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Captain Nathan Algren is a man adrift. The battles he once fought now seem distant and futile. Once he risked his life for honor and country, but, in the years since the Civil War, the world has changed. He is asked to go to Japan to train their army in the Western way of battle so they can defeat the Samurai. He is captured by the Samurai so they can learn about their enemy. Slowly he begins to respect and admire his captors and their way of life. He soon finds himself fighting with them because they represent the honor he wishes to again possess.
PROFANITY: 1 GD, 1 S-word. Just a few others. SEX/NUDITY: None VIOLENCE: Several graphic battle scenes. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Some drinking and drunkenness. ACTION: Several large battle scenes and some smaller fights. COMEDY: Quite a few chuckles and even some laughs.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Very Good It's a genuine pleasure to come across a motion picture like The Last Samurai - a rousing tale that combines high adventure with emotional effectiveness. This movie works because it never loses sight of the characters no matter how epic the scope becomes. With its grand, sweeping battle sequences, lush cinematography, and gripping storyline, The Last Samurai already has a spot reserved on my end-of-the-year Top 10 list.
Roger EbertFull Review Very Good Beautifully designed, intelligently written, acted with conviction, it's an uncommonly thoughtful epic. Its power is compromised only by an ending that sheepishly backs away from what the film is really about.
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Captain Nathan Algren (TOM CRUISE) is a man adrift. The
battles he once fought now seem distant and futile. Once he risked his life for
honor and country, but, in the years since the Civil War, the world has changed.
Pragmatism has replaced courage, self-interest has taken the place of sacrifice
and honor is nowhere to be found - especially out West where his role in the
Indian Campaigns ended in disillusionment and sorrow.
Somewhere on the unforgiving plains near the banks of the
Washita River, Algren lost his soul.
A universe away, another soldier sees his way of life about
to disintegrate. He is Katsumoto (KEN WATANABE), the last leader of an ancient
line of warriors, the venerated Samurai, who dedicated their lives to serving
emperor and country. Just as the modern way encroached upon the American West,
cornering and condemning the Native American, it also engulfed traditional
Japan. The telegraph lines and railroads that brought progress now threaten
those values and codes by which the Samurai have lived and died for centuries.
But Katsumoto will not go without a fight.
The paths of these two warriors converge when the young
Emperor of Japan, wooed by American interests who covet the growing Japanese
market, hires Algren to train Japan's first modern, conscript army. But as the
Emperor's advisors attempt to eradicate the Samurai in preparation for a more
Westernized and trade-friendly government, Algren finds himself unexpectedly
impressed and influenced by his encounters with the Samurai. Their powerful
convictions remind him of the man he once was.
Thrust now into harsh and unfamiliar territory, with his life
and perhaps more important, his soul, in the balance, the troubled American
soldier finds himself at the center of a violent and epic struggle between two
eras and two worlds, with only his sense of honor to guide him.