Cowboys and Samurai
The Last Samurai
Review by Ross Anthony

Tom Cruise stars as a drunken hero. He's a US soldier with a glorious battle history that attracts praises from others, but nightmares from peaceful nights. His reputation as an Indian conqueror and timing in history earn him the opportunity to teach the Japanese army to use American weapons in order to quell the "savage" Samurai rebellions.

Billed as an action film, the best parts are quiet. Edward Zwick has created a very beautifully shot, sweetly paced film about understanding culture, character and honor. The fight scenes are merely unpleasant necessities. In fact, it might just be a better picture without them. Mightily strong, even gorgeous in tone, message and picture for the first two hours, despite it's powerful mass, alas the last half-hour fumbles some well-earned grandeur. Sorry, more explanation would spoil.

I like Tom Cruise and he does a good job here, but I think physically speaking, there are much better candidates for the role: Dennis Quad, Mickey Rourke. Still, despite much too healthy skin, and a smaller stature, Cruise is believable. That said, Ken Watanabe as the Samurai leader, is not only cast well, but grips the role with the strength of a warrior. And Kudos to the rest of the actors. Passionately directed, cinematically splendid, with a sweetly sympathetic score, all is good save for the roundup.



  • The Last Samurai. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Timothy Spall, Bill Connolley, Tony Goldwyn, Hiroyuki Sanada, Masato Harada.
  • Directed by Edward Zwick.
  • Screenplay by Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick, John Logan.
  • Produced by Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner , Edward Zwick,
  • Marshall Herskovitz, Scott Kroopf, Tom Engelman, Ted Field at Warner Brothers. (c) 2003.



Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)



Copyright © 1998-2012 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:04:43 PDT