The Last Samurai Reviews

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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.
January 15, 2004
Zwick is attracted to the notions of victory in defeat and the romantic purity of self-sacrifice. His film is, however, a trifle earnest and overlong.
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.
Top Critic
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.
December 5, 2003
As movie-star vehicles go, Last Samurai is a fine, well-crafted example.
December 5, 2003
Cruise's undeniable star voltage makes it all palatable, and the film is gorgeous to behold and even to listen to.
December 5, 2003
Grand and undersized, truncated and overlong, The Last Samurai reminds us just enough of what epics used to be to disappoint.
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.
December 5, 2003
Too much surface and not enough depth.
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.
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.
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