Love re-watching this one rainy days. Among Cruise's best performance. 9.5/10
A most beautiful story indeed. A lot of thought and research went into writing this story pertaining to the confrontation twixt the new and ancient world. The outcome inevitable, as is the nature of things. Edward Zwick films it all wonderfully. Just to address an issue I've heard a lot of over the years since this flick came out. People have often said how over-exaggerated it was for Cruise's Algren character to learn sword-fighting (Iaido) and Japanese in such a short period of time; In a winter's season to be exact. Here's what I think; Well, he's already a seasoned soldier at the beginning of the film and his teacher(s) aren't pulling any punches. Anyone would want to learn as quick as possible inorder to avoid some of the physical punishment he receives. As for learning to converse in Japanese, it's easier than most make it out to be; It's all vowels and consonants, really. It isn't a tonal language like Chinese, or Inuit and for someone who already has a knack for languages and who happens to be immersed in it 24/7 this is a completely feasible feat to accomplish. Therefore, it isn't really that exaggerated atall. Other than that, really like the emotionally charged Music-score and how it weaves its way though the movie. The Japanese actors/actresses are all excellent in their roles. This also happens to be Tom Cruise's overall best role, hands down. 10/10
Great links and reviews everyone, much appreciated!
Very amazing movie one of the best movies I have watched in a long time and one of Tom Cruise's best roles shame there is no subtitles though needs subtitles. 9/10
This was probably Tom Cruise's best role. Exceptional film.


Note: In reality, that score reflects more of a '9.5' or thereabouts. I'm not quite prepared to garner it with a '10'. In the star scale, however, it gets a four out of four.
** THE LAST SAMURAI - Tom Cruise stars as a Civil War veteran hired to train
the Japanese army in the new fighting methods against the last of the great Samurai
warriors. It has some good battle scenes, but it's overlong, cliched, predictable and
Tom Cruise acts as if he's still in TOP GUN, not a period piece. Not terrible, but not
worth your time.
This movie was one of the best movies that I have ever seen, if not the best. I can not think of one thing wrong with it. And don't try and compare it to Kill Bill.
I saw it earlier tonight at a preview screening sponsored by a group on my campus. I did like it a lot, but for some reason, I felt I had seen it before. The movie introduces Tom Cruise early on as Nathan Algren, a sort of celebrity soldier who became famous in the wars against the Native Americans, and feels guilty for the slaughter of innocent women and children that he was ordered to carry out. Since there just has to be a villain in this movie, they give us one in Algren's former commanding officer Col. Bagley. If you're the least bit familiar with movies, you will see a thousand miles away that these two will eventually meet as opponents on a battlefield. If you've been to just about any movie this year, you've seen the preview for this one and you already know that Algren will be captured in battle by the samurai warriors he is fighting and eventually will grow to adopt their culture. In typical movie fashion, he becomes a fighting samurai master AND becomes fluent in Japanese in no time at all. I guess this isn't quite as far fetched as it might be in a lesser movie, since the movie lets us see that he is already quite skilled in hand to hand combat and has learned some words in the languages of the Indians that he previously fought. The battles themselves are thrilling, but if you've seen Braveheart or Gladiator or Enemy at the Gates, you've seen them before. The shots of arrows flying in the air toward the opposing army are right out of Braveheart, as are some other aspects of the battle such as the way one army uses fire. It reminded me of Gladiator in the quick cutting from one shot to the next so you can barely tell who's who for a lot of the time. I put the Enemy at the Gates reference in there because that's the only movie I can think of where there is a largely unarmed (with guns anyway) force going on a hopeless and bloody charge against a very well-armed force. I thought the acting was very strong by all involved, especially the Japanese actors, but some scenes where Tom Cruise tries to provide comic relief I thought were very out of place for their time period and looked like the kind of ad-libbed scenes that are usually left on the cutting room floor and only seen on DVD.
Just before the climactic battle, Algren tells the samurai leader Katsumoto about the battle of Thermopylae, where a "small band of 300 Greeks held back a Persian army of a million men for two days". His numbers are a bit off of course (the Greeks originally had closer to 7,000 at the start of the battle and only made their last stand with the 300 Spartans after the surviving soldiers from the other cities were sent away, and the Persian army most likely numbered between 250,000 and a half million if I remember right), but he made me even more anxious for Michael Mann to finish with Collateral (also starring Cruise) and start working on Gates of Fire, which is about the battle of Thermopylae. There are several good scenes in this one, particularly those between Cruise and Ken Watanabe, who plays Katsumoto. I also liked the scenes between Cruise and the children of one of the samurai that he had killed before being captured. Cruise does some fine work but I doubt he'll be getting his fourth oscar nomination this year. Edward Zwick does a very nice job of directing the action and the characters, and he repeats some of the same themes of honor and respect he used previously in Glory (respect that the black soldiers earned from their white comrades) and Legends of the Fall (respect Brad Pitt had for that bear, I guess). I didn't instantly fall in love with it like I did the first time I saw Gladiator, but I have a feeling The Last Samurai will grow on me with repeated viewings.
For right now, I'll give it **** out of *****
I just got back from a screening of Last Samurai at Wheeler (ticket courtesy of Maggie! good seats courtesy of me getting there at 6:30!)

I have been someone touch and go on this one since i first saw it saw the trailer while I was in japan, and as i learned more about it. Brandon has been a bit uneasy about the possible gingoistic co-option, so I was trepidatious going into it.

Let me say this - now that I've seen it, I liked it quite a bit. Visually its a very beautifully filmed movie. Action wise its also pretty good, the sword fighting and what not are very well done, i liked the archery especially - it is a bit bloody (just so you're warned) though. The acting is pretty good across the board, including Koyuki, who plays the female lead (well, only female actually), is very attractive, but doesn't do much more in the whole movie beyond Gong Li quality dolorous gazes (but I guess thats what her part calls for).

ps - Remind me to tell you about the shouting match I got in w/ a bunch of ABC chumps outside before the movie who were talking smack about white people who do martial arts!