Movie Essay (Evaluation) The Last Samurai

1270 words - 5 pages

The Last SamuraiWhen director Edward Zwick called, "Action!," on the set of The Last Samurai, he wasn't kidding! Though the human aspect lifts the epic film far above the standard action flick, this massive production is filled with impressive battle scenes and sword fights. As American military man, Captain Nathan Algren, Tom Cruise trained intensively for eight months in hand-to-hand combat, karate and Samurai style, two-handed sword fighting. He worked with sword master/choreographer Nick Powell, who also trained Russell Crowe for Gladiator, Mel Gibson in Braveheart and the cast of The Mummy. Cruise told, training with swords helped him bulk up. They weigh about three pounds. I started waving them around for a few weeks and put on a good inch-and-a-half of muscle on my forearms and shoulders. I didn't fit in my suits anymore. Captain Algren arrives in Japan in 1876, to train Western-minded young Emperor Meiji's imperial army in modern warfare. His goal, is to wipe out the remaining Samurai warriors. All that changes, when Algren is severely wounded in battle and taken captive by Samurai warrior Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), and trained in their ways of fighting and thinking. Algren soon begins to understand and respect his captors. Hundreds of Japanese martial arts experts were flown to the north island of New Zealand, where the movie was shot, to play Katsumoto's Samurai army in the major fight scenes. They became part of one of the fiercest battles in movie history. Director Zwick calls the attack in his movie Glory, simple, compared to what they did in The Last Samurai. Known for his energy and focus, Cruise spent a total of 31 days shooting the film's exhausting battle scenes alone. Though it's an action-packed film, Cruise says he knew he had to make this picture. (The Samurai code) is essentially about taking responsibility for what you do and what you say, whatever the repercussions. It's more than a code for Samurai warriors, it's a strong way to live a life -- any life. It was something I could not resist.In The Last Samurai, a Yankee homage to Kurosawa, Hollywood's top gun goes to bushido boot camp and sets out to prove that the sword is nobler than the six-shooter. (Fill, Grace. 2000) This majestic period piece comes from Edward Zwick, who directed Glory (1989) and produced Shakespeare in Love (1998), and like those two films, it gleams with Oscar pedigree. But its magnificent spectacle carries an ideological price: after all, it's the tale of an American war hero who redeems his genocidal guilt by serving as military quarterback for an army of freedom fighters in a foreign land. (DiOrio, Carl. 2004)The time is 1876. Captain Nathan Algren (Cruise) is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. After helping decimate the Plains Indians, he's now a Buffalo Bill pitchman hawking Winchester rifles, while using whisky to blot out nightmarish memories of slaughtering native children (imagine a post-Vietnam drama set in the 19th...

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