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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Samurai
I thoroughly enjoyed this film and rate it amongst some of the very best I have seen in the last couple of years.
Although one could claim the plot line is a bit formulaic, it's a formula that definitely works and the superb acting that brings the story to life is pure enjoyment. Cruise is outstanding but it is maybe with the top notch supporting cast that really...
Published on 17 Jan 2005 by Rich Milligan

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the last samurai
The film is very good, bright color, but in the movie the tone with a Dolby Digital, would be better if you put on the latest high-definition Dolby.
Published 18 months ago by johnny


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Samurai, 17 Jan 2005
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this film and rate it amongst some of the very best I have seen in the last couple of years.
Although one could claim the plot line is a bit formulaic, it's a formula that definitely works and the superb acting that brings the story to life is pure enjoyment. Cruise is outstanding but it is maybe with the top notch supporting cast that really makes this film stand out. Ken Watanabe is on top form making his character take you through a whole ride of emotions but best of all for me was the surprise appearance of both Billy Connolly and Timothy Spall, two of the finest ever British character actors.
Apart from that the locations are beautiful, the action scenes gripping and the storyline delicate but thrilling and told with a great deal of sensitivity.
If you missed this at the cinema, buy the DVD. You won't regret it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly directed, acted and scored epic., 17 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Last Samurai [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
There are a select number of films released that define the meaning of the word epic and The Last Samurai is one of those films. Tom Cruise portrays a troubled soldier who, after years drinking away the sights of battle, is asked to train any army who will march against the rising rebellion, led by the Samurai who want to stall the modernising of Japan. As he proves in films such as Minority Report, War of the Worlds and Collateral, Cruise is a brilliant actor, both in terms of action and emotion. Fellow cast members, including Timothy Spall, a brief Billy Connelly and an excellent Ken Watanabe all bring truth and talent to their roles.
Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond) directs and does a perfect job of it, having an eye for sweeping, epic shots of the breathtaking landscapes, for the gritty, violent action and battle sequences and the emotive scenes. The script is brilliantly written and Cruise is given plenty of material with which to test his skills and prove them. The score, by Hans Zimmer (Pirates of the Caribbean) is epic, stirring and moving and compliments the epic scale of the film. The battles are awesomely done, with Zwick not holding back on the violence and delivering some breath snatching, gripping moments, as well as some excellent sword fights. The cinematography is among the best i have seen, the landscapes are brought vividly to the screen and the japanse architecture and countryside make this film all the more engrossing.
Overall, this film is one of my favourites, it is epic and sweeping, gripping and action packed and its impossible not to be swept up in this film. A flawless, majestic film.
The single disc edition is the best choice for those not bothered with extras but for fans of the film the two disc edition is loaded with special features: commentaries, numerous featurettes, interviews and deleted scenes.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its been so long since Tora, Tora, Tora!, 7 Mar 2004
By 
Steven Chriscole (Wigan, Lancashire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
It seems that Hollywood (being quite obviously American) has kept its distance from high budjet films about Japanese culture over the years. Lets face it they have their reasons and don't forget that the old Japanese culture is quite alien to the average Westerner.
With The Last Samurai, the mainstream film makers have finally found a way of producing a quality film which demonstrates quite accurately the attitudes of the Japanese ruling factions of the time. Quite naturally, Hollywood create films to make money and The Last Samurai is no exception. However, as with other similar semi-historic films (e.g. Gladiator) it has been constructed with a care to detail and has embodied within its foundations the very attributes it wants to portrey, namely honour, compassion and indomitable spirit.
As a student of Japanese and Okinawan martial arts, including sword arts, I was pleased to see the accurate depiction of how a katana (Japanese longsword) is used in battle. I was deeply impressed with the efforts of all the actors to accurately use all the weaponry with such dedication. Cruise especially, worked very hard to learn to use the sword, as well as all the other work he put in.
One scene especially caught my eye, where Cruise is attacked in the street by a group of sword bearing attackers. Having spent several long months converting his fighting skills to that of the Japanese style (quite feasable for the dedicated warrior, even in such a short time) he is able to defeat his attackers. The reality of the use of the sword in the Japanese style, is that every second, one is half an inch from death. This was demonstrated with great film making skill.
This film is unmistakably American, but is made with sensitivity and respect for all concerned. Based loosly on the Satsuma uprising of 1986/7, The Last Samurai uses typical poetic licence in changing the facts, but that doesn't really matter. Whether the protaganists were the Americans, or (in reality) the French, the story is primarily about the strength of character of the Japanese warrior and the code of honour which trancends race and is relevent to true warriors of all races. This is a truly memorable film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I must praise thee, 28 Mar 2004
I must say without a shadow of a doubt that was THE best film of 2003. Before this film came out i absolutely hated Tom Cruise I thought he was over rated and over paid. But i have to say that i was utterly convinced by this performance. I am converted. This is an extremely brutal film, it is very hard to watch. It conveys so much emotion. This is a beautiful film. It shows the pointlessness of racism, and how horrible genocide and war is. I found it very hard to fight back the tears. I will without a shadow of a doubt be buying this amazing film. I also hope that every body in the films gets the praise they deserve. I must say look out for Shun Sugata. Hes an absolute man mountain and great to watch even though he has such a short part.
I refuse to tell any body about what happens in this film. PLEASE rent, borrow, buy you must watch this film!!!
Another film you must see film with tom cruise in is vanilla sky.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You wish to fight me!?, 25 Mar 2004
It was like watching braveheart all over again! Very good film i must say. Loads of good battle scenes, a bit of romance, some cool sword fighting all through the film..what more could you ask for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-balanced spiritual masterpiece!, 17 Mar 2004
In a nutshell. I have been a moviegoer for many years now and went to see 'The Last Samurai' on the recommendation of a relative. I then went on to see it a further six times! Does that tell you how much I enjoyed it and how good I think it is?
