheer brilliance by Edward Zwick, Tom Cruise's acting is astounding in this film, you see him take blows and strikes and beatings without a flinch. He learned to speak Japanese and expended a true effort and a dedication to his craft, training intensely in the use of a katana (Japanese long sword) and how to accurately employ the weaponry with economic yet masterly effort. Ken Watanabe portrays the wisdom, poise and elegance of Katsumoto the leader of the last Samurai tribe charmingly and marvellously in his Supporting Actor Oscar nomination role.

        The cinematography is incredible; expressing the beauty of the Japanese landscape, the peaceful yet harsh environment of an age now since vanished. The beautiful, exotic yet restive play of light over the mountaintops from a Japanese sunset with the silhouette of Cruise remarkably noticeable against the dying rays of the sun. The battle scenes are an astounding piece of cinematic brilliance that is simply pure genius, the fast paced charge of the mounted warriors driving a force through the battle lines timed perfectly. The swift and deadly training duels of the Samurai are choreography of calculated intelligence. This movie has been designed with care to detail and extreme effort to instil the qualities it depicts.

        The soundtrack provided by Hans Zimmer is spectacular, a true reflection of the undertones of honour and duty, bursting with and beauty and sheer brilliance, combining strong yet sensitive strings and the poignant tones of a Japanese flute gentle yet fitting this magnificent composition to enhance the story beautifully. The strong energetic martial theme of battle emphasises the determination and anticipation of the fight with a dark and atmospheric beat.

        Once again Edward Zwick creates a wonderfully, emotive and atmospheric historical movie very much dedicated to the honourable and distinguished race of warriors. Those who serve is the actual translation of the word Samurai and the Samurai served their Emperor and their Empire loyally. The Samurai were truly a people of an unparalleled and envied culture.

        Running Time 148 minutes

        Certification 15

        Cast
        Ken Watanabe .... Katsumoto
        Tom Cruise .... Nathan Algren
        William Atherton .... Winchester Rep
        Chad Lindberg .... Winchester Rep Assistant
        Ray Godshall Sr. .... Convention Hall Attendee
        Billy Connolly .... Zebulon Gant
        Tony Goldwyn .... Colonel Bagley
        Masato Harada .... Omura
        Masashi Odate .... Omura's Companion
        John Koyama .... Omura's Bodyguard
        Timothy Spall .... Simon Graham
        Shichinosuke Nakamura .... Emperor Meiji
        Togo Igawa .... General Hasegawa
        Satoshi Nikaido .... N.C.O.
        Shintaro Wada .... Young Recruit
        Shin Koyamada .... Nobutada
        Hiroyuki Sanada .... Ujio
        Shun Sugata .... Nakao
        Koyuki .... Taka
        Sosuke Ikematsu .... Higen
        Aoi Minato .... Magojiro
        Seizo Fukumoto .... Silent Samurai
        Shoji Yoshihara .... Sword Master
        Sven Toorvald .... Omura's Secretary
        Scott Wilson .... Ambassador Swanbeck
        Yusuke Myochin .... Sword Master's Assistant

        Directed by Edward Zwick

        Produced by Edward Zwick, Tom Cruise, Tom Engleman, Paula Wagner and Marshall Herskovitz.

        Story and Screenplay by John Logan

        Music by Hans Zimmer

        A Double Disc Widescreen Edition DVD
        Contains strong violence
        Soundtrack album available on Warner / Sunset records / Elektra Entertainment / WMG Soundtracks
        Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital
        Aspect Ratio 16.9 widescreen / colour
        Subtitles are available for hearing impaired.
        Websites www.lastsamurai.com www.warnerbros.co.uk
        Disc 2 Special Features DVD
        Commentary by Director Edward Zwick
        History Channel Documentary: History V Hollywood - The Last Samurai
        Tom Cruise: A Warriors Journey
        Edward Zwick: Directors Video Journal
        Making of an Epic: A Conversation with Edward Zwick and Tom Cruise
        A World in detail: Production Designs with Lilly Kilvert
        Silk and Armour: Costume Design with Ngila Dickson
        Imperial Army Basic Training
        From Soldier to Samurai: The Weapons
        Deleted Scenes
        Japanese Premiers
        DVD-ROM PC File

        Thank you for reading

        Melodysparks (c) 2012

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          05.05.2010 15:19
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          Well worth a watch

          Ok, I don't like Tom Cruise as an actor very much, but this is one of my favourite films and his performance is astounding.

