Edward Zwick returned to the director's chair for the first time since 1998's The Siege with this sweeping period drama set in 19th-century Japan. After centuries of relying on hired samurai for national defense, the Japanese monarchy has decided to do away with the warriors in favor of a more contemporary military. Tom Cruise stars as Nathan Algren, a veteran of the U.S. Civil War who is hired by the Emperor Meiji to train an army capable of wiping out the samurai. But when Algren is captured by the samurai and taught about their history and way of life, he finds himself conflicted over who he should be fighting alongside. Billy Connelly, Tony Goldwyn, and Ken Watanabe co-star. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
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I was so certain I would not like this movie. I was so wrong. It is filled with human spirit and filmed so beautifully. It is very violent all throughout the movie, so I would caution the viewer on that - but Tom Cruise is wonderful in this role and though it does go on a little longer than I feel was warranted - over all it's a grand film.
If Tom Cruise had made this movie after it became fashionable to "bash" him, I think that he would have redeemed himself. The Last Samurai is what movie making is all about. It has everything: strong story, good acting, good photography etc, etc. Its themes of honor and redemption transcend any violence, none of which is gratuitous, and the manner in which Tom Cruise's character turns the hearts of his would-be enemies in the Samurai village is believable and genuinely touching. Highly recommended!