The Last Samurai
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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… More
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© Warner Bros. Pictures

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's easy to stand back and wax ironic about The Last Samurai. But it's not all that difficult to succumb to its full-spirited romanticism either."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"Disappointingly content to recycle familiar attitudes about the nobility of ancient cultures, Western despoilment of them, liberal historical guilt, the unrestrainable greed of capitalists and the irreducible primacy of Hollywood movie stars."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"does honor traditional Japanese culture and ideals and make them accessible to a wider audience"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"More than anything else, "The Last Samurai" is the current Tom Cruise vehicle, and the actor's capacity to wrestle the story to his own demands is an impressive testament to his multifaceted perfectionist skills."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Cruise is wasted on this American samurai tale. The movie is pretty to look at but lacks substance or intrigue."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"Competently mounted in its studiedly immersive, elongated way, Zwick's earnest costume epic dresses a knee-jerk, reactionary sensibility in exotic garb."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"There are pleasures to be had in the handsome, heroic The Last Samurai. But they're all on the surface."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"Outstanding action and performance; lots of blood."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"The real point of the film seems to be the poster image of a battle-ready Tom Cruise waving a sword and all decked out in gleaming red-and-black samurai armor."
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"As brisk as it is rich, The Last Samurai is much more fun than a mere history lesson."
‑ Will Lawrence, Empire Magazine
"The Last Samurai is an idyll in which the savageries of existence are transcended by spiritual devotion. That's a beautiful dream, and it gives the film a deep pleasingness, but the fullness of life and its blackest ambiguities are sacrificed."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture
"The script lays on hokey narration and bombastic dialogue."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"One of the best films of 2003."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"It's a film at war with itself. Worse, it's a mixed bag of carefully packaged entertainment, with little room for spontaneity or surprise."
‑ Christopher Smith, Bangor Daily News (Maine)
"Zwick has an ace up his sleeve, in addition to all the glorious scenery and pulse-pounding battles, and that's Ken Watanabe."
‑ Chris Barsanti, Film Threat
More reviews for The Last Samurai on Rotten Tomatoes

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