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
Commentary by Director Edward Zwick
Edward Zwick: Director's Video Journal
The History Channel Documentary History vs. Hollywood
Tom Cruise: A Warrior's Journey
Making an Epic: A Conversation with Edward Zwick and Tom Cruise
A World of Detail: Production Design with Lilly Kilvert
For Tom Cruise fans like myself, I knew this movie was not going to disappoint. Tom Cruise plays the main character, who is in the middle of Japan as they fight to cling to tradition, or push forward to modern economic times. This is Based on a true story. Definit purchase for any Samurai / civil war / Tom Cruise fans. You will not be disappointed.
This blu-ray captures what I think is one of Tom Cruise's best movies, and, in my view, he's made a lot of them. The colors brought out on this disc are just fantastic, and the sound and music are fully immersive. In the battle scenes, you can hear the bullets whizzing around you, and the soldiers and their adversaries shouting from all sides. Some people compare this film to Kevin Costner's "Dances With Wolves," and the themes of a person coming to deeply understand and identify with another culture are similar -- but, while Dances is a great movie and part of my collection as well, I think The Last Samurai is a much more profound and moving story, capturing the dignity of an impressive culture with great cinematography, great acting, and great music. This blu-ray brings all of that home. You just get the disc -- no digital copy with this version -- but still well worth a place in your collection.
If I were to review just the movie it would be 5 stars. I ,ove this movie and feel that it is one of Tom Cruise's most underatted performances. If I were to rate the transfer on this Blu-Ray, I would rate it as 5 stars. No artifacts, high quality HD transfer.
So why then did I give it only 4 stars? My copy that showed up from Best Buy was in less than perfect condition. It looked like one of those DVDs that you find in the big basket at Walmart for cheap....with hundreds of other dvds, one on top of the other, all crushing each other. I expect more from Best Buy which is why I buy my movies from them instead of Walmart.