The Last Samurai Reviews
The film achieved higher box office receipts in Japan than in the United States. Critical reception in Japan was generally positive. Tomomi Katsuta of The Mainichi Shinbun thought that the film was "a vast improvement over previous American attempts to portray Japan", noting that director Edward Zwick "had researched Japanese history, cast well-known Japanese actors and consulted dialogue coaches to make sure he didn't confuse the casual and formal categories of Japanese speech." However, Katsuta still found fault with the film's idealistic, "storybook" portrayal of the samurai, stating: "Our image of samurai is that they were more corrupt." As such, he said, the noble samurai leader Katsumoto "set (his) teeth on edge." In the United States, critic Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, saying it was "beautifully designed, intelligently written, acted with conviction, it's an uncommonly thoughtful epic." Edward Zwick is a skillful director in terms of epic historical costume dramas, and here he has beautiful environments, big scale fighting scenes, an intriguing storyline that does carry connections to Kevin Costnerīs "Dances with Wolves" and solid actors in the main roles. In general itīs exciting, thought provoking, touching and the cultural differences between West and East has a great foundation for a story. However, the movie ends up quite quickly in the land of predictability and it becomes one long wait to reach the end you know all so well before you even have seen it. Itīs a shame as I do like the foundation of the story, but the execution and development of the story on the screen becomes not as good as it couldīve been as a deeper substance is lacking from it.
What makes no sense is that this weak group is working for the emperor, but a seemingly weak and young emperor that is incapable of making tough decisions, but it would be wrong to say he is corrupt.
During the first battle, he is taken hostage. He finds out this group of much more seasoned warriors live a more traditional country lifestyle over their enemies the more advanced and western influenced city folk of Tokyo, the story follows Cruise and his travels and what his life is like during captivity which leads up to some pointless final war.
It's an intriguing and extremely confusing plot that is different and isn't your typical sword fighting martial arts Japanese film. We have some well known actors like Ken Watanabe. The film will keep you interested for the most part. Some of the dialogue can drag on and end up seeming mundane.
Even with an American protagonist, his rejection of the American way provided a neutral ground. Something not seen as often in films with a similar premise.
Beginning, middle and the end: satisfying all the way through