          Cruise plays a Captain in the Americn army (Nathan Algren), who, during the Civil War, was forced by his commanding officer to kill innocent Native Americans. He has always regretted this, and falls deeper into the bottle to find a way free. He is then offered a position training the Japanese army to fight against the Samurai. He is lured in by the prospect of a high wage, and during the first battle is made captive by the Samurai, led by a man known as Katsumoto. He is a brave and honourable man, and tells Algren he cannot leave until the spring. Algren is also injured, but begins to learn the ways of the Samurai and respects them. On returning to a town, there is an attempt on his and Katsumoto's lives, and Algren then fights with the Samurai against the Japanese Imperial Army.

          The reason I like this film so much is that it combines cultures and culture clashes well. It looks at the rise of modernity in Japan, and looks at a historical moment where what occurs has or could have happened. I love thid film due to the intricate details given to each person or clothing and to be able to see the Samurai way of life, and that they are not constricted by race or gender, but by who they feel worthy enough to be a samurai.

          Cruise also plays the part of an embittered, guilt ridden alcoholic ex-Captain well, showing subtle changes at first when in the Samurai compound, before taking their way of life as his own. Being able to watch the change not only physically but mentally also depict how the way of life he had before must have been killing him inside.

          For a historical drama, this film is well-paced and well-written, giving an insight into a culture and a country as never able to be seen by a modern day person.

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          16.02.2010 11:02

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          A dying nation make a last stand for what they believe.

          Awesome movie, seen it 7 times and never get bored of it. This is an action packed epic that will pull on your heart strings and will get you thinking.

          Tom Cruise plays Nathan Algren a troubled civil war hero captain. He is recruited to train the Japanese army to defeat the Samurai. Ken Watanabe (academy award nominee) plays Katsumoto, samurai leader fighting to preserve the Samurai. Tom cruise is captured and finds himself embracing their way of life, enemy becomes the Allie.

          It is nice to see Tom Cruise in a meaty film and he does and excellent job as the hero captain. Ken Watanabe gives a smooth and believable performance as Katsumoto.

          This film is a rare treat to watch and will have you immersed in a different culture. It's not another mindless action epic it actually tells a story and is all about fighting for what you believe. If you're not a Tom Cruise fan don't let that stop you because this is Tom Cruise as you've never seen him before. I guarantee you'll be impressed.

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          11.02.2010 14:10
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          Fun if a bit rote

          The Last Samurai is more than just a well-crafted action film; it is an elegiac goodbye wave to the samurai films that just aren't made anymore, chiefly the ones made by Kurosawa such as Seven Samurai, and just as worthily, his masterful Kagemusha. Despite the odd casting of Tom Cruise, this film works more than it doesn't, and features typically great direction from Edward Zwick.

          It is clear that Zwick has a real passion for this subject, and he's accompanied by a hefty collection of game collaborators, including composer Hans Zimmer, actor Ken Watanabe (who quite rightly recieved an Oscar nomination for his performance), and master cinematographer John Toll. There's so much in this picture, both thematically and stylistically, that it's easy to become swept up in what is in many ways a routine actioner with romance sprinkled in.

          The plot takes place in late-19th century Japan, with Captain Nathan Algren (Cruise) leading a force against the Japanese. However, he is severely injured in battle, but his mettle means that the opposing side spares his life. Algren slowly begins to adopt the Japanese way of life and learn the cultural norms there, falling in love with both it and its women. However, soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie, and despite being far from original (given that we've seen this "going native" in so many films - The Searchers, Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves, and most recently, Avatar), it is supremely well crafted and thoroughly entertaining.

          While it doesn't match the heights of the genre from the 1950s, it's difficult to argue against this film's sheer majesty and exuberance. It is lovingly crafted and thoroughly entertaining throughout, hitting the right emotional buttons while also delivering scintilating action.

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          02.01.2010 23:31
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          Thanks For Reading

          When I hear the words "Tom Cruise" my instinctive reaction is to change channel, close my eyes, run away or pull the plug out of the mains. He is one of my least favourite actors of all time, and I normally avoid anything and everything with his, so I'm not entirely sure how I ended up watching "The Last Samurai" a 2003 film where Cruise plays the main character (it must have been some sort of memory black-out). However for the most part I'm glad that I went against my initial reaction as I enjoyed the film and even (while it's almost painful to say) I enjoyed Tom Cruise's performance.

