[Screen It]

 

"THE LAST SAMURAI"
(2003) (Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Heavy Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Heavy None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Hired to train a new and modernized Japanese military, a 19th century American war hero instead finds himself enamored and siding with the remaining samurai forces he's supposed to defeat.
PLOT:
It's 1876 and Captain Nathan Algren (TOM CRUISE) is a disgruntled and alcoholic Civil War hero who's recently battled American Indians in the West. Beset by flashbacks of a brutal massacre of women and children at his hands under the direction of his commanding officer, Colonel Bagley (TONY GOLDWIN), Algren makes a living doing demonstrations for a rifle company.

Yet, his talents are wanted elsewhere. Japanese businessman Omura (MASATO HARADA) has been pressuring the young Emperor (SHICHINOSUKE NAKAMURA) to quell recent samurai uprisings that are preventing the modernization of Japan through his railway system. Accordingly, he's hired Bagley to train the country's new conscript army and the Colonel automatically has thought of Algren since he's seasoned in battling those that others refer to as savages.

Algren initially wants no part of it, but eventually agrees as long as he can bring his friend and fellow Army veteran, Sergeant Zebulon Gant (BILLY CONNOLLY) with him. Upon arriving in the land of the rising sun and meeting their interpreter, Simon Graham (TIMOTHY SPALL), they start training the troops.

Unfortunately, Omura is impatient and sees a prime opportunity to defeat the samurai and their leader, Katsumoto (KEN WATANABE). Algren disagrees but is overruled and thus takes his inexperienced troops into battle against the highly trained warriors.

A massacre ensues and Algren is nearly killed, but his refusal to give up and obvious warrior spirit impresses Katsumoto enough that he spares the American's life. He does take him prisoner, however, removing him far into the hills and to a remote village run by his son, Nobutada (SHIN KOYAMADA).

With nowhere to escape to, Algren isn't confined and instead gets to view how the samurai live, all while staying with Taka (KOYUKI), Katsumoto's sister and a war widow with a unique connection to the American. He's also always trailed by the Silent samurai (SEIZO FUKUMOTO), and constantly having violent run-ins with Katsumoto's right-hand man, Ujio (HIROYUKI SANADA).

As time passes and Katsumoto befriends him and the two men learn about each other, Algren comes to realize that he has more in common with these people than Bagley and the others who are still preparing to attack and defeat the samurai. With another battle being inevitable, Algren must decide what he's going to do.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, period dramas or samurai-related material, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong violence and battle sequences.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • TOM CRUISE plays a disgruntled and drunken war hero who's still disturbed by a massacre that he participated in. Hired to train a modern Japanese army to fight the remaining samurai, he's captured by the latter and soon becomes entranced by them and joins them in battle against their oppressors.
  • KEN WATANABE plays the samurai leader who's heading the insurgent movement under the belief that he's serving the Emperor. He lives by the samurai code and befriends Algren after taking him prisoner and then trying to discover what makes him tick.
  • TIMOTHY SPALL plays the English interpreter who works with Algren upon his arrival in Japan. He does some drinking.
  • BILLY CONNOLLY plays Algren's old friend and fellow Army veteran who serves as his drill sergeant in Japan. He briefly drinks, smokes and uses some profanity.
  • TONY GOLDWIN plays Algren's former commanding officer and current boss who doesn't like him but hires him to train the Japanese army.
  • HIROYUKI SANADA plays Katsumoto's right-hand samurai who doesn't like Algren and constantly spars with him.
  • KOYUKI plays Katsumoto's sister who's forced to take in and care for Algren despite him being the one who killed her husband in battle.
  • SHICHINOSUKE NAKAMURA plays the young and wimpy Emperor who's letting Omura push him around.
  • MASATO HARADA plays that Japanese businessman who wants the samurai eliminated for his own financial gain.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama and action epic. Profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word, while a handful of other expletives, religious and colorful phrases are used. Violence includes a great deal of lethal and bloody battles and other fighting where many people are wounded or killed by various means. Several beheadings (with bloody results) and acts of hara-kiri occur.

