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Thread: Just saw the last Samurai

  1. #31
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    Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
    The only other movie in recent memory (well, recent for an old guy -- 1986) that affected me as deeply was The Mission.
    Schindler's List for me. That last scene where Liam Keeley is walking to his car and he breaks down when he realizes its value could have been denominated in human lives. Phew!
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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    http://theaikidodojo.com/

  2. #32
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    I cried like a freakin' baby when the last stalwart band of Samurai got mowed down by the Gattling gun. Especially when the young Japanese army lieutenant started crying as he watched the massacre. The moment was just too laden with meaning. You know -- technology and minimal training vs. age-old skills and lifetime discipline; the end of a "noble" way of life; brave dudes with no hope of survival doing the "Thermopoli" than.

    Okay, so it was maudlin. It was hyperbole. It was... Hollywood.

    I still bawled like a moron at that short scene.

    The rest of the movie didn't give me any emotional rushes, though. The scene where Katsumoto's son is shot (multiple times, complete with big blood spurts) on the bridge, and is "dying," with blood hemoraghing out of his mouth and nose, and his father is giving him the tragic, soulful farewell. Then the kid gets up and strides onto the bridge (moments ago, his liver was practically lying in his lap) and finds that fruitful second wind. Yah. Right. I loved it. But it was too corny for tears.

    Tony,
    I agree that Watanabe way outclasses Cruise. The movie would have been fine without Tom, except as an excuse to have "Bob" around.
    Watanabe is a fine actor, while Cruise is still playing himself in various settings and getups. A lot of newspaper critics noted that at least he's getting better at playing himself, but he's still a one-note melody. Watanabe has much more depth and range. I liked the contrast between warrior mode and his participation in the village theatrical performance.

    Don,
    Shindler's List is a different league from "Samurai," IMO. I can't compare the two modes, since Shindler's List was an unadorned, true story -- in fact, toned down a lot so as not to totally overwhelm and devastate the audience. "Samurai" just isn't in that league or capable of stirring the same range of emotions - or depth of despair -as a story of out-and-out hatred and genocide.
    Cady Goldfield

  3. #33
    Kimpatsu Guest

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    Hi, Cady.
    You've nailed my point exactly; Cruise, like Keanu Reeves, only ever plays himself. One note repeated often does not a melody make. Watanabe really had some meat to his role.
    Merry Xmas/Yule/Hannukah.

  4. #34
    Steven Resell Guest

    Thumbs up

    All in all I give it thumbs up. I go to the movies to be entertained and definitely was. The film did not seem as long as the two and a half hours it actually was (that's always a good sign).

    BTW, I also have to give the thumbs up for Ken Watanabe.
    I also really liked Hiroyuki Sanada (Harry Sanada), the guy teaching Tom a "lesson" with a bokuto. Not much of a speaking part but I liked the "look". FWIW, I liked him in "Ringu" and he was apparently pretty good in "Twilight Samurai" (on my list to see).

  5. #35
    jeffbruner Guest

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    Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
    Okay, so it was maudlin. It was hyperbole. It was... Hollywood.
    Well, I just saw it last night. I couldn't get past the dilettante-ism. It was soooooo Hollywood. Blech. What a disappointment.

    Ultimately it was saddening to have what I have spent the last 30 years studying and applying to my life put on the screen by Hollywood producers who have only a romanticised surface knowlege of bushido. It was just so empty.

    Interestingly it was analagous to Katsumoto's own plight to convince the emperor of the necessity of maintaining a link with tradition and acknowleging the samurai lineage.

    Katsumoto's words fell on deaf ears. Just as the producers were deaf to the true essence of bushido.

    I guess I was expecting way too much. I was expecting Kurasowa. But that wouldn't be Hollywood......

    Just a judoka.

  6. #36
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    Default Saw it last weekend

    When I go to a movie, I go to see a movie. I don't try to analize it at the time. I don't try to fit it in to some catagory as to whether it's correctly done or not. I go to be entertained. And entertained I was. Even though Tom Cruise was in it. I won't say I loved it. But I'll probably buy it when released on DVD.
    Now for the analysis...
    Watanabe made the film. No doubt. He acted circles around Cruise.Even the silent samurai acted circles around Cruise. As for the ninja, the producers just gave the viewers what the viewers have come to expect from cinema ninja.
    C Parks

    "A man who will lie, there is no evil he will not do"

  7. #37
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    Originally posted by Cady Goldfield

    I agree that Watanabe way outclasses Cruise. The movie would have been fine without Tom, except as an excuse to have "Bob" around.
    Watanabe is a fine actor, while Cruise is still playing himself in various settings and getups. A lot of newspaper critics noted that at least he's getting better at playing himself, but he's still a one-note melody. Watanabe has much more depth and range. I liked the contrast between warrior mode and his participation in the village theatrical performance.
    How true this is. I thought he was a fine actor, perhaps, and some of you might even agree, he's a better actor than Tom. Is this the first film Wantanabe has been in, or has he been in other, non-American films I've never heard of yet?

