With this film Ed Zwick creates his best film since Glory. This is a sweeping epic filled with grand battles and beautiful cinematography. My favorite moments weren't the giant set pieces, but the small intimate moments that Zwick creates. The real standout is Ken Watanabe, he delivers one of his best performances. However, a lot of the cultural and historical inaccuracies hinder this from being a truly great film.
Even if it's one of Tom Cruise's best film, but couldn't be considered as a good Japan film at all. Murica always minding other countries business. Tom Cruise is like the white guy in Pocahontas or Avatar, ends up making this film is just about white guys fighting each other with Japanese people and cultures as decorations of the set.
When I aim to overthrow a modernized regime armed with Howitzers and rifles, I'm definitely gonna run at them with swords. Yeah. That'll do the trick. Sadly, the historical truth isn't nearly as noble (read: insanely stupid), but then it doesn't have a sexy Hollywood actor, does it?
It's a great piece of entertainment, gorgeously photographed and really well directed. I also find that, despite the basic Hollywood concept of identification to your "enemies", there is a really interesting historical background, where we can witness the transition between two types of societies, two types of armies, and ultimately, two types of war. Really compelling and really cool epic.
Another reverse-captivity narrative written off (perhaps not unfairly) for its gross historical inaccuracies and the use of a white American protagonist (Jules Brunet, who inspired Algren, was French). "The Last Samurai" is nevertheless a beautifully shot, rousing epic, one I find all the more interesting for its marriage of cultures, wobbly though it may be. Inarguably some of Watanabe's most affecting work, too.