          The Last Samurai is based in the late nineteenth century and follows Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) a man with demons. A former Captain in the US Army he is haunted by his actions against Native Americans, what he saw, what he did, and what he was ordered to do has driven him to become an alcoholic destined to relive his experiences over and over again by telling crowds of people war stories. When his employer finally fires him for his attitude and actions the Captain is forced to accept an offer from his former commander and is required to travel to Japan and to train a new Japanese Army. Against the professional judgement of Captain Algren he is ordered to take the make-shift army of farmers into battle against a group of apparent 'rebel' samurai. The battle does not go well and while most are slaughtered Nathan is captured by the samurai who want to "know (their) enemy." Over the time of his captivity he starts to admire and respect the way of the Samurai and even begins to partake in their rituals. However with the age of the Samurai coming to an end and a epic battle approaching he has to choose who's side he is really on as he couldn't live with himself should he make the wrong choices again.

          The plot is excellent and very emotionally invoking, as you get a real sense of realism (despite the fact that many scenes are filmed in New Zealand). Thanks to the good casting and acting you grow to know the character and even care about their fate. The pace of the film is perfect with the correct balance of action and drama, which makes the running time of some 150 odd minutes enjoyable while also maintaining the viewers attention.

          Tom Cruise plays his tormented character very well and I even warmed to his method of acting. Billy Connolly also stars as Sergeant Gant, and while his character doesn't have the biggest nor longest surviving part in the film he does add a lot to it through his sound and often comical acting delivery lines such as "No disrespect intended but shove it up your ass" when he refuses to carry out an order that would have seen him removed from the front line.

          I liked the fact that the Japanese cast WERE Japanese and not American's or others made up to look as such and that the Japanese dialogue was subtitled and not dubbed, it adds a further degree of realism.

          The film is a beautiful one to watch, with amazing period costumes, Japanese landscapes and culture, as well as the overall atmosphere which also combined with a good and suitable soundtrack further enhances the film.

          The many action and battle sequences were all pulled off very successfully.

          The biggest failing of The Last Samurai was the ending. While it did present an entertaining and spectacular battle it wasn't the greatest and to be honest I found it predicable and very unlikely (the sole survivor aspect).

          It's also historically incorrect and does disregard a lot of fact in favor of fiction.

          Finally there are no special features on the DVD (single disc release) to speak off, which was disappointing but hopefully will be addressed in a future release.

          Overall, despite a few minor disadvantages I would recommend The Last Samurai, it's an enjoyable and moving film that also has a real re-watch factor.

          You can buy this DVD from Amazon.co.uk for £4.08 (price correct at time of writing review.)

          (I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)

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            13.12.2009 18:44
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            A worthy watch.

            Set in Japan in the 1870's, The Last Samurai stars Tom Cruise as Captain Nathan Algren, a (not so sober) man who has been given the job of training Japanese Emperor's troops to use more modern weapons as society is being Westernised. The Samurai warriors oppose this and don't want to be Westernised. Algren and his men set out into battle, but the Samurai slaughter them. A courageous but badly injured Algren has his life spared by Samurai leader Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe) and is taken captive high in the mountains. Katsumoto wants to learn from Algren, but Algren finds himself learning much more from the Samurai.

            The Last Samurai is rated "15" in the UK - This is probably due to the fight sequences and sword action that goes on in the film. However, the fight scenes are not there to fill the film (at roughly 147 minutes long, this film doesn't need any filling!), they are purely there as part of the storyline. It has been filmed, directed and choreographed beautifully and I believe that Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe and their fellow actors did a top notch job with their acting.

            Other notable actors (from a British perspective) include Billy Connolly (as Zebulon Grant - an ex-soldier who has served with and who is loyal to Algren) and the wonderful Timothy Spall (as Simon Graham - an English interpreter for Algren and the other non-speaking soldiers).

            I believe this film has a message for us all... While we are trying to turn different people and societies into our way of thinking and living, maybe we could learn something from their way of thinking and living.

            I've seen The Last Samurai a number of times now, but that still didn't prevent me from staying up to watch it until well past midnight the other night. I'd certainly recommend this film to anyone who hasn't seen it (Well, I'd be mad to watch it several times and then say I don't recommend it!). Some have likened The Last Samurai to Dances With Wolves, but it's been some time since I've seen that film.

