The Last Samurai Reviews

Page 1 of 1097
Super Reviewer
½ March 4, 2007
Sweeping and emotional. This is truly a bold, near masterpiece that just gets better with each subsequent viewing. I don't know why it's so underrated or why many dismiss it, but Edward Zwick created one of the finest modern epics with "The Last Samurai."
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2009
I really cannot understand how overlooked and underrated this film is. This is nothing less than an extraordinary masterpiece in its own ways; a fascinating and powerful epic about honor, loyalty, redemption and love, beautifully photographed, greatly acted and so wonderfully scripted.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2007
Almost 10 years passed between my first attempt at watching this movie and my second, and while I had rated it a 2.5 the first time around (after passing out, late at night, unwilling to invest in it), the problem wasn't the movie - it was me. I think I, like a lot of viewers, was ready to hate this film simply because Tom Cruise isn't Japanese; call it the "But I don't get it, how in the heck could HE be a Samurai!?" effect. What it is, though, is a historical epic about an American who gets a glimpse into a changing Japan. It's well shot, decently paced, and superbly choreographed - with the exception of one WWE-style body slam in the battle scene - and in the end, the only knock against it is that the premise seems rather flimsy. There's this thing called "the willing suspension of disbelief" that all art requires, though; it's not a documentary, nor was it meant to be, and if you're still hung up on factual accuracy, just watch it for Ken Watanabe's Oscar-nominated (Oscar-worthy!) supporting performance. It's basically just "Dances With Wolves: Japan," but some of us call this sort of movie "entertaining popular film." I think it's been horribly misjudged... I kind of loved it.
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2007
Its Hollywood romanticism of culture we killed at its best, with Cruise as the protagonist suddenly dubious as to which side is the right side (see:"Dances With Wolves"). Not a total waste of time, altho I wished (as I do in these films) for more time learning about the natives before they are shown up by the I'm-only-just-learning-this-stuff-but-I'm-already-better-than-you Anglo (see:"Avatar", see:"Tarzan") star.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2006
Review coming.
Marc L.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2011
Let me start this off by saying that a historical epic has to do more than have some great fight scenes to impress me. That is the reason why I HATED "300" (And when I say hated I mean H-A-T-E-D) That said, "The Last Samurai" is probably the greatest historical epic of all time. It has fight scenes arguably as good as "300", but unlike "300" it also has a brain, a heart and characters you actually give a crap about. It's a beautiful tale of loyalty and honor I never thought I would see out of this genre (Especially considering Tom Cruise is in it) but fortunately had.

Before I get into my review, readers should know that this film requires patience. Do not watch unless you intend on finishing it, because the first 20 minutes are VERY dull. However, from those 20 minutes onward, it is a masterpiece.

The acting in this movie was breathtakingly good. Tom Cruise, surprisingly, did a great job as Nathan Aldren, the former American army captain recruited by the Japanese to exterminate the Samurai. He showed a lot of emotion and energy with his role while keeping it realistic, a great performance. Koyuki did a great performance as well as the Japanese mother of 3 small children forced to care for Nathan, despite the fact he killed her husband. However, the best performance in the movie has got to go to Ken Watanabe (FYI, he was also in "Batman Begins" another great one) His performance showed plenty of emotion and power, and was part of what made this movie so emotional.

Of course, what's a fantastic historical epic without fantastic battle scenes? And these battle scenes are certainly fantastic. From choreography to just the right amount of slow mo, these fight scenes seem to get everything right. (The battle scene at the end is probably the best, which I suppose is fitting)

However, what sets "The Last Samurai" apart from a mindless, heartless idiotic blood bath like "300" is the character development, We actually care about the characters in this film. When Nathan Algren is captured by the Samurai, he must make a choice about whether to protect and embrace the culture he has grown into, or betray the samurai and bring about their extermination. Similarly, when Taka (Koyuki's character) is forced to care for Nathan, she is horrified. Nathan killed Taka's husband, a samurai, in a battle. However, the more time Nathan spends in the house and the closer she, and her children, get to Nathan. That said, "The Last Samurai" would be nothing if not for it's fantastic characters.

