So this evening I tackled The Last Samurai. Everyone told me it was good, but I resisted for a long time. A few reasons:
- Tom Cruise.
- It’s one of those historical epic things. Gladiator put me right off such films for a long while. 100% of not very good.
- Tom Cruise.
“This one’s got samurai though!” they tell me. True, and the Samurai were really bloody cool – right up there with ninjas. But Tom Cruise? I really struggle to take him seriously in any role at all. The likes of Top Gun and Days of Thunder have forever marred him as an actor.
But it’s in my housemate’s collection and I seem to be in movie mode at the moment, so I finally caved in.
I’ll give him his due: He was quite good in this. I really was willing him to beat Ujio on the training ground. He’s still a cheesy bastard, mind (please, stop it with the thousand yard stare) and his supporting cast was much better. Ken Wanatabe in particular was fantastic as Katsumoto, and Timothy Spall played the bumbling englishman as only he can.
Then there’s the scenery. I really want to visit Japan now: Lost in Translation made me want to see the cities and after seeing this I want to explore the countryside – though hopefully they’ve cleared up the mess of dead bodies and weaponry left behind after the massive battle scenes.
So in summary, it’s an epic, starring Tom Cruise, with one of the most ridiculous plotlines ever. A recipe for disaster really isn’t it? Somehow they’ve pulled it from the jaws of becoming another Titanic and made something quite enjoyable. It’s by no means one of the all-time greats, but it’s well worth watching.