            At the time of writing (December 2009), The Last Samurai is available from Amazon on 2 disc DVD edition for the bargain price of £4.98, with special features including Director's Video Journal, Recount of a Warrior's Journey by Tom Cruise, Deleted Scenes, Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Costuming, Weapons, and Training, Director Commentary and much more.

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              17.08.2009 21:32
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              This film is an excellent epic...

              The Last Samurai, directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick is an epic depiction of the Sasuma rebellion in 1877 Japan. Based on the story by John Logan this film combines a number of disjointed, actual, historical events into a single story plot line that unsurprisingly produces a dramatic tale of a struggle. Not least one of tradition and culture but of one man, our protagonist Tom Cruise (Cpt Nathan Algren).

              Not the short Scientologists biggest fan, I have to admit the in this movie he performs to a standard I had never thought him capable of, Cruise here is quite commanding and hold the audiences attention marvelously. His character struggling to understand his own people comes to admire and find solace in the civilisation's he is sent to conquer. Alongside an inspirational cast Cruise has really developed and come into his own, also worthy of high accolades for their delivery in this fantastic film are Zeb Gant (Billy Connolly) and Simon Graham (Timothy Spall).

              Without analysing the pitfalls of cultural inaccuracy and a tendency toward the inertial sentiment which is prevalent throughout, this is a thoroughly entertaining film. With great battle scenes and eye-poppingly detailed costumes this flick really is bedazzling, sword play, gun, choreographed fight pieces and even some archery and horsemanship - what more can you ask for?.. Oh of course silly me how could I forget, there is obviously a slight love story that unfolds, at first from afar and then becoming more and more central as the film goes on.

              The screenplay is also something to be admired, including within it flashbacks of the haunting past and epiphanies of what is about to happen. I think the visuals are something to praise too, this film is so consistent and the camera work really is simple, subtle and affective. These visual elements are somewhat reminiscent of old Akira Kurosawa moives, specifically the classic - Seven Samurai. Further to this it has a premise that is not to far removed from Dances With Wolves (Kevin Costner) having said that I think both films hold individual merits.

              All round this film has a an enjoyable plot with moments of sheer wonderment that honestly fixate you, it will not be the best film you've ever seen but so what...?! That Hyper-global T-shirt that changes colour with your temperature that you still wear is rubbish but you still wear it... So why not try something else? take it off put this (The Last Samurai) on and sit back and watch, it'll be worth it...

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                04.04.2009 15:48
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                The Last Samurai

                The last samurai is a war film and was released in year 2003. The movie is based on the story by John Logan. Film was directed by Edward Zwick. John Logan also wrote the screenplay for the movie. The last samurai was nominated for 4 Oscars including art design and sound mixing.

                Star Cast:

                Ken Watanabe plays a role of samurai Katsumoto.

                Tom Cruise portrayed Nathan Algren, caption of United States army.

                Tony Goldwyn plays Colonel Bagley, a commanding officer of Nathan

                Koyuki portrayed Taka, sister of Katsumoto.

                Shin Koyamada plays a role of Katsumoto's only son Nobutada.


                Nathan Algren is a veteran of Native American civil war. Japanese emperor and businns man Omura hires him to train his imperial army. Colonel Bagley is also with him and Nathan trains Japanese army in firearm techniques. The training is not yet completed and they were forced to go to battle. Most of the soldiers were killed, others withdraws from the battle including Bagley. Samurai Katsumoto arrests Nathan and take to his village. There he meets Taka. She is widow and Nathan killed her husband during the battle. He lives with the family of Taka, her two sons and her brother Nobutada. He starts learning their tradition and also falls in love with Taka. One night a group assassins attacks on the village. They want to kill Katsumoto. Samurais killed all of them and Nathan saved life of Katsumoto. As soon as spring arrives Nathan is sent back to Tokyo. Omura offers him to lead his army in the battle against Katsumoto but Nathan declines his offer. Katsumoto is arrested. Nathan decides to rescue him. There he finds Nobutada with some mans. They come here to rescue Katsumoto. All escapes with Katsumoto including Nathan but his son Nobutada were killed. After returning to village they gathered a small army of about 500 people because Japanese imperial army is attacking on the village. Now Nathan is leading the Katsumoto's army. Katsumoto was killed during the battle and Nathan manages to survive. He offers Katsumoto sword to emperor of Japan. Now what happens next? I don't want to ruin the ending.

