|The Last Samurai|
|I was easily suprised by this movie. I kind of had an idea it was about the white man who goes and discovers himself. And yeah, it's that. But this is the type of movie that is full of action, battle sequences and lots of swordplay. Whether or not you like Tom Cruise, this is a movie worth the ticket price. (We like to give it a 9 on the fun-o-meter). Cruise stars as Nathan Algren, a soldier who has fought against the American Indians and has seen some things that have haunted him, and since made him an alcoholic. He has a contract with a gun manufacturer in public appearances to glorify the magnificent weapon of the firearm used in battle. But he feels no glory, only shame.
He is presented with a financially rewarding offer of helping to train the Japanese army to fight with modern weapons in their attempts to wipe out the Samurai, an ancient and highly respected order of warriors who serve the emporer. You see, the old way and the new way of Japan have come to a head. The Samurai are fighting against the emporer's men, but out of loyalty to the emporer. It is during this first battle we see our first glimpse of the Samurai...hearing their battle cry in the mist of the woods sends chills up your spine.
Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton, Koyuki
|Algren demonstrates a bravery that captures the attention of the leader of the Samurai - Katsumoto, who spares his life. They both have a desire to learn more about their enemy, which is why he is brought as a prisoner back to their village. There he slowly heals and discovers a way of life that he never knew existed. One of honor.Cruise doesn't overrun this movie, Watanabe is a strong leading role as well as other performances. Yeah there's a few white man jokes about how ugly cruise is, but what do you expect?|
|This is a bold film with stunning action scenes, down to the costumes. What I liked was in any given battle sequence I wasn't distracted by spying a dozen extra's smiling and laughing while swinging a sword. Everyone seemed heavily involved in their character which created very realistic moments. I couldn't tell you how historically accurate this movie is - I mean so few films really are. But it does justice for what it attempts to portray. It is clear that the way of war is changing, because of modern weapondry. The Samurai teach a way of life where there is great honor in how you serve and how you die a good death. While the American held to a way of fighting in which he refused to accept defeat, that he would kill anyone..... if the price was right. In the village Algren is faced with the realization of the man behind the sword - the enemy whom he has killed and the subsequent effect it has had on his family. Unfortunately the film ends with too much sentimentality, the Hollywood machine is always churning! But overall this is a highly impactful film that will captivate the eager viewer.|