Thursday, September 07, 2006

"The Last Samurai" review

The Last Samurai (2003)

Directed by Edward Zwick
Writing credits John Logan

Ken Watanabe .... Katsumoto
Tom Cruise .... Nathan Algren
Billy Connolly .... Zebulon Gant
Tony Goldwyn .... Colonel Bagley
Masato Harada .... Omura
Timothy Spall .... Simon Graham
Shichinosuke Nakamura .... Emperor Meiji
Togo Igawa .... General Hasegawa

Very predictable and very, VERY Hollywood. "The Last Samurai" moves along just as you would imagine. No surprises here. Just Tom Cruise doing his Hollywood superstar thing and saving Japan from the Japanese. Hoo-ah!

Cruise is asked to go to Japan to help the Emperor with his Samurai problem. Those pesky Samurai won't adjust to modern times. The Japanese industrialists and other exploiters want to wipe them out. So Cruise teaches the Emperor's army to fight the Cruise way: Guns, cannons and more guns will squash those Indians/Samurais.

But Cruise takes a detour with the enemy he was paid to vanquish. Soon he comes to appreciate their ways of discipline. He will be called "Dances with Samurai's" by his new friends and dubbed "Unforgiven" by the establishment. Cruise is the Last Samurai.

The "Last Samurai" is clearly a superstar vehicle for Tom Cruise but it's not an out of control star vehicle like "The Postman" or "Battlefield: Earth". When you see the very last scene in the movie, ("No one knows what became of him..." cue Cruise grinning), you'll know what this movie is all about: Sell Tom Cruise! But the movie had plenty of good battle scenes and two beheadings as well. Beheadings are always good. Always.

SCORE: 3 out of 4 Cruises on the attack

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