                I have seen this movie yesterday. So I thought to write review on the same. This movie shows culture of Japanese emperor and samurais. Emperor is living in modern trade but samurais still following Buddhism. Tom cruise and Ken Watanabe end up with very impressive performance. I have never expected and seen such kind of performance by tom cruise. His dialog delivery, face expression and acting are really worth watching. Camera work by john toll is also fantastic and movie was beautifully filmed. The lighting, colors and shot execution is breathtaking. The battling scenes, sword fights are really exciting and graphic. The tactics they used to fight against enemy sounds very creative. The soundtrack is also appropriate and was composed with the help of Japanese instruments. The script is simply excellent. Must watch for epic and historical movie lovers.

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                  02.03.2009 18:45
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                  One man's quest to find himself in a culturally different environment

                  Written by John Logan, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, and directed by Edward Zwick, the Last Samurai is a story of the bringing together of two cultures that was released back in January 2004.

                  ****Story line****

                  There is a new Emperor of Japan, Emperor Meiji (Shichinosuke Nakamura), and some of the traditional Japanese residents are concerned over his appetite of western world culture. The traditionalists (led by the Samurais) rebel against the destruction of the Japanese culture and the Emperor has to put a stop to it any way he can. The Emperor decides to appoint Captain Nathen Algren (Tom Cruise), an American Civil War veteran, to train his army of peasants in the art of western world warfare and how to use firearms.

                  Algren gets seriously wounded during a battle that is really none of his concern. Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe) Leader of the Samurai takes Algren back to his Japanese village where he recovers. Whilst Algren is recuperating the Japanese winter sets in and he becomes confined to the village. Despite there being cultural differences Algren settles in to the village way of life and is taught of the Bushido tradition.

                  During his time at the village Algren lodges with, and is looked after by recently widowed Taka (Koyuki) and her young sons. Whilst their relationship does not begin on the best of terms it soon begins to flourish.

                  A change of seasons brings a new challenge to the Samurai as the battle with the Emperor resumes. The final battle between the modern Japanese army and the traditional samurais takes place and Algren decides to participate. But does he pledge his allegiance to the Emperor (who brought him to Japan in the first instance) or the Samurai (who had nursed him back to health and showed him the traditional way of Japanese life)?

                  ****Opinion****

                  When I saw the trailer for this film I thought that it was going to be an all out war film however I was totally wrong, although it does start and end on the battle field. This film is an unconventional love story whereby the parties meet in the strangest of circumstances and go on a journey from hatred to friendship to love.

                  I found the Last Samurai an emotional and very moving film that really tugged at the hear strings, and whilst it is quite easy to watch it is thought provoking. It is simply amazing and, in my opinion, one of the best films that Tom Cruise has starred in.

                  Cruise is one of the all time greats and is very versatile. From the cheesy role of Brian Flanagan in Cocktail to the heroic and arrogant role of Maverick in Top Gun to the dark role of Vincent in Collateral, Cruise gives an outstanding and believable performance in everything and he was the perfect choice for this film and I don't think that any one else would have done such a good job.

                  Although Cruise is brilliant, I don't think he steals the lime light in this film since Koyuki (the widow) and Watanabe (the master) give equally good performances in all respects.

                  Being filmed in the mountainous area of Auckland the location is almost perfect (surely it would have been more authentic to shoot it in the Japanese mountains?) and the scenery amazing with stunning mountainous backdrops. Whilst I cannot comment on the accuracy of the village, or the culture and relationship of its residents and their way of life ( I have never studied Japanese history or culture) it is exactly how I perceive it to be. In my opinion the accuracy doesn't really matter that much since it all works perfectly in this film and there are no "What is that doing there?" or "That is totally wrong" moments.

                  The story is great although I do feel it is a bit far fetched. The Eastern and Western cultures are so far apart, and I would have thought they were even further apart in the times this film was set, that the barriers would have broken down so easily. In addition, I don't think that a person could change their inbred attitude and behaviour patterns from one extreme culture to another in such a short space of time. Despite this it is interesting to see how the writers have attempted to show how cultural differences can be overcome.

                  There are many memorable moments in this film that are brilliant at all levels. They are visually great that really gets you emotionally. One such scene has to be during the last battle. Not giving anything away it is simply amazing.

