The Last Samurai Reviews

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John A. Nesbit
Old School Reviews
May 14, 2012
does honor traditional Japanese culture and ideals and make them accessible to a wider audience
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Nell Minow
Common Sense Media
December 28, 2010
Outstanding action and performance; lots of blood.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Felix Vasquez Jr.
Cinema Crazed
April 29, 2009
One of the best films of 2003.
Cole Smithey
April 18, 2009
More than anything else, "The Last Samurai" is the current Tom Cruise vehicle, and the actor's capacity to wrestle the story to his own demands is an impressive testament to his multifaceted perfectionist skills.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
August 25, 2008
It's easy to stand back and wax ironic about The Last Samurai. But it's not all that difficult to succumb to its full-spirited romanticism either.
Rob Gonsalves
September 24, 2007
The real point of the film seems to be the poster image of a battle-ready Tom Cruise waving a sword and all decked out in gleaming red-and-black samurai armor.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Christopher Smith
Bangor Daily News (Maine)
August 5, 2007
It's a film at war with itself. Worse, it's a mixed bag of carefully packaged entertainment, with little room for spontaneity or surprise.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Wesley Lovell
Cinema Sight
August 8, 2006
Cruise is wasted on this American samurai tale. The movie is pretty to look at but lacks substance or intrigue.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Competently mounted in its studiedly immersive, elongated way, Zwick's earnest costume epic dresses a knee-jerk, reactionary sensibility in exotic garb.
Will Lawrence
Empire Magazine
April 1, 2006
As brisk as it is rich, The Last Samurai is much more fun than a mere history lesson.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Chris Barsanti
Film Threat
December 6, 2005
Zwick has an ace up his sleeve, in addition to all the glorious scenery and pulse-pounding battles, and that's Ken Watanabe.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Mark Sells
Film Threat
December 6, 2005
A harrowing tale of honor, simple beauty, self-discovery, and ferocious conviction.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Rick Kisonak
Film Threat
December 6, 2005
It's Zwick who fails to take care of business here.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Ethan Alter
NYC Film Critic
March 5, 2005
Edward Zwick's The Last Samurai isn't an awful movie, but it is a dull and plodding epic that's rife with the usual Hollywood cliches.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
January 27, 2005 has to take into account is the sheer power of the show, the way The Last Samurai can sweep up the susceptible and the willing.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Steve Crum
Kansas City Kansan
October 23, 2004
The standout performance is Ken Watanabe as the charismatic Samurai leader, reminiscent of Yul Brynner in looks and demeanor.
| Original Score: B+
Tony Medley
October 7, 2004
The story is good, the battle scenes realistic, and this is Cruise's best performance to date.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 7, 2004
The Last Samurai is an idyll in which the savageries of existence are transcended by spiritual devotion. That's a beautiful dream, and it gives the film a deep pleasingness, but the fullness of life and its blackest ambiguities are sacrificed.
Joe Utichi
July 20, 2004
It is definitely a treat for the eyes and ears and well worth a trip to the cinema to see.
Full Review | Original Score: 81/100
Judith Egerton
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
June 23, 2004
Think of it as Cruise's Dances With Swords.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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