The Last Samurai - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last Samurai Reviews

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.
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.
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.
December 23, 2003
Disappointingly content to recycle familiar attitudes about the nobility of ancient cultures, Western despoilment of them, liberal historical guilt, the unrestrainable greed of capitalists and the irreducible primacy of Hollywood movie stars.
December 16, 2003
There are pleasures to be had in the handsome, heroic The Last Samurai. But they're all on the surface.
December 12, 2003
The script lays on hokey narration and bombastic dialogue.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
December 10, 2003
Even though The Last Samurai is brutal, exhausting and so not my kind of movie, it is extremely well-made and undeniably engrossing.
December 6, 2003
A benumbed epic with an action figure for a hero.
December 5, 2003
Despite its intelligent agenda, swollen heart and fabulously epic surface, amounts to a didactic banality: a white guy's politically correct lesson abroad.
December 5, 2003
It's wannabe-ism on a multimillion-dollar scale, with an icon of Japanese culture somehow crudely penetrated by an interloper and turned inside out.
December 5, 2003
It looks great in a costume spectacle way, and it has some truly terrific action sequences.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
December 5, 2003
As movie-star vehicles go, Last Samurai is a fine, well-crafted example.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
December 5, 2003
Cruise's undeniable star voltage makes it all palatable, and the film is gorgeous to behold and even to listen to.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 5, 2003
Grand and undersized, truncated and overlong, The Last Samurai reminds us just enough of what epics used to be to disappoint.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
December 5, 2003
It's not a great or even particularly provocative drama, but it is well made, and one that adult adventure fans can go to without embarrassment.
December 5, 2003
Cruise isn't horribly miscast, a la Tony Curtis in The Son of Ali Baba or John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, but he doesn't miss by far.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 5, 2003
Too much surface and not enough depth.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
December 5, 2003
Despite the slow-moving and overly reverential parts, Algren's passage from bitter, self-loathing alcoholic to a man renewed and committed is emotionally satisfying in a way many bloated recent Hollywood productions can't accomplish.
Read More | Original Score: C+
December 5, 2003
Grandly overblown and deeply cornball, The Last Samurai is a visually detailed historical recreation of 19th-century Japan that's as thin as rice paper in ideas.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 5, 2003
This is one of those films that decries war while reveling in it, that praises the purity of the noble savage and then slays him, exulting in the blood while worrying over the act.
Read More | Original Score: D
December 5, 2003
Nearly all of The Last Samurai's deficiencies spring from the screenplay... As respectful as it is about the similarities of different cultures, it also doesn't quite elude an aura of noble otherness.
Top Critic
December 5, 2003
Big and square and rousing, Edward Zwick's epic drama has been brought to the screen with all the muscle and splendor Hollywood can call up.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 5, 2003
A pandering epic that's as phony as it is condescending.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
December 5, 2003
Beautifully designed, intelligently written, acted with conviction, it's an uncommonly thoughtful epic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 5, 2003
The movie's worth seeing for scenery, costumes, exoticism and a final battle sequence that more than delivers the goods.
Read More | Original Score: B-
December 4, 2003
Mostly it just reminds us anew how difficult it is to make convincing entertainment on a grandiose scale, especially when all involved are taking themselves so terribly seriously.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
December 4, 2003
Cruise's performance is all smartly pressed, shiny surfaces, spotless even when they should be stained by the blood and tears of dramatic transformation.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 4, 2003
Taken on the level of spectacle rather than of sense, The Last Samurai affords the sort of fizzy enjoyment that can come with epic movie endeavors.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
December 4, 2003
The uneven Samurai is a can-do movie that's far more effective at communicating emotion in bigger scenes than in more intimate ones.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
December 4, 2003
It has the flourish and even the delicacy of those whose life it celebrates.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
December 4, 2003
A splendid, robust historical drama.
Read More | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
December 4, 2003
It's all so stolid and humorless, even the scenes in San Francisco, without compensating epic sweep.
December 4, 2003
It's not just Hollywood convention that gets in the way of the story, it's the lack of depth, heft and heart at its core.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 4, 2003
Through it all, Tom Cruise stares soulfully past the camera, on toward a catering truck where sushi rolls and ham sandwiches dwell side by side in harmony.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 4, 2003
As the story evolves into a drama with as much heart as muscle, Cruise adapts with it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 4, 2003
The only history that bears a real influence on The Last Samurai is the history of Hollywood moviemaking, and the unfortunate way it has of turning extraordinary stories into hopelessly ordinary ones.
December 4, 2003
A spectacular epic adventure, and Cruise is stunning as Captain Nathan Algren.
December 4, 2003
A stunning spectacle of cultural violence and a loving tribute to the great Japanese samurai movies.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
December 4, 2003
A handsome, well-crafted production with strong work by the magnetic Watanabe and by Cruise, who continues to make riskier choices than he needs to.
Read More | Original Score: B
December 2, 2003
The Last Samurai earns every minute of its near two-and-one-half hour running length. There's no fat to trim, and no sense that scenes have been included to pad the ego of the director and/or his star.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 2, 2003
The least one can say for this costume action flick is that it hits bottom immediately.
December 1, 2003
A movie that successfully merges a Western with a samurai movie.
November 26, 2003
A handsome epic.
Full Review | Original Score: B
November 24, 2003
An intelligent action film.