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.
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.