    Some of those scenes may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers and some result in tense family moments, while some kids may be enticed to imitate all of the stunts, fighting and swordplay. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some smoke and others drink, some to the point of being intoxicated.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Algren drinks from a flask and appears to be drunk. He then goes out and does a presentation with a rifle -- that includes shooting it over an audience that ducks in terror -- while inebriated.
  • Algren drinks several rounds of whiskey, while Gant has one.
  • Algren has a drink.
  • Algren drinks and Graham appears a bit inebriated from sake.
  • Algren asks Taka for some sake and she gives him some.
  • Omura has a drink and offers whiskey to Algren who declines.
  • Algren drinks a shot of liquor and then pours himself another.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Through much of the first half of the film, we see various quick flashback images of a massacre that include some bloody moments, including some blood squirting out and a wounded Indian with blood on their face.
  • During a battle, various participants have some bloody wounds.
  • Algren has some blood from his lip.
  • A samurai raises his sword and decapitates another samurai. We see the swinging of the sword, but the camera passes behind a tree at the point of impact. When it comes around the other side, we see the severed head on the ground, the crumpled body kneeling on the ground and some blood coming from it (briefly seen and from a distance).
  • Taka sews up Algren's bloody shoulder wound (rather graphically seen with the tugging of flesh via the thread).
  • We see scars on Algren's chest from previous wounds.
  • A man is hit by a crossbow arrow (with blood squirting out) and then a large-scale battle breaks out between the assassins and the samurai. Some of that copious violence has bloody results and we see some blood on Kasimoto's blade, but not too much considering the quantity of such material.
  • Kasimoto has a slight cut on his head following a fight with many assassins.
  • Algren fights with several men, slicing, hitting and kicking them with some blood splattering out. He then decapitates the last one (seen from behind him and the head doesn't fall off until the body hits the street).
  • A samurai has some blood running from his mouth after being mortally wounded.
  • An arrow goes through a man's head. The samurai then rush the soldiers and a great deal of hand to hand fighting occurs (with slicing, stabbing, hitting, shooting, etc.), including Algren slicing an enemy vertically down his face (with bloody results). During this, Algren and Kasimoto are stabbed several times, but keep fighting, as do others and more are stabbed, shot, impaled and one's neck is broken (with additional bloody results).
  • After the battle is done, we see many bodies on the battlefield.
  • Algren and Kasimoto have bloody cuts/scrapes on their faces following a battle.
  • Another large-scale battle breaks out between the army and the samurai. Canon fire and gunfire hit many of the samurai as they race toward the enemy on horseback, with some blood squirting out from some of the wounds.
  • The army opens fire on the samurai with Gatling guns, mowing down most of them, with some bloody results.
  • We see various bloody bullet holes in the clothing of some injured men.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Various people refer to American Indians of the mid 19th century as "hostiles," "savages" and "Red man." Early on, Algren refers to the Japanese as "Japs" and "Orientals."
  • Algren is rude to Omura when first meeting him.
  • Omura wants to crush Kasimoto and his forces at any cost (mainly for business fortune for himself).
  • Algren tells Bagley (his superior officer) that he gladly kill him for free.
  • Algren jokingly tells the silent samurai who trails him that he (the samurai) is angry because "they make you wear a dress" (just the traditional samurai garb).
  • Algren initially has a bad attitude toward Kasimoto and the others, but eventually changes that and fights beside them.
  • Japanese soldiers pick on a samurai, aim their guns at him, and then purposefully cut off part of the samurai's hair (to shame him).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers (including several beheadings).
  • Algren gives Graham a rather graphic description of the scalping process when the latter is enthusiastically curious about it.
  • To prove that the new Japanese Army is not ready to engage Kasimoto's forces, Algren picks out one soldier and tells the man to shoot him (knowing his aim is awful). The man won't, but Algren gets angrier and more forceful and then begins firing shots from his pistol all around the man, eventually prompting him to fire (and obviously miss Algren).
