Having read other comments lambasting the "Hollywoodisation" of the subject area, and yes, I concur there were many thematic similarities from other films but hey ... name me one that is truly unique ... I must say I found this Cruiser very enjoyable and engrossing.
Initially, Tom was not at his best pretending to be the drunk, retrograde individual attempting to absolve himself of the multitudinous North American Indian slayings of his past (has Tom ever been drunk? He never presents an authentic one if you ask me!) or was I watching Top Gun all over again ... but his character stabilised and solidified to be easily overshadowed by the more imposing glacial Katsumoto and Samurai support cast.
The production values are outstanding: costumes - absolutely stunning - I recently went to an exhibition where many Samurai relics were displayed including a full suit of 17th century Samurai armour...the movie props fantastic and authentic looking; cinematography - glorious - sure you could see some of the paint-ins but the vistas during the final battle were tremendous; the fight scenes - visceral, gory and realistic - especially the helmeted samurai appearing from the mists to take on the unprepared Japanese army - limbs flying all around; the characterisation (usually missing or at least superficial for most Cruisers) was great - especially Katsumoto and the relationship between Algren and Taka (god, she is gorgeous) and finally sound - I find most people overlook this as cinema is such an intense ocular experience - great surround effects - the unsheathing of swords, their echo intertwining with - the subtle soundtrack - obviously western with so many Japanese overtones.
If you like historical drama, and a Cruiser at that, with a reasonable but obviously regurgitated story line, then this is definitely worth a watch.
In all the films I've seen of Tom Cruise' this must be the best by far. His previous best was "A few good men" but this is better. Can't fault it, amazing fight scene's and very moving. Not for the squeamish. M.
Here we are again with another western attempt to bring the Asian culture over to us Europeons/Americans.Of course their version of the East has to be distorted so us "dumb viewers" understand whats going on.The Last Samurai stars Tom Cruise as a "moody,over-the-edge" American soldier with the "Guilt Ridden Past"TM who goes to Japan to fight for Imperial army against Samurai renegades but ends up joining the renegades(shocking) and becomes a Samurai in a couple of weeks.Thats basically it. The direction is nice though, all with colourful scenery etc. The acting is good too, as I do quite like Tom Cruise(however his co-star Ken Watanabe really steals the show). What bothers me is the story itself.Does Cruise's character really have to be the sad-ass sorry whiner who feels bad for killing Native Americans, even though the samurai's, like all armies, killed peasants and ordinary folk during war time aswell? Or how is it that it took all those other samurais a life time of trainig to get where they are and our "dashing super whiteman"(Cruise) only needs to practice for a couple of months and becomes the best.If you want to see a geniunely good samurai movie that was also released this year, watch "Zaotichi"(starring an actual Japanesse person-Beat Takeshi). The action wasnt bad though.
I bought this dvd ages ago but never got around to watching it until last night. And i have to say i was impressed. Although i thought it was a little too long, i enjoyed it very much as the story is very interesting. Tom Cruise shows once agian that he can turn his hand to any number of different roles and his portrail of an army officer who becomes a samurai is very impressive. Recommended
I really liked this item; the film itself is of excellent quality; it's one of my favourite films and the transfer to blu ray was lovely. The box is very snazzy but one minor flaw is that on the spine it reads "Last Samurai" rather than "The Last Samurai" which is okay as long as you don't look at it for too long.
I thought I'd watch this with a reasonably open mind and to begin with I was pleasantly surprised by the visuals, the cinematography was quite good. I also thought that the sword fighting was well choreographed in places and even occasionally made it appear that Tom Cruise was actually capable of weilding a sword that was twice his size without toppling over like a twit. Now, here is where I have a problem. To be good at Japanese swordsmanship one has to study supremely hard for many many years. Here in this film is a village full of rock hard samurai, fully trained over many years and along comes Jerry Maguire and ends up being better than all of them, even giving advice to the big boss samurai at the end. Perhaps I am being petty but when will American films stop trying to put their super-sized stamp on the success of other cultures? Of course the last samurai just HAS to be an American <sigh> rant over.