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An innovative blend of samurai and gangster lifestyles. Read critic reviews

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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai Photos

Movie Info

Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) is a contract killer, a master of his trade who can whirl a gun at warp speed and moves through this world like a phantom -- stealthy and evanescent. In the spirit of the samurai, he has pledged his loyalty to a small time mobster named Louie (John Tormey) who saved his life many years before.

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Critic Reviews for Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

All Critics (99) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (82) | Rotten (17)

  • Even when aware of all the strange, disparate elements, it still surprises.

    August 25, 2018 | Full Review…
  • At once a tribute to traditional notions of honour, loyalty, friendship and professionalism, and a stylish, ironic pastiche inspired by the likes of Melville and Suzuki, it's very funny, insightful, and highly original.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • This is a picture by turns amusing and melancholic, sweet-centred and dark-edged.

    December 2, 2002 | Full Review…
  • A handsomely shot, cool-sounding head-scratcher of a film that probably isn't worth the wear on the fingernails.

    April 5, 2002 | Rating: 2/4
  • Less a pastiche than a mastermix from a cinematic DJ at the height of his formalist powers, Ghost Dog is pretty ill -- but it's not evil.

    September 10, 2001 | Full Review…
  • it's original, sharply funny, and rather moving

    April 17, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

  • Jun 05, 2015
    Cool action and filmed well.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2012
    Now Forest Whitaker isn't the kind of guy you would normally think of for a smart ice cool hitman flick. His big lumbering appearance and droopy eye always gives him the look of a bad guy or suit type, not some ninja like assassin. But here we are in dare I say 'Leon' for a black audience? is that wrong of me? cos this sure as hell is what it is. Take the overall premise of 'Leon' and virtually copy it scene for scene and you have 'Ghost Dog' but with a nice samurai code twist. This film is actually based on a very good French film called 'Le Samouraï' which in turn also probably influenced Besson for his New York based hitman classic. Its pretty fair to say when watching that this is heavily influenced by those said films, from the hit sequences to the little girl who 'Ghost Dog' befriends but doesn't train...although that is hinted at somewhat towards the end. Personally I love this film, its could easily be a sequel to 'Leon' and moves just as sexually and gracefully including some excellent hit scenes, albeit a bit brief. The film is kinda slow and builds around 'GD' training in the art of samurai whilst living his simple life caring for pigeons. Your not really sure if your suppose to root for this guy either, he's not doing good stuff after all. He works for the mob and kills people, breaks into properties and steals cars pretty regularly, he doesn't kill innocents but nor does he care too much about them or their material possessions. Trying not to mention other films too much here but when you see the American mobsters in this it rings so many bells. The bad guys are a classic stereotypical cliched lineup of fat, aging, balding, badly dressed 70's looking rejects that could of come from any well known mafia flick you've ever heard of. I loved how they looked and spoke in that typical Nu Joisey/Nu Yawk fashion with their big tinted shades, dated tracksuits or leather coats, absolutely perfect. You could almost think of these guys as a parody really. Almost caricatures and exactly how you expect Italian American hoods to look and act with the addition of great names like 'Handsome Frank' and the all too common names of Vinny, Ray and Louie. The cast are familiar too, all the regular faces that normally play wheezing old fat mafioso's. Their boss is Henry Silva who is pretty much the perfect face for a bad guy, a mafia bad guy. The man is a character acting legend plus his face is evil looking with those sharp cheek bones and odd stretched wrinkle-less like skin complexion, no wonder he was in 'Dick Tracy'. There isn't too much action here like I said but that isn't a problem really. The film moves slow just like its main player and the outcome is resolved quite quickly really. The Japanese filling throughout is a nice touch which is obviously there because of the French film it plays homage to but it neither hinders or helps really, its just nice little touches that are pleasant to view. End of the day the samurai code doesn't really effect the film much apart from what 'GD' allows to happen. Didn't think the film needed the African American influence of rap music though, would of been nice without that, more unique really as the old gangster thing still looms somewhat. Still a unique film though can't dent that. For me the film is made with the stellar casting for the bad guys, they are really quite amusing, Whitaker does well also in his calm near silent role. A must see film if you like this kind of thing but just don't expect tonnes of action.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2012
    There were some interesting scenes (namely, when he shot the guy through the sink in his bathroom) but overall I didn't think it was great.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer

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