If you are a "300" fan, looking for a mindless, bloody, stupid and senseless war film, go check out "Beowulf". However, if you're looking for a historical epic with a heart, brain and muscle than you've hit jackpot with "The Last Samurai". Truly one of the best films of 2003.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2007
This is a great movie that could of been epic, the Eastern look and feel is spot on, the samurai's are awesome and I love their warrior armour and weaponry but It falls short of being the perfect samurai flick. Watanabe is brilliant as is his fellow warriors, the battles are great slicing action and the Japanese vista's are stunning but Cruise lets it down in my opinion, he just loves himself too much and boy does he shows it.

This film needed a smaller name in the lead role in my opinion, someone with less of an ego and can play a character that you care about, you care about the other samurai from the village but not Cruise cos you know he can't die *rolls eyes*.

Basically everything about this film is an Oriental dream from the cast to the costumes but the ending is really quite poor as the invincible Cruise lives on whilst all the better actors get killed off. Very 'Hollywood' and can't compare to '13 Samurai' but it is worth a viewing for its accurate depiction of 19th Century Japan.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2011
A cool and perfect historical movie. Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe are amazing partners, they truly lit up the screen. The costume designs in this movie were amazing, im like where did they get this. The plot is very interesting and historically accurate and is not like The Karate Kid as others have said, it is a dramatic and heartfelt movie that takes into the world of a real samurai. History fans will love this movie, and people who want a great movie will get what they came for. The Last Samurai is a genius movie, and one of my favorites.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2011
The Last Samurai is a terrific action war drama directed by Edward Zwick and starring Tom Cruise and Ken Wantanabe. Set in Japan in the 19th century, The Last Samurai takes a look at a modernizing Japan who seek the help of an American officer (played by Tom Cruise) to train their modernizing army and eradicate the ancient Samurai who refuse a modernized Japan.
After living a life of shame survive under Custard, Nathan Algren (Cruise) who is an alcoholic gets hired to train the Japanese army to eradicate the Samurai. He gets captured after an ill prepared attack, as the newly formed army is not battle ready and not disciplined enough for combat. As they are ordered to suppress the Samurai revolt. Algren gets captured and becomes the Samurai's prisoner. Through his captivity, Algren slowly regains his honor and learns the way of the Samurai. He becomes impressed with their way of life, the way they live, fight and how selfless they are. At first, The Samurai are wary of him, but it's not long that they gain full confidence in him.
Soon the eras will collide and Algren will choose a side, and be forced to fight for what he truly has come to love. The Last Samurai is a well crafted film, and Tom Cruise gives a great performance, in fact one of his best since Rainman (at the time of this films release) Ken Wantanabe is phenomenal as the Samurai Katsumoto, his performance is the best of the film. Edward Zwick has made yet another terrific film, and The Last Samurai proves yet again that he's is a seriously underrated director. The Last Samurai is unique and is a film that you won't forget long after you've seen it. The film is simply beautiful.
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2007
This is neither Zwicks, not Cruise;s best, but it's still a pretty entertaining and rousing action/adventure film anyway. Since I'm not too terribly familiar with Japanese histroy or culture, I can't really grade it along those lines. If I were, I have a feeling I'd probably be far more critical of this movie, but that's just how these things usually go though, don't they? This is a nice sweeping epic, and it's not just all battle scenes (even though those are done quite well), but it doesn't have quite the punch along the culture clash lines of something like Dances With Wolves. Still though, the human drama isn't too bad. It's just not as good as the action stuff.

I know my grade is inflated, but since my lack of Japanese culture and history forces me to mainly focus on aesthetic stuff, that's why. But I can't be blamed though, This movie looks wonderful. Good cinematography, decent framing, lovely costumes and sets, and (if memory serves right), nice music too. Cruise could be much better, but he tries. I mean, an unknown may have been a better choice, but this would probably have been a smaller and less epic affair as a result. Watanabe is awesome though. Crusie os not bad, but he's great. I can't remember the extent of Timothy Spall's role but he's consistently proven to be great , no matter the size or scope of the roles he has.