  • A samurai spits on Algren and then swings his sword at his neck, purposefully stopping just an inch or so short.
  • A man approaches Kasimoto from behind with a knife, but then leaves it for him to commit hara-kiri (he doesn't).
  • A samurai commits hara-kiri (we don't see the impact, but see his facial reaction from doing so).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Pistols/Rifles/Arrows/Swords/Spears/Cannons/Gatling guns: Used to attack, wound and kill many people. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see that Algren is the "famous" spokesperson for the Winchester gun company.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Sh*t-kick," "G*ddamn you," "Poor bastards," "You little bastard," "I don't give a damn," "Shove it up your ass," "Insolent swine," "What the hell am I doing here?" "Whores" (not women) and "Idiots."
  • All of the fighting, stunts and swordplay may be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Algren drinks from a flask and appears to be drunk. He then goes out and does a presentation with a rifle -- that includes shooting it over an audience that ducks in terror -- while inebriated.
  • A samurai spits on Algren and then swings his sword at his neck, purposefully stopping just an inch or so short.
  • A samurai commits hara-kiri (we don't see the impact, but see his facial reaction from doing so).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "s" word, 3 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 1 ass, 1 hell and 1 use each of "G-damn," "For Christ's sakes," "God," "Good God," "My God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A classic-style bust (statue) shows a bare breast.
  • SMOKING
  • Gant has a cigar, Omura a cigarette and some miscellaneous people smoke cigarettes and cigars in several scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Algren learns that he killed Taka's husband during battle, but she's mostly reserved and quiet about that (we also see her now fatherless children, but they don't react with much grief either).
  • A man must deal with his son's death (but doesn't have much time to grieve).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Different customs and cultures.
  • The samurai and their lifestyle.
  • Various people refer to American Indians of the mid 19th century as "hostiles," "savages" and "Red man." Early on, Algren refers to the Japanese as "Japs" and "Orientals."
  • The modernization of Japan following centuries of self-isolation.
  • Algren states that he was never a church-going man and that what he's seen on the battlefield has made him question God's purpose, but he then states that he finds the samurai village and lifestyle spiritual.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Through much of the first half of the film, we see various quick flashback images of a massacre that Algren participated in (under the orders of Bagley) where they attacked a peaceful Indian camp and killed women, children and others. At first, we see just images of a fire and children running, and then a brief flash of a gunshot, a little blood and a falling body (seen again). We then see an elongated flashback of the incident where kids and others are shot by Army men, with some blood squirting out and a wounded Indian with blood on their face.
  • To prove that the new Japanese Army is not ready to engage Kasimoto's forces, Algren picks out one soldier and tells the man to shoot him (knowing his aim is awful). The man won't, but Algren gets angrier and more forceful and then begins firing shots from his pistol all around the man, eventually prompting him to fire (and obviously miss Algren).
  • As Algren, Gant and their newly trained but not quite ready army wait in a foggy forest, they hear the sound of the samurai approaching on horseback. They then spot them in full battle gear, panic and open fire too soon, missing all of them. The samurai then sweep in and run over some of the men who do get off additional shots and take out some of the samurai. A full-scale battle then breaks out with Algren and Gant shooting various samurai who slice and impale Army men with swords and arrows, while Algren also slices various samurai. One man is speared (with some blood around the spear in his chest) and then fatally stabbed with a sword on the ground. Algren fights many attacking samurai, slicing, stabbing and throwing one from his horse, but is stabbed several times himself. He's eventually overpowered and outmanned, and a samurai prepares to behead him, but Algren blocks the blade. That man then kicks him down and prepares to stab him, but Algren gets him in the neck with a spear, killing him. Others then approach to kill Algren, but Kasimoto calls them off.
