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The Last Samurai (Blu-ray Disc, 2006)
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The Last Samurai (Blu-ray Disc, 2006)

Edward Zwick, Tom Cruise | Rating: R (MPAA)
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Movie synopsis
Edward Zwick directs this sumptuously designed, action-packed period epic that stars Tom Cruise as Captain Nathan Algren. Algren, a former Civil War hero, is adrift in 1870s San Francisco after the war, a lost soul struggling to stay afloat in a booze-soaked stupor. When he is recruited by the Japanese government to train the Emperor's army, he departs for the unknown shores of Japan and begins training the soldiers in American military tactics. But these skills are useless against a band of samurai rebels led by the proud warrior Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), and Algren is easily defeated. He is taken to a remote samurai village where he learns samurai warrior codes and ways of life, developing a deep bond with Katsumoto and sharing philosophical conversations with him. Caught between the feudal culture of the ancient samurai warriors and the encroachment of modern society, Algren is forced to choose between his own culture or Katsumoto's. THE LAST SAMURAI is lavish in its dramatic period costumes and intense performances, and will thrill fans of both historical drama and action films.

Product Details
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Rating: R (MPAA)
  • Film Country: USA
  • UPC: 085391108092

Additional Details
Genre:Dramas
Format:Blu-ray Disc

Director:Edward Zwick
Leading Role:Tom Cruise
eBay Product ID: EPID55991402

Editorial reviews

"...Cruise plays the role with fierce energy and swings a Bushido blade like a pro..."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (12/25/2003)

"Mr. Zwick has absorbed the lethal agility of Akira Kurosawa; what registers just as powerfully as the sureness of the combatants is the ugly futility of the battles themselves."
New York Times - Elvis Mitchell (12/05/2003)

"THE LAST SAMURAI affords the sort of fizzy enjoyment that can come with epic movie endeavors, including a meticulously detailed world unlike our own, an excellent supporting cast and some pulse-pounding fights."
Los Angeles Times - Manohla Dargis (12/05/2003)

"Beautifully designed, intelligently written, acted with conviction, it's an uncommonly thoughtful epic."
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert (12/05/2003)

"THE LAST SAMURAI is another stirring Civil War-era epic directed by Edward Zwick."
Widescreen Review - Widescreen Review Staff (06/01/2006)

"...A rousing, smoothly assembled historical fantasia....A handsome epic..."
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum (12/05/2003)

"With some of the most impressively realised battles this side of Middle Earth."
Sight and Sound - Ben Walters (02/01/2004)

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Created: 12/22/10

The Last Samurai

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Movie Description
Edward Zwick directs this sumptuously designed, action-packed period epic that stars Tom Cruise as Captain Nathan Algren. Algren, a former Civil War hero, is adrift in 1870s San Francisco after the war, a lost soul struggling to stay afloat in a booze-soaked stupor. When he is recruited by the Japanese government to train the Emperor's army, he departs for the unknown shores of Japan and begins training the soldiers in American military tactics. But these skills are useless against a band of samurai rebels led by the proud warrior Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), and Algren is easily defeated. He is taken to a remote samurai village where he learns samurai warrior codes and ways of life, developing a deep bond with Katsumoto and sharing philosophical conversations with him. Caught between the feudal culture of the ancient samurai warriors and the encroachment of modern society, Algren is forced to choose between his own culture or Katsumoto's. THE LAST SAMURAI is lavish in its dramatic period costumes and intense performances, and will thrill fans of both historical drama and action films.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 10/17/06

Beautiful period piece with heart and spirit!

This film is set in the 1870's and stars Tom Cruise as Captain Nathan Algren. Algren was a civil war hero and is recently returned from the campaign against the Indians. He's still haunted by what he's seen, and what he's done. Algren, who has become an alcoholic in an attempt to cope, is recruited by the Japanese government to train the Emperor's army. Japan at this time is struggling with its own identity as it attempts to shed its feudal image and become a modern power. Algren must train a group of soldiers to fight the Samurai who for decades protected Japan but are now perceived as standing in the way of progress. Cruise soon leads his soldiers in battle against the Samurai leader, Katsumoto, who is played by Ken Watanabe. After his defeat Algren (Cruise) is taken to Katsumoto's village where he eventually learns the Samurai's codes and ways of life and develops a bond with Katsumoto. Eventually a new Imperial Army is formed and Algren must choose sides for the final epic battle.

Edward Zwick directs this film and presents us with a period epic reminiscent of some of Hollywood finest movies. The film has heart and spirit and the plot draws you in. Even down to the smallest detail the film is true to the time period and creates an atmosphere in which you really believe these people are living in the 1870's. Everything including the costumes, armor, weapons, etc are authentic and an unbelievable amount of research went into creating this movie as can be seen in the dvd extras (more on that later). The cinematography is stunning and the battle scenes are incredible. These battle scenes are quite graphic and bloody, note the 'R' rating, so if that's something you don't enjoy this movie may not be for you.

The actor's performances were excellent. This is probably Tom Cruise's best performance and he shines as the soldier with a troubled past trying to regain his honor. The best performance in the movie, however, belongs to Ken Watanabe. His performance as the Samurai leader fighting for his country, and his emperor, and watching as his way of life dies, was nothing short of moving.