This is basiclly a 4/5, but I give it the extra since the technical stuff is just so awesome and well done. This isn't one I would watch (or want to) all the time, but it's worth seeing once in a great while.
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2010
a great movie. B+
Super Reviewer
½ April 13, 2010
I enjoyed it to a point. Historical and cultural inconsistencies spoilt it somewhat, as did Cruise.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2009
A truly beautiful movie. Everything looks amazing and fits the culture and mood of the film as well. It is a great story and extremely well crafted. Tom Cruise's performance was probably one of the most powerful in his entire career. I also enjoyed the fact that this was a dramatic movie with action and not the other way around.
Super Reviewer
½ December 9, 2006
Everything you want from a historical epic. It's a long history lesson that remains gripping, with characters defending their honour in big battle scenes. Tom Cruise plays his favourite Maverick role and there's even a bit of Billy Connolly. Very enjoyable.
Super Reviewer
½ April 8, 2007
Tom Cruise gives one of is best-ever performances in this slow-going, yet beautiful and well-directed action-drama. I've always had an undying fascination for ancient Japan and the samurai culture, so this was definitely my kind of movie. The storyline also reminded me a lot of the mini-series Shogun, which seems to have served as one of its main sources of inspiration. In fact, this is more or less like a full-length film version of said series. Not as great as some make it out to be, but surely a good time at the movies.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2006
A big production with some amazing views, a great quality film with a western view on the Samurai style films. It also captures the spiritual sense.

It is perhaps a little disappointing that people will watch, and have watched this film purely because of Tom Cruise being the lead, when although this is one of Cruise's better roles it certainly isn't the Cruise element that makes the film, but I'm sure he would have raised the box office ratings.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2007
A disillusioned cavalry officer is ordered to train an army to fight against a rebellious samurai in Japan, only to be captured and come to respect his erstwhile foe. Yes, that's right, it's Dances With Japs. Or maybe, How The East Was Won. This film is exactly what i was expecting; a typical Hollywood historical epic. Tiny Tom is troubled by clumsy flashbacks of an atrocity which now shapes his entire personality and sets off to do his duty, only to learn to admire the noble savages while they learn from his pig-headed self-destructiveness and provide him with a handily widowed village babe and surrogate family. He then switches sides leading to the wobbly lower-lip inducing heroic final battle after which an American invents modern Japan (probably shouldn't have nuked it 70 years later then, huh?) The script is the usual laughably formulaic nonsense you'd expect (the ending especially provoked one particularly loud and obnoxious raspberry aimed at the screen) and everyone's favourite cultist shouts, gets all dewy eyed and moons over doe-eyed Japanese beauties on cue, although I'd have to say he does not look too out of place with a katana in his hand. Despite the cliche riddled script, there is enough action and spectacle to maintain the interest, with the battle sequences as well staged as you'd expect but it is the smaller scale fight sequences that are the most impressive, particularly the bonding bloodshed Tom and Ken share when dealing with a cadre of attacking ninjas. In fact it falls to Ken Watanabe to provide the real meat of the story and he brings an intensity to his character that is sorely lacking from the rest of the cast. It's a serviceable Hollywood blockbuster that's undemanding yet entertaining enough but I couldn't help thinking that it would have been a much better film if Cruise and his character weren't in it.
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2006
I love this movie - not a big Tom C. fan but he is a good actor- and this movie is really good -
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2007
One of the finest movies done in Hollywood. Epic proportions, fantastic tale, excellent acting and far-reaching message. Should have won couple of Oscars. Incredible achievement! Tom Cruise is one of the best Hollywood actors - he has proved it here! Not nominating him for an Oscar is a disgrace. High emotional adventure tale with focused cast that has digged deep into these roles and a story that enchants and captivates throughout. A great vision of a dissapering world, of different cultures and civilizations clashing and of retaining basic values that can never be destroyed regardless of anything. Wonderful music and scenery accompanies this almost perfect tale. Captain Nathan Algren's battlefield ending scene survival takes the edge of the movie but gives it back in the most last scene with the emperor. Almost a flawless movie worth seeing several times.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2007
I was impressed as hell too see how good Tom Cruise played this role. One of the best movies I've seen
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