Last Samurai (DVD)
Starring Ken Watanabe et al
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Neil, Goodwood. 19 January 2004
The Last Samurai was really good. It has plenty of good acting and excellent action sequences. Also good is the "Legolas" character with his bow and arrow, and the way he took out the soldiers with their guns. The cinematography, set design and costumes are all excellent in The Last Samurai.
Of course director Edward Zwick knows how to make a good war movie by now, having had plenty of previous experience with his movies Glory and Courage Under Fire. The movies supporting cast was also superb all round, with stand out performances by Billy Connolly and Timothy Spall as the British ex-pat Simon Graham.
Recommended for all war movie fans and fans of the orient.
Pierre, South Africa. 12 May 2004
It is one of the best movies I have seen in recent years and I particularly like my war movies - wars in any era.
The story centres around Japan's conversion from it's traditional ways to becoming more Westernised. The businessmen in Japan that stand to get rich out of the new business relationships - with America in particular - are influencing the Young Emperor to do away with all things Japanese in order to achieve their goals. The Samurai (led by Katsumoto, the Emperors teacher) enters the fight to stop this from happening. This then causes the Japanese industrialists to enlist military help from all over the world to help them in squashing the so-called rebellion of the Samurai.
Tom Cruise steps in as Captain Algren, who reluctantly accepts to train the Japanese military. In America he is seen as a hero who killed the evil Indian, but he sees himself as a butcher of women and children. He ends up being captured by the Samurai and spends the winter of 1876 living among them - initially as a prisoner, but eventually as a friend.
Acting was superb, by Tom Cruise, but particularly by Ken Watanabe who stole the show in my view. Battle and action sequences were well executed and the Special features show just how hard the actors trained to perform it. My best scene is where Ninjas attack the Samurai village. It answerred my question of what would happen if a group of Ninjas fought a group of Samurai.
The movie had a very sad feel to it as you (the viewer) already know what happened to the Samurai during that time and how they ended up. The movie does however pay homage to the way they lived and the service they provided to the Japanese Empire.
I would recommend the movie to all who love war movies.
Region 2 - Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories.