T Nation

Last Samurai


I figured someone would have talked about this by now, but it didn't come up in a search (except Pat's old one before it came out), so I thought I'd give my expert review here.....

This movie kicked ass.

Big time.

Oh yeah.

In all seriousness though, it was a great movie...good story interlaced with fluid fighting and battle scenes, breathtaking scenery (which was actually filmed in NZ for the LOTR fans out there). I know many people think Cruise is a joke, but I also thought he did very well. I may be a bit biased, however, as I've always liked him. If this movie doesn't turn some heads and get people to believe he can act, though, then it ain't never gon' happen. Oh well.

The rest of the cast put in superb performances, as well. Ken Watanabe, Timothy Spall, Billy Connoly (who you people who just saw Timeline will recognize), Koyuki, even the young boy
all added terrific flavor to this movie. My personal faves, however, were Hiroyuki Sanada and Shin Koyumada, who played Ketsumoto's (Watanabe) "samurai-army" captain and son, respectively. Just awesome, both of them. And then of course, you can't forget the silent warrior "Bob" (when you see the movie you'll know what I'm talking about), played by Seizo Fukomoto.

Then of course, there's my favorite thing about this entire movie: the soundtrack. Awesome. I'm not even going to talk about it becuase there's nothing I could say to convey what I mean...just awesome. Some people may feel Zimmer has a little too much of a "Hollywood" feel, but I don't give a damn. If you're not riveted by the score in the scene where (no spoiler) the warriors ride into town on horseback then you have no emotion, period.

I'm not even going to do the typical thing and try to compare this movie to Gladiator or Braveheart (I don't even like to compare those two). These, to me anyway, are all three separate movies but all awesome in thier own way. So, if you want to see a great piece of film or you just want to be entertained period, I highly recommend this movie.


I agree excellent movie! Extremely well done.

Mike Mahler


i will definately be watching it, but living in England means it wont be until early Jan.

I will be waiting till then


I want to see this movie but it hasn't made very much money. 48 million(for a Cruise film) by the second week isn't good when you have to make 100 million just to break even. I'm sure it will be on DVD by February


Um, that would be "Katsumoto", not "Ketsumoto". Katsumoto is a family name; ketsumoto would translate as "base of the ass" or something.

I'm not kidding. Really. :slight_smile:

But yeah, it was a great movie. Very well done, even from my Japanese perspective.


Char, I know the film is doing well in Japan, and some are saying its good that finally theres a Hollywood film that doesn't degrade or in some way make fun of Japanese.

But as far as you know has anyone grumbled about the unlikely scenario of a white boy teaching samurai about bushido?

I can imagine that some of the English magazines there have ripped on it some.


Sorry, char, I stand corrected. I can't believe I got that wrong, as I usually check my spelling and back up my facts before I post anything. I'm stupid, I suck, I'll never forgive myself.....well maybe I will. But thanks for pointin' that out anyway :slight_smile:


"But as far as you know has anyone grumbled about the unlikely scenario of a white boy teaching samurai about bushido?"

Where did he teach them Bushido? Did we see the same movie or was that a typo? :wink:


Yeah, I didn't see that part where he taught them bushido either... Which part are you talking about?

Most of the reviewers over here have been pretty positive, which I think is a good thing, because the movie has far more in the way of good points than bad. A few sticks-in-the-mud have made a big deal about how history has been "rewritten" and about how "every stock Japanese stereotype was carefully slotted in", but fuck them. So the cherry blossoms were in bloom for longer than they should have been. Big deal.


Hey char, I just realized something that I have never thought to ask you...are you of Japanese descent? I've read your posts for quite awhile and always love to hear what you have to say about Japan and Japanese culture from a first-person perspective. It's something I have been engrossed by ever since I was very young...Anyway, back to the point, I guess I just assumed you were "American," living in Japan. I hope you don't take offense to that...

Concerning the "white guy teaching bushido" point...I'm not real sure what was meant by that. The only thing I can guess is that kuri figured perhaps that Algren was carrying on the legacy by teaching others (in other words, after the movie is over, the story we don't see). Only problem with that theory, however, is that it basically defeats the whole purpose of the movie and most of all the title. It's called "The LAST Samurai," as in there are no more...Now, personally, I'm still speculating as to who the last samurai really was...Katsumoto or Algren? I could see that one of those things being interpreted either way. But, either way, the "white guy teaching bushido" doesn't really fit. I'm not knocking you, kuri, just pointing out a fallacy as I see it. Maybe you had something else in mind though.

P.S. Another question for you, char: If I wanted to learn Japanese (something I've attempted before but never made much progress), would you recommend learning the Romaji first and then applying that to Kanji? Or should I just jump straight in Kanji? I know there's something like 50,000 that exist...do you perhaps know of a list I could obtain of the more commonly used ones? Some say that knowing a basic 1 or 2,000 will get you by for the most part. Or would you suggest going even lower than that and learning the hiragana and katakana first? I know these are much simpler, with only 46 characters apiece. Whew, sorry about all that, but any help will be appreciated.


I think a major improvement to the movie would have been to change the title and storyline to "The Last NINJA" and Tom Cruise would flip out and kill everybody.


Sorry, char, once again I have screwed up...I searched and found the "Japan Thread" with all of your insight. If you have anything to add, though, feel free (which I doubt you will because that thread is basically an enitre book, hehe).


Haven't seen the movie yet, but will drag out the little lady to see it this weekend. It sounds great.

And who can doubt Tom Cruise's acting abilities? Big teeth or not, I'm a huge fan of Top Gun (of course, the jet scenes played a bit part too :)).

But who can deny his performance in "A Few Good Men" opposite Jack Nicholson?

Hell, I even liked "Cocktail".


amazing movie, great action, great acting.. and i enjoyed their sense of honor during the film... i get to see LOTR this weekend as well :smiley: 2 great ones 2 weekends in a row!


hands down...best fucking movie of the year.

A definate T-movie.


CC, I'm a white guy who's been in Japan for a while, as you probably realized from the Japan thread. I do speak and read and write and all that, but I don't have a lick of Japanese blood in me. My ancestry is half French, half anglo-saxon.

I haven't revisited the Japan thread in a while, but if you have any specific questions about it, why don't you post them on that thread, so that we'll still have everything in one place? I don't remember if I recommended James Heisig's books on there, but if not, they're the ones to go with.

As for the order of learning, you should start with katakana, then go to hiragana, then the kanji. Ignore romanji as it will simply hold you back in the long run.


I saw the movie last night. Best sword fights I've ever seen. However, the story line was too much like 'Shogun' and 'Dances with Wolves' therefore it seemed like the story was ripped off...I still give it 3 stars.


Haven't seen the film only previews in which it appeared Cruise was playing some sort of savior role for the samurai holdouts --- shouldnt have assumed that, and glad to hear thats not the case!


The best Japanese movies are made by Takeshi Kitano.


I really want to see this film now!

Isn't Takeshi Kitano famous for his Cop and Yakuza films?
Seen him star in a couple of Samurai films but I think he has only directed one which came out this year which is a remake.

One of my favourite japanese films is Sonatine by Kitano, strange but very moving film.

For Samurai films I love Akira Kurosawa, my favourite being the epic Kagemusha.