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The Last Samurai 2003

Nathan was a captain in the American Civil War. Katsumoto is a Samurai warrior. Nathan is hired to train Japanese a group of conscripts who will replace the Samurai, but he's captured by the Samurai, an enemy he comes to respect and for whom he's prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice...

Starring:
Ken Watanabe, Tom Cruise
Runtime:
2 hours, 27 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action & Adventure, Historical
Director Edward Zwick
Starring Ken Watanabe, Tom Cruise
Supporting actors William Atherton, Chad Lindberg, Ray Godshall Sr., Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn, Masato Harada, Masashi Odate, John Koyama, Timothy Spall, Shichinosuke Nakamura, Togo Igawa, Satoshi Nikaido, Shintaro Wada, Shin Koyamada, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shun Sugata, Koyuki, Sôsuke Ikematsu
Studio Warner Bros.
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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.
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By A Customer on 9 Dec. 2004
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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