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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 7 November 2010
Absolutely brilliant collection, had been looking for these individually and was amazed at the bargain price for the boxset. Great buy.
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on 28 March 2004
I was amazed that The Last Samurai did not win several Oscars, for it was certainly one of the best films of last year, much better than the lame third episode of Lord of the Rings. The battle scenes make any of the LoR battles pale by comparison. The script was intelligent, the acting finessed, the historical detail (especially the architecture and the townscapes) stunning, the camerawork lustrous, the love interest complicated yet delicate and nuanced, the costumes (especially the fine samurai armour) a treat to behold, and the storyline gripping at every turn. It is a devastating comment on the shallow values of Hollywood that such a well-made film was not honoured by even one Oscar.
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on 5 October 2006
There are many who dislike a film that tom cruise is in simply because tom cruise is in the film,i have always enjoyed the majority of tom cruise movies and this is no exception.
Set in japan during the 19th century it is about a civil war which is marshalled by american troops,tom cruise plays an american soldier who fought alongside colonel custer and although now a drunken wreck he is still asked to teach japanese soldiers western ways of fighting.
The film deals with moments of soul searching,moments of clarity,and most of all honour,the battle scenes are strong and violent and there is clearly a message involved.
Tom cruise is great here as a man that loses his way and finds it again by learning about the way of the samurai and as a result finds himself by fighting his demons,the ending is pretty cheesy but i guess its the ultimate show of respect to offer what cruise offers to the emperor,i wont reveal that here of course,but in terms of a film that will excite and educate then this does the job.
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on 28 December 2010
While treading some familiar ground here ('Lawrence of Arabia' springs to mind), this movie does itself the great favour of - while being a fictional tale - staying mostly true to the Japan of the time, only swaying slightly from true-life when the story really demands.

Since the movie involves an American heading to Japan to teach them 'modern warfare', I was expecting it to take the chance to wave the old stars and stripes in everyone's faces again. I was pleasantly suprised to see that this is not the case, in fact attacking the actions and lifestyles of the U.S of A (and westerners in general) on more than one occasion.

The story itself is solid (if not startlingly new), direction is well above par, the camerawork beautiful, costumes and sets immaculately designed, and the action sequences (particularly the battles bookending the main story arc) handled with impressive verve.

Cruise performs admirably in his role of Nathan Algren, and is believable throughout all stages of his characters development, through suicidal ex-soldier drunkard, to redeemed warrior with a thirst for something more. 'Oscar' may have passed him over (again), but his performance is borderline flawless.

Support is strong all around, especially Ken Watanabe as samurai/ronin Katsumoto, the man who gradually turns Algren's life around. Billy Connolly is also great, though his role is (sadly) a fairly minor one.

A great movie overall, only very occasionally let down by some slightly iffy dialogue (the sort you've probably heard in a hundred movies before). This however does not stop 'The Last Samurai' from being an exceptionally impressive experience.
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2008
General I am not the greatest fan of Tom Cruise (this is actually the only film of his I will willingly watch) but I am a great fan of Japanese history and culture and although this film makes Braveheart and 300 look historically accurate in places I still greatly enjoyed it and consider it to be one of my all time favourite films.

The film sees the drunken American Army Captain Nathan Algren hired by the modernising Japanese government to train their troops to fight the rebel Samurai leader Katsumoto. When Algren is captured in battle, however, he comes to get to know his enemy and get to know the Samurai way of life.

As I have already stated I am a fan of Far Eastern history and as such I must say that this film does terribly butcher this period of Japanese history but personally I can forgive the film this because it is an otherwise greatly enjoyable and emotional film. Everyone in the film gives good performances, with the standout being the excellent Ken Watanabe playing Katsumoto, but even Tom Cruise an actor who I usually loath gives a good performance in this film.

