The Last Samurai [DVD]
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On the pretence of a business trip, Japanese multi-millionaire Yasujiro Endo journeys to the African nation of Imtazi. In reality, Endo is on a personal mission a quest to find the truth about a Samurai ancestor who disappeared in Africa two centuries ago and perhaps to find the true spirit of the Samurai he feels lies deep within himself. Endos search takes him on a safari deep into the wilds of Africa led by the mercenary Johnny Congo and his girlfriend Caro. As the journey continues it becomes more dangerous as they find themselves kidnapped by rebel guerillas. It soon becomes apparent that the kidnapping is really only a smokescreen for a covert arms deal where the only bargains that can be struck are with terrorists.
The Last Samurai is an action adventure film in which (in the tradition of Lethal Weapon and Above The Law) the heroes face a danger from within themselves that is at least as great as the backdrop of the African wilderness; Endo and Johnny confront their inner selves and both discover their true nature that is that of the Samurai.
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Top Customer Reviews
John Saxon puts on a terrible accent & acting performance... and this itself provides the only comedy in the movie (i.e., its laughably bad).
The DVD cover gives you the impression that there's going to be some kendo action in the film - don't be taken in by this as I was.
The film is boring... the script is nonesense... and finale consists of a Crocodile Dundee style rescue by actor Lance Henriksen, who has also seen better days.
Does anybody want to buy a second hand copy - free to anyone willing to pay the postage!
Anyone remotely interested in Japanese history or martial arts: avoid this boring disaster!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There is some betrayal involving the selling of weapons to a rebel General (Henry Cele, "Shaka Zulu"), some surface discussion of the meaning of honor, and a lot of African countryside. The Japanese keeps seeing images of his ancestor. The General is played almost the same as the actor had played Shaka. The American has 'Nam flashbacks.
There is a kendo sequence on a beach at the top of the film that is some of the most realistic swordfighting I've seen in a movie. The film ends with a more action, but certain flaws in continuity and film making make it hard to accept what's happening.
The end of the film is supposed to be a resolution of the various issues that the characters had regarding honor, but the somehow the ambitiousness of the message is outweighed by the weakness of the film making. The script is a sparse, depending on brief profound statements. Everybody, it seems, has a brief profound, revealing, statement. The camera angles chosen for certain juxtaposed shots don't really work; make it difficult to follow the action. There are a few moments in the action where one can say "that's stupid. Why didn't he just..."
If the Japanese Martial Arts, discussions of honor, ancestral spirits, and African revolutions don't interest you, subtract a star or two. Otherwise, this is interesting to have seen once.
Do yourself a favor, by buying something else..
Japanese businessman goes in search of his ancestor and gets caught in the middle of a revolution in Africa. Huh? No, really. That's what it's about. I think. I'm still not certain. Bottom line here is that if you try to take this puppy too seriously, you're doomed. I suggest that you put your critical faculties on hold and watch it as a nice bite of mind candy.