"The Last Samurai" could have been good.

Not a direct quote from anyone, just a trend I get tired of on occasion. The plot with Algren actually seemed cliched to me. The worn out old soldier (who typically was one of the best) finding new inspiration and acceptance in another culture or with a woman (or both) is kind of old hat by now. Just off the top of my head I can think of at least 3 Kevin Costner movies like that, and one Kurt Russell movie.

This was also brought on by the news that Mel Gibson wants to do a final Mad Max movie where he (Max) sacrifices himself for civilization or some such crap. Oh and the lifetime achievement academy award that was given to Michael Douglas this year was also pitiful considering the work he’s done. He has gone on record as never wanting to play an unheroic man. And you can add the Governator "won’t play a bad guy"Arnie to the “overblown egos on parade lately” list and you can see my frustration with Hollywood right now.

Sorry, I’m just in a bit of a rant here, but I still stand by my original reaction to the movie, which was “Why is he in it? It’s a shame his ego couldn’t allow him to participate in it without being the star. That would have been worthy of respect.”

ehhhh. . .that was actually the kind of thing that irritated me about this.

you know what it seemed like to me – a scene stuck in so they could show him applying the “no mind”. He mouths it to himself, or says it quietly right before the fighting starts.

I felt like saying, “ooooh look, he’s using the the Zen”.

When they first taught him that it was like ‘Q’ giving James Bond exploding shoelaces. . .when is it going to get him out of a jam?

Anyway – some interesting reading from some of you. I was never worried about historical sense with this movie. I never do unless it’s the point of the movie to be historically accurate.

I just had an overall problem with the tone and the style. Cruise’s character could have been so much more interesting, weightier, as could have the rest of the movie.

It would seem that in Cruise’s new flick, “Collateral,” he doesn’t play a good guy. I believe he’s a contract killer.

As for Samurai, I liked the movie but hated the ending. I’m not a Cruise fan, but I thought he was pretty good in it.

The only substantive difference between “The Last Samurai” and “Dances With Wolves” is that the former has ninjas in it while the latter has Indians. I realize that to many people, the fact that there are some ninjas in “The Last Samurai” is enough justification to see and to like the movie, but come on… there are lots of movies with ninjas. “Dances with Wolves” is a better movie in every conceivable way. Same story, same plot, same developments, same character basically… and even though movie ninjas are per se cooler than movie Indians, that fact alone is not enough to make one movie better than another.

What bothered me more than the historical errors and simplification that have already been addressed or the fact that Cruise Algren survived (again and again… how? Doesn’t speak well for the Gatling gun does it?) is the fact that Algren is accepted back into the U.S. military as if nothing happened.

Aw’ight— that he spent several months with the enemy while a captive, no problem, but that he helped an enemy of his employer escape, then took up arms with the man AGAINST HIS OWN SUPERIOR OFFICER and the troops of the emperor and, in the process, PERSONALLY AND IN FRONT OF WITNESSES KILLS HIS SUPERIOR OFFICER, and yet after being shot more often than Sonny Corleone not only survives (albeit with a limp when he remembers) but appears before the emperor in U.S. military regalia was absolutely laughable. It would be almost like seeing an American Revolution movie in which Washington tells Benedict Arnold “Never mind betraying your own army… you did a fine job. Here’s a medal, you wild kid ya!” or a production of Julius Caesar in which Octavius hugs Brutus and says “Never liked Uncle Julie anyway… welcome back to Rome.”

You know, that really bothered me too. I can understand them letting him live and all, but Why in the world would he put on the US uniform again? Why not go in to see the Emperor in Japonese garb?

I don’t have a problem with him living through the hail of bullets. I watched that scene a few times and as far as I can see he was hit in the leg and in the shoulder, both of which are survivable injuries.

I’ve fallen asleep to it twice. I did get farther along the second time.

It seemed good to me. I liked it. But for some reason I just can’t make it through.

Oh well, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately.

Er, he doesn’t rejoin the US military. He shows up in the throne room wearing the same uniform he was captured in, gives the sword to the emperor, then goes back to the village to live the rest of his life in Japan.

You had me at konichua…

Which he just happened to have on under his samurai armor? Or did the Japanese troops who shot him as he led a bloody attack on them politely let him return to the Japanese village (unbeknownst to his squeeze there, evidently) to collect his uniform and sword and then return to the palace? (Warriors are generally pretty forgiving of people who’ve turned coats and fragged a superior officer, after all.) Nope, sorry, not buying it- he was taken back into the U.S. military.

Well… yes, actually, I suspect it was something more or less like that. Watanabe’s character, by dying heroically (also, stupidly, but warrior cultures don’t often see a distinction between the two) had legitimized his position in a way he could never have done while alive. That’s the entire point of the final scene between Algren and the Emperor. Watanabe had suddenly become a cultural hero. Algren, as his friend and confidant, was accorded great respect for his close relationship with the dead samurai. I suspect he spent the months between the battle and the meeting with the Emperor covalescing in a royal palace somewhere while imperial servants cleaned and pressed his uniform, fetched from the village by its conquerors.

Contract killers aren’t necessarily reviled in movies, though. The Travolta and Jackson characters from Pulp Fiction were compelling and entertaining. And Grosse Point Blank was a whole masculine fantasy of the romantasized cold-blooded killer.

Also, it doesn’t erase all the “young talented hot shot who overcomes whatever to succeed and get the girl” movies he has done. That’s the typical formula that he has built his whole career on. I’m not saying there haven’t been exceptions to this, but for the most part he’s just been playing variations on the theme. The Last Samurai is just a more mature variation of it, and one that has been done before.

I’m just so bored with him. Feh.

It would have been more interesting if filmed like THE ILLIAD in which the sympathies of the creators are not really with either side or are with both. A peasant character whose life was one of total stagnation under the samurai system but who rises to officer in the industrialized army against the Watanabe character would have been interesting.

A question for somebody who knows Japanese history: the Japanese were introduced to firearms at least as early as the 16th century by the Portugese and were even manufacturing them and incorporating them into warfare by the time of Will Adams (the basis for Blackthorne in Shogun). Had they completely abandoned them in the “closed centuries” or were they still used but out of date?

Even his Lestat was basically just an “angry young troubled hot-shot character”, this time with fangs. I don’t know if it’s lack of talent or lack of guts on his part. (I would say that his looks aren’t going to hold out forever so he needs to develop the acting, but his looks seem to be holding their own quite nicely.)

If Aesiron is still around, I apologize profusely. Neither you nor Mr. Cruise are midgets (not that there’s anything wrong with that)!

What I really meant to say was it bothered me throughout the movie that Tom Cruise always seemed to be the shortest person in the scene. Even among Japanese, who tend to be shorter than Westerners (particularly in that time period - i believe the average height of the Japanese is becoming closer to the West with each generation).

Again, my apologies.

I wasn’t offended, just slightly annoyed at Tom Cruise’s height being an issue again. Now that you’ve explained yourself, I actually agree with you and it would have annoyed me as well.