The writing is good and the battles are brilliantly choreographed. The film is also beautifully shot throughout and does have one of the best soundtracks I have heard from a western film. The Last Samurai does have a tendency to get a corny in a couple of points in the film but other than this it is beautifully made and I must confess that the ending always reduces me to tears every time I watch it. Overall despite the usual Hollywood history this is a brilliant film and I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
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In DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990), Kevin Costner is the emotionally drained Civil War soldier whose life is renewed on the Great Plains by a wild wolf and a band of Sioux when he adopts the lifestyle and values of the latter. He "goes Indian".
As this film opens in 1876, ex-Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), formerly of the 7th Cavalry, is an alcoholic Civil War and Plains Indian War veteran reduced to making public appearances on behalf of the Winchester Arms Company, maker of the famous repeating rifle. He's rescued by his old commanding officer, Col. Benjamin Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), who arranges for Algren to help train the Japanese Imperial Army in modern warfare techniques. The pay is $500 per month. Because of an incident in the campaign against the Indians that still causes Algren nightmares, cost him his self-perceived honor, and drove him to drink, Nathan tells his ex-CO that he'll kill anyone in Japan for $500 a month, but would gladly kill Bagley for free. Army camaraderie is not all it's cracked up to be. In any case, off both sail to Japan.
The Imperial government is bedeviled by rebel samurai warriors cranky about the increasing Westernization of society. In the first skirmish between Algren-trained troops and a samurai band led by Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), Nathan is wounded and captured. He spends the winter in Katsumoto's village, where he's nursed back to health by Katsumoto's sister, Taka (Koyuki), whose husband Algren had killed in the recent battle. While a prisoner, Nathan discovers love with you-know-who and personal friendship with Katsumoto, whose life he saves at one point, and re-discovers Honor through proximity with and training in the Samurai Code. In the final confrontation between the samurai and Imperial troops led by Bagley, guess where Algren plants his standard? It's DANCES WITH WOLVES all over again, but without the wolf. The samurai even employ bows and arrows.
THE LAST SAMURAI is a well-acted, engaging story that's shot in some beautiful scenery. Since New Zealand seems to be the location of moviemakers' choice lately (LOTR trilogy, PETER PAN), I wasn't surprised to see in the ending credits that some of this film, presumably that part in the samurai village, was located there. And speaking of scenery, there's Koyuki, a Japanese actress unknown on U.S. screens, who's exquisite.
Unfortunately, the film is perhaps thirty minutes too long, and the climactic battle sequence is milked for all it's worth - and then some - including some unnecessary slo-mo footage. The term "maudlin" comes to mind. And it's this aspect of THE LAST SAMURAI which makes it, to me, inferior to that other action epic of 2003, the more tightly edited MASTER AND COMMANDER.
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on 3 February 2015
A brilliant film in perfect condition
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on 5 March 2016
Great film arrived in plenty of time.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 February 2008
For the first hour and forty minutes this is a near faultless film which examines the very heart of the human soul. Cruise plays a brilliant US army soldier, Captain Algren who has seen one too many battles and is haunted by the horrific injustices dealt to the American Indians by himself and his fellow US soldiers.

He is offered a large sum of money to train the Japanese army so that it can fight the last of the rebel Samurai tribes. In the opening battle he is captured by the Samurai and it is then that he can see the parallel with the Indians and eventually switches sides. All this is beautifully filmed and some of the scenes in the Samurai village, when Captain Algren is gradually adapting to the Samurai way of life reminded me of Kevin Costners Dances with Wolves.

I am not especially a fan of Tom Cruise but he is good in this. However it is Ken Watanabe as the Samurai leader Katsumoto who shines throughout the film. In supporting roles Billy Connelly and Timothy Spall are both
very good.

Sadly in the last half hour the film lost a lot of credibility for me, hence I have only given it four stars. Without giving away the ending I can't be specific in my criticism of this part, but suffice to say I wish the writers had come up with something better and more believable!

Overall though its a very good film, which I think will improve on 2nd and 3rd viewings.
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on 14 November 2006
This is a jolly good movie and I must have seen it about 20 times so far. Every time I watch it, it makes me cry. I'm not a wimp. The music is wonderful and I just bought the cd. The acting is great, but I wonder why Billy Connolly was not nominated for an Oscar. Tom should have been nominated but I suppose being the highest paid actor in the world makes up for never being nominated. The film is historically inaccurate but nevertheless a beautiful story with lots of info about the samurai. The ending is great and made me cry again. Ok so maybe I am a wimp.
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