  • A defeated former samurai prepares to commit hara-kiri (stabbing himself in the gut) and we then see him do that (but the camera is behind his back, so we don't see the impact). Another samurai then raises his sword and decapitates him. We see the swinging of the sword, but the camera passes behind a tree at the point of impact. When it comes around the other side, we see the severed head on the ground, the crumpled body kneeling on the ground and some blood coming from it (briefly seen and from a distance).
  • We see another flashback to the Indian massacre, with some blood squirting out from an injured person.
  • We see some samurai training, including hand to hand combat (no one is hurt).
  • Ujio, who doesn't like Algren, spars with him with poles. He's clearly superior, hits Algren in the gut, then on his head, and knocks him to the ground. Algren keeps getting up, however, prompting Ujio to kick and knock him back to the ground where he hits him over the back with his pole. He then whacks him on the head again, leaving him injured on the ground.
  • Ujio hits Algren several times again with a pole during another round of sparring (and does so again).
  • Masked assassins arrive at the samurai camp and the first man killed has his neck broken. Another is hit by a crossbow arrow (with blood squirting out) and then a large-scale battle breaks out between the assassins and the samurai. Many people are sliced, stabbed, hit with arrows or otherwise struck with many resultant wounds and deaths. During that, one man has Algren's head over a blade and Taka's boy tries to come to his rescue. As another assassin goes after the boy, Algren tries to reach and finally grabs something that he stabs into his attacker's head and then throws a sword that impales the man (clear through him) after the boy. Some of that copious violence has bloody results and we see some blood on Kasimoto's blade, but not too much considering the quantity of such material.
  • Japanese soldiers pick on a samurai and aim their guns at him. Algren tries to intervene, but one soldier hits him with his rifle and many hold guns on both Algren and the samurai. One then purposefully cuts off part of the samurai's hair (to shame him) and one kicks Algren to the ground.
  • The order is given for some men to kill Algren if he goes near Kasimoto. Algren then sees these men and others who then surround him on a street. Algren then fights with them, slicing, hitting and kicking them with some blood splattering out. He then decapitates the last one (seen from behind him and the head doesn't fall off until the body hits the street).
  • Several soldiers are killed off camera and others then open fire on Algren, Kasimoto and others as they try to escape. Various samurai then shoot arrows into various soldiers, wounding or killing them. More keep arriving, however, and fire their rifles at the samurai who keep shooting arrows back at them. One samurai is then shot and wounded, rescued, and then left behind to allow the others to escape by killing more soldiers with arrows before being shot repeatedly and killed.
  • The Japanese army fires canons at the samurai but aimed short. They then adjust and fire again, with resultant explosions knocking some of the samurai about (presumably wounding or killing them). An army regiment then approaches and opens fire on the large samurai group and hits and wounds/kills many of them. A samurai then fires a flaming arrow that catches brush on fire, surrounding the army men and catching many of them on fire. Other samurai then launch a large volley of arrows at the soldiers, hitting many of them (including one going through a head). The samurai then rush the soldiers and a great deal of hand to hand fighting occurs (with slicing, stabbing, hitting, shooting, etc.), including Algren slicing an enemy vertically down his face (with bloody results). During this, Algren and Kasimoto are stabbed several times, but keep fighting, as do others and more are stabbed, shot, impaled and one's neck is broken (with additional bloody results).
  • Another large-scale battle breaks out between the army and the samurai. Canon fire and gunfire hit many of the samurai as they race toward the enemy on horseback, with some blood squirting out from some of the wounds.
  • Algren throws his sword through another man.
  • The army opens fire on the samurai with Gatling guns, mowing down most of them, with some bloody results.
  • A samurai commits hara-kiri (we don't see the impact, but see his facial reaction from doing so).



  • Reviewed November 19, 2003 / Posted December 5, 2003

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Collateral Beauty] [La La Land] [Manchester By The Sea] [Rogue One: A Star Wars Story]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2017 Screen It, Inc.