The film itself has a very spiritual theme. Without going into too much detail and spoiling it for you (although you may have read the general story from other reviews) it involves the calming of a person and a journey from being in a drunken state to a disciplined and responsible individual.
The film contains many battle scenes, very reminiscent of the ones seen in 'Braveheart'. They are very well choreographed and the direction and the performances of the actors/actresses are superb. Particular praise needs to go to Ken Watanabe, who plays the part of Katsumoto, the Lord of the Samurais. You can really relate to his character and in some ways he even outshone Tom Cruise. This is not to say however Tom was bad, on the contrary, it can clearly be seen the amount of effort he put in, not only with his performance but also in his training to use a sword. His fight scenes, my personal favourite being the one where he's initially captured, are very professionally done. He looks as if he's been using the sword for years!
A great asset to the film is the music, which is beautiful. It really heightens the excitement in every scene ten fold with it's presence. The main theme keeps on ringing through my head all day while I'm at work and I love every second of it. Scenes of the film go through my head and all I can think of is going to the cinema to see it again and hoping that May 4 2004 rolls on as quickly as possible so I can get my pre-ordered DVD!!!!
All in all, one of the best films ever made!!! See it, you won't regret it!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My New Favourite Film, 9 Feb 2004
By 
Wow. This film absolutely blew me away. Surprisingly enough, I am not a great fan of Tom Cruise's work, so I was astounded by his acting in this film. It just goes to show what a brilliant script like this one can do for an actor. Cruise plays Algren, an American who goes from arrogant soldier to honorable samurai during a mission to eradicate the threat posed by said samurai. Whilst with the samurai, Algren learns their way of life.
As well as the undertones of honour and duty, this film is bursting with wisdom and beauty. The cinematography is excellent, and some shots in the film (ie the silhouetted Algren against a gorgeous Japanese sunset) are simply breathtaking.
The soundtrack provided by musical legend Hans Zimmer is spectacular, a true reflection of both mediation and warrior. The song 'Red Warrior' is just sheer brilliance, combining soulful Japanese flute, with strong emotive strings, as well as the spine tingling battle cries provided by Benjamin Hale.
Ken Watanabe also provides a wonderful contrast to Cruise as Katsumoto, the leader of the last samurai tribe. His wisdom and grace are portrayed beautifully, and there is no doubt in my mind that he should win an award for his role.
There must be something wrong witht this film, I hear you cry. Well, to put it bluntly, there's not. The battle scenes are simply breathtaking, the acting wonderful, the soundtrack fitting and the story beautiful in a dramatic way.
An astounding piece of cinematic genius. A must see for everyone.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uniformed or uninformed??, 9 Dec 2004
I am at a loss to understand the reviewer from Kyoto as I saw this film with my Japanese girlfriend and she loved it. So much so that I had to buy a copy of it for her. Also most of our Japanese friends who have seen it really liked it too. So to tell people not to bother watching it, especially after they have only watched 15 minutes of the film, is ridiculous. Watch any film and form your own opinion, if you like it then fine, if you don't then that's fine too, at least you know. But please don't force your opinions on others.
From my perspective the film was great, I really enjoyed it. I am an uninformed person from a Japanese historical point of view and consequently the treatment of the Samurai is not my forte. But from my experience history research usually explodes any utopian image we have of ourselves or our native history, so perhaps there is some element of truth in this saga ... perhaps not. But that is artistic licence for you, it deviates! Sure there are a couple of corny bits, but they cannot spoil some excellent performances, especially the talented Timothy Spall and a nice cameo from the equally talented Billy Connolly. Tom Cruise plays at his best and Ken Watanabe is great. It has some terrific fight scenes without going over the top and I think it shows how strong honour and tradition is in the Japanese culture.
All in all and excellent film from my perspective, so give it a try and if you don't like it, well there will always be another film that you will enjoy more.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare film, 3 Dec 2004
I went and saw this film twice at the cinema. Knowing that Tom Cruise was in it I expected something like Mission Impossible acting from him. Watching the film, it is truely breath-taking. Cruise's performance is the best I have seen so far from him, the storyline is deep, the action scene's are well choreographed and do not have the American Hollywood to them. I own this film now on DVD and must say that whilst it is long, it is a really good film. The film covers Nathan Algren (Cruise) as a Captain of the American forces, going into a controversial battle and being captured by the Samurai. Cruise during the film keeps a diary which gives you an insight into his character and the things he is finding out. Katsumoto (Ken Wantanabe) plays the lead Samurai, and instead of having Algren's head cut off, tries to learn about his enemy. Algren, ends up joining the Samurai and fighting with them.
This film is truely awe-inspiring, it offers a glimpse into Ancient Far eastern history and shows Cruise in probably his best role yet. I would highly recommend this film to anyone.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, 29 Mar 2004
By 
Dario (Zagreb, Croatia) - See all my reviews
I watched many films in last few years, and I must admit very few movies left me breathless like The Last Samurai. There are very few movies about Japanese history in last decade and more, so this movie is really refreshing. Excellent story and action, it deserved some Oscar (atleast Ken Watanabe deserved it). It is not maybe good as serie "Shogun", Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" or "Kagemusha" ,but still presents nice view of samurai and their life). Although it not presents true events in 1876 in Japan it is close to it. By the way, maybe movie than wont be interesting if director followed real history. Tom Cruise and Ken Watanbe really keep movie in the rhytm all the way. If you want story about honour and glory, love and friendship this is movie for you.
Best movie of 2003!
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