                  ****Conclusion****

                  Overall this is a great film and one I would highly recommend. Whilst easy to watch it is thought provoking but not to the extent of films like Twelve Monkeys (one I have seen many times and still don't really get). The acting is fantastic, the visuals are stunning (with beautiful) backdrops and the audio is perfect for this type of film. Whilst the story line may be a bit far fetched it does try to bring together two different cultures, which is never an easy task.

                  ****Other****

                  Run time - 154 minutes
                  Certificate - 15
                  15 awards, 39 other nominations and nominated for 4 Oscars

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                    16.02.2009 22:33
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                    Try to rent it if you can

                    The Last Samurai is a decent movie but with a prett unrealistic story, this white General who is initially put in charge of training up a division of Japanese Imperial Guardsmen joins a bunch of samurais and leads them to their last battle.

                    That is it in short, much of the reason it is called "The Last Samurai" is because the film is set in the laste 1800s ie 1877 where new technologies in the form of rifles etc are making the use of swords and armour obsolete, therefore Samurais are a dying race. The film Stars Tom Cruise who plays an ex American army captain who is asked to train Guardsmen as I mentioned earlier. Basically his men get slaughtered by a samurai attack, he gets captured by the Samurai and eventually earns their respect by fighting alongside them. I won't spoil the ending but will say its perhaps a little naff. It's like the director thought to himself, hmm yeah lets just end it quick by doing that. But yeah all in all its a decent movie, good cast, great action and acting.

                    Deffo not one to be missed if you havn't already seen it. Try to rent it sometime.

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                      14.01.2009 22:26
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                      Well worth a watch

                      OK so this is not the most original movie you will ever see. Picture the scene, you have a white general who is a bit of nasty man and whilst fighting for his life against the samurai, is spotted by the head honcho samurai as a potential student who can achieve great things. Along the way they both teach each other things and fight many foes. We have seen this kind of thing before, Braveheart, Kingdom of Heaven, Troy. the difference in this one for me is that the battle scenes do not take precedence. We learn more about the characters in this one and I think this saves the movie. I am not a huge fan of Tom Cruise the man but he is a more than capable actor and always gives an honest performance. No difference here. this is well worth a watch, is quite emotional in places as well. Was never likely to win any awards but great escapist fun

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                        21.08.2008 21:39
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                        A must watch for everyone!

                        This is my all time favourite film, not just for the fact that I am a mrtial arts film addict, but because of the pure reality and truth behind it. The film from the off gives the audience a sense you are truely apart of the film and you straight away appreciate the situation the world was in at that time.

                        The story is basically about a man who was sent to Japan to train Japanese men to fight against the Samurai, but on the first battle he (Tom Cruise) is captured by them and soon learns that they are not quite the savasges they are meant out to be, but just faithful and loyal to their beliefs. Without giving away the main jist of the story incase some people haven't read it all, that is the basis of the film, what happens next is for you to find out.

                        This film attracts me straight away as I am apart of the martial art world, but the film is definitely one for everyone, the harsh reality, the show of loyalty and the sheer martial arts skill involved in the film just amazes everyone, and sends them into a fantasy world.

                        So I without a doubt recommend this film, its got something for everyone, but parents there are some scenes that may not be appropriate for young eyes.

                        But please please please watch it if you haven't! Its amazing

                        The only thing I would say about it is that historically it is not entirely correct, as the Samurai's are supposedly not what they are depicted in the film, they are infact true savages, what you believe is upto you though.

                        Watch and make you own judgement!

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                          16.06.2008 00:07
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                          Classic action flick,

                          The Last Samurai is a 2003 film starring Tom Cruise. The film is in part based on the Satsuma Rebellion led by Saigō Takamori (1877).

                          Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is no longer with the US army. He is offered a new job through an old colonel to train peasants and farmer on gun use. It is to be new army to defend Japan against the old order of Samurai who are not leaving the scene.

                          In the first battle Captain Algren sees his peasant soldiers slaughtered by experienced Samurai. After furious resistance the Captain is captured by the Samurai and taken to an isolated village, this is where he converts to the way of the Samurai and takes part in one last battle.

                          I liked this film and have seen it several times. The film has good blend of action and tradition, the way people lived there at the time. The action occurs in raging battle fields. The best is saved for the last when the Samurai's take on the cannons and become fodder.

                          Tom Cruise is impressive too. He is a far better actor than people give him credit for in many of his films.

                          Slight distortion of history, I am sure in history Captain Algren wasn't as important as the film makes it out. This is Hollywood's way of making one character so large so it can fit with larger than life actor Tom Cruise.

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