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The Last Samurai [DVD] 
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The Japanese monarchy has decided to replace the hired samurai warriors, who have been relied upon for centuries for defending the nation, with a more contemporary military. A U.S. Civil War veteran (Tom Cruise) is hired by the Emperor to train a group of Japanese conscripts to replace the samurai warriors. But when he is captured by the samurai, he comes to respect them and finds himself torn over who he should be fighting for.
The Last Samurai gives epic sweep to an intimate story of cultures at a crossroads as Japan undergoes tumultuous transition to a more Westernised society in 1876-77. In America, tormented Civil War veteran Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is coerced by a mercenary officer (Tony Goldwyn) to train the Japanese Emperor's troops in the use of modern weaponry. Opposing this "progress" is a rebellion of samurai warriors, holding fast to their traditions of honour despite strategic disadvantage. As a captive of the samurai leader (Ken Watanabe), Algren learns, appreciates, and adopts the Samurai code, switching sides for a climactic battle that will put everyone's honour to the ultimate test.
All of which makes director Edward Zwick's noble epic eminently worthwhile, even if its Hollywood trappings (including an all-too-conventional ending) prevent it from being the masterpiece that Zwick and screenwriter John Logan clearly wanted it to be. Instead, The Last Samurai is an elegant mainstream adventure, impressive in all aspects of its production. It may not engage the emotions as effectively as Logan's script for Gladiator, but like Cruise's character, it finds its own quality of honour. --Jeff ShannonSee all Product description
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Loved the history of the Samurai, such noble and principled people, and the scenery was marvellous. Very interesting to see the Japanese culture and the storyline was wonderful, surrounding a soldier wounded and nursed back to fitness in a Japanese Samurai village. He embraces their culture and becomes a Samurai warrior.
Having said all that, the film is beautifully directed and acted by just about everyone, and the pace is perfect for the story. The action is well handled, and complete lack of mutual understanding between the old and the new handled sensitively.
There is an obvious inevitability about the ending, but that makes it no less haunting. It will remain in your head for sometime afterwards.
His character, who has a death wish, unexpectedly and ultimately finds his solace and opportunity for redemption when he meets the mysterious and enigmatic Samurai. I said more than enough... if you haven't seen thus film then you just should. Its surprisingly emotional!!
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