You also can't forget about the dvd extras, and there are some good ones. Included is the History Channel documentary "History vs Hollywood", the director's video journal, interviews with the actors including Tom Cruise, deleted scenes, production and weapon designs and so much more.

Overall The Last Samurai is a beautiful and visually stunning film and is the best movie that's been released in years.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 10/03/05

The Last Samurai

You honor me by reading this.

Samurai and old school kung-fu movies are, at their core, Japanese westerns (or maybe I should say our westerns are American Samurai and kung-fu movies or whatever). The greatest samuari movie I've ever seen is "Seven Samurai," which was the inspiration for "The Magnificent Seven." In that legendary movie, there is a scene that has alway stood out to me as the defining saddness of the samurai. The greatest swordsman of the seven, a silent and brooding man, is slicing through the raiders that are attacking the villiage left and right. They are no match for him or his sword. But just as you think he is going to singlehandedly win this fight, his enemies fire off a pistol that fatally wounds him. As he staggers to his death, he takes a last look as his sword and disgusted, he throws it away from him and dies. No matter how great he is with his old weapons, he cannot beat a bullet.

That's what I thought about while I watched "The Last Samurai."

Capt. Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is a defeated man. Though he has never lost in battle and is considered a hero, massacring Indian villages (including women and children) for General Custer has robbed him of his soul. When we first see him, he's so self loathing that he only drinks himself into a stupor while trying to shill Winchester rifles in San Francisco.

It is here he gets an offer to do the only thing he believes he's any good at: go back into service, only this time to train troops in Japan the art of Western warfare (complete with rifles and artillary), so they can become a more modern civilization and also defeat the remaining samurai that have fought like rebels to the change. Of course, Japan's current government is wrought with dity politicians and an Emporer too scared to stand up to them.

So, he goes to train an army of farmers and fishermen how to use Western guns and ammo when the order comes in for Algren to lead his forces into battle with Katsumoto (Oscar nominated Ken Watanabe), the leader of last remaining band of Samurai. Algren, knowing his forces are too inexperienced to handle a group who's whole lives are dedicated to battle, tries to resist but is outranked. It is at this battle that he is taken captive by Katsumoto, who spares Algren's life in order to know his enemy better. This all leads to Algren learning the disciplined ways of the Samurai and learing to stand and fight with the very people he came to fight.

When this movie originally came out, I thought it sounded like "Dances With Samurai." And it does have a bit of that feel to it. Many scenes are played out without much dialogue at all as Algren begins to adopt the philosophies and dogma of the samurai. However, the movie comes into it's own very nicely and even the thought of Cruise as the 5'6 warrior melts out of your mind. Even with the film being over 2 1/2 hours, I never felt like things were dragging at all - although I do admit I had the luxury of watching this at home rather than on the big screen. There are also some elements to "Bravehart" during the climatic battle scenes, but they don't drag the movie down for too many unoriginal moments to spoil things.

Cruise is solid, as he always is. The thing about Cruise is that he is a very good character actor trapped in a Hollywood Star body. The real standout is Watanabe, who's quiet charisma comes out in buckets. That's not to say he chews up the scenery - he just simply has such presence on screen that you are riveted every time he shows up. It's a shame he didn't take home the Oscar.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 04/03/08

The Last Samurai (2006, Blu-ray Disc)

Review For: The Last Samurai (Blu-ray Disc, 2006)

The story follows a disillusioned American Civil War hero, Captain Nathan Algren, played by Tom Cruise, as he goes to Tokyo to train the Japanese army, who are embroiled in a battle with the remaining traditional Samurai. The Americans are there for the money, and that money is provided by the Emperor's Westernized advisors who want the Samurai out of the picture so that they may continue be the power behind the Emperor and increases their own wealth. In an early battle however, Algren is captured by the Samurai and held by them for the winter. During this time he learns the way of the Samurai and eventually ends up fighting alongside them - breaking his allegiance to the country he once fought for.

Ken Watanabe in his performance as the samurai leader Katsumoto dominates the screen. Through Watanabe we see that the samurai are noble and intelligent. Hiroyuki Sanada was impressive as Ujio, the tough, brutal, yet loyal and disciplined Samurai.

This film has amazing sets and battles. The sword fights are well rehearsed and the cinematography is well orchestrated. The costumes were striking and good replicas for a period movie. This film reminded me of Dances with wolves, which I also liked. Its not about which culture is more superior, it is about our mutual willingness to listen and learn from each other.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 01/31/09

Good!

This movie is really good; it's pretty long, however. Once, it really gets into the movie there is alot of action. It also contains alot of history. Tom Cruise plays Civil War hero Capt. Nathan Algren, who comes to Japan to fight the Samurai and ends up pledging himself to their cause. Ken Watanabe plays Katsumoto, a Samurai leader facing a vanishing way of life, whose destiny becomes intertwined with that of the American captain. Edward Zwick directs this sweeping and emotional epic tale of the birth of modern Japan. I would definetly recommend watching this movie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

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