    Jon
    Jonathan Wood

  8. #38
    Kimpatsu Guest

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    Originally posted by Chrono
    How true this is. I thought he was a fine actor, perhaps, and some of you might even agree, he's a better actor than Tom. Is this the first film Wantanabe has been in, or has he been in other, non-American films I've never heard of yet?
    Ken Watanabe is an old hand at acting; he's been in dozens of films in Japan. He also had a bout of leukemia, but seems to have made a full recovery. Certainly, he showed no signs of the illness in the Last Samurai, which after all was a strenuous role.
    HTH.

  9. #39
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    Default Kensaku Watanabe

    Originally posted by Chrono
    Is this the first film Wantanabe has been in, or has he been in other, non-American films I've never heard of yet?
    The Last Samurai and Tampopo are the only films he's been in that I have seen, but I know he is a well known actor in Japan.

    Here is a list of his roles, from the Internet Movie Database:

    Last Samurai, The (2003) .... Katsumoto

    T.R.Y. (2003) .... Masanobu Azuma

    Hi wa mata noboru (2002) .... Okubo

    Sennen no koi - hikaru genji monogatari (2002) .... Fujiwara Michinaga/Fujiwara Nobutaka
    ... aka Genji: A Thousand-Year Love (2002)

    "Hojo Tokimune" (2001) TV Series

    "Ikebukuro West Gate park" (2000) TV Series

    Supeesu toraberaazu (2000) .... Sakamaki ("Crusher")
    ... aka Space Travelers (2000)

    Oboreru sakana (2000) .... Miyota

    Kizuna (1998) .... Police Detective Sako

    Rajio no jikan (1997) .... Truck Driver
    ... aka Radio no jikan (1997)
    ... aka Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald (1997)

    Kimitachi ga ite boku ga iru (1992) (TV)

    Bakumatsu jyunjyoden (1991) .... Ryouma Sakamoto

    Umi to dokuyaku (1986) .... Toda
    ... aka Sea and Poison, The (1987) (USA)

    Tampopo (1985) .... Gun
    ... aka Dandelion (1985)

    Kekkon annai mystery (1985) .... Funayama Tetsuya/Masakazu Sekine

    Setouchi shonen yakyu dan (1984) .... Tetsuo
    ... aka MacArthur's Children (1984)

    Also, a brief bio:

    Both of Ken's parents were teachers. His mother taught general education and his dad taught calligraphy. He became interested in acting at the age of 24 when a director of England's National Theatre Company told him that acting was his special gift, when he studied there.

    Ken is mostly known in Japan for playing Samurai. He incorporates the Samurai's values in his daily life by not amassing to many material possessions and by living his life with honor, pride and discipline. "The Last Samurai" is his fourth film and he has also starred in roles as a gangster, a businessmen and a general.

    Ken is currently separated from his wife and has two children, an 18 year old daughter who is working as a model and one son who is 20 years old.
    I don't know why the bio says it's only his fourth film.
    Last edited by Brian Owens; 23rd December 2003 at 03:18.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  10. #40
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    Thanks Brian, I was just about to look for his filmography. Perhaps I should checkout a few of those films.

    Jon
    Jonathan Wood

  11. #41
    Steven Resell Guest

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    Mr. Wood,

    Although not a "samurai flick", I really recommend Tampopo with Ken Watanabe. He plays a supporting role but a good one nontheless.

    Steven

  12. #42
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    Originally posted by Steven Resell
    Mr. Wood,

    Although not a "samurai flick", I really recommend Tampopo with Ken Watanabe. He plays a supporting role but a good one nontheless.

    Steven
    Thanks for the recommendation Steven. By the way, where's the best place to go to get Japanese movies?

    Jon
    Jonathan Wood

  13. #43
    Kimpatsu Guest

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    Originally posted by Chrono
    By the way, where's the best place to go to get Japanese movies?
    Japan?
    Seriously, though, try Amazon for NTSC videos.

  14. #44
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    Originally posted by Chrono
    By the way, where's the best place to go to get Japanese movies?
    If you want to buy them, Amazon.com has a large selection.

    If you want to rent, it depends on where you live. Here in Seattle, with our large Japanese population, it's no problem. I couldn't say about where you live. Check the usual sources like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video for the more popular titles. Some will be dubbed in English, others will have subtitles.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  15. #45
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    Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
    Check the usual sources like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video for the more popular titles. Some will be dubbed in English, others will have subtitles.
    We have a Movie Gallery, but I've already searched them. They don't have a very good selection of general martial arts movies, let alone Japanese ones. I guess I'll have to get them from Amazon.

    Jon
    Jonathan Wood

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