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burp
4th December 2003, 01:32
Howdy,

Anyone see the 10 minute long "The Last Samurai" promotion on the Independent Film Channel yesterday during the showing of Miyamoto Musashi (Samurai 1,2,3)?

I finally turned the channel waiting for part 3 of Miyamoto Musashi. I couldn't stand listening to Tom Cruise and the Director(?) praise and critique each other on ... how perfectly Japanese the movie was, how perfect each other was on the work done, how they accurately depicted the period, how Tom Cruise mastered a particular sword "style", etc. etc. Ad infinitum. Gag. I couldn't wait for Samurai 3 to start up. I just couldn't get over Tom Cruise's and the Director's "expert" analysis of everything bushido and period Japanese.

One person who will not be seeing The Last Samurai is me. BTW, who is the last samurai in the movie supposed to be? Tom Cruise's caracter?

For an entertaining Japanese culture type movie, I will be watching Lost in the Translation again. At least there you can just sit and watch many cultural things unfold before you and the actors.

Enjoy!

mikehansen

ghp
4th December 2003, 02:38
who is the last samurai in the movie supposed to be? Tom Cruise's caracter? From what I was told, it is Watanabe Ken's character.

--Guy

Chrono
4th December 2003, 06:37
I saw a documentary of the samurai on National Geographic just last night and it told mostly about Musashi. I thought it was pretty good. After that they showed another show about geisha. I didn't watch that but I taped them both.

Jon

David T Anderson
4th December 2003, 16:16
Originally posted by ghp
From what I was told, it is Watanabe Ken's character.



It could refer to either Watanabe or Cruise's character...or it could refer to all the Samurai in the story collectively. This may be the closest thing to subtlety in the entire film...

burp
4th December 2003, 18:07
Howdy!

Thanks for the replies. Pleased it is not Tom Cruise.

Just questioned, since every movie poster or advertisement shows Tom Cruise's face between the large typeprint of "The Last Samurai". I've probably been overeacting ... after all it is a Hollywood movie, Tom Cruise is the leading man and selling point.

Anywho ...

mikehansen

burp
4th December 2003, 18:15
BTW in the promo they kept referring to the "style" of swordsmanship that Tom Cruise practiced intently in preparation for the role, but they never did say what it was?

All things aside on whether he actually did much or not, would anyone venture to say what style this is supposed to be?

Enjoy!

mikehansen

Shitoryu Dude
4th December 2003, 20:19
Last I heard it was a non-specified style of Iaido. The training sequences with boken in the movie was fun to watch, and very brutal. Nobody was pulling their blows and people were getting the snot knocked out of them.

What I found unbelivable was Cruise's character so quickly understanding and absorbing such concepts as "no mind" and becoming a butt kicker with the katana over the course of just a few months.

:beer:

David T Anderson
4th December 2003, 22:21
Originally posted by Shitoryu Dude
Last I heard it was a non-specified style of Iaido. The training sequences with boken in the movie was fun to watch, and very brutal. Nobody was pulling their blows and people were getting the snot knocked out of them.

What I found unbelivable was Cruise's character so quickly understanding and absorbing such concepts as "no mind" and becoming a butt kicker with the katana over the course of just a few months.



Agreed, although that beating with a bokken he took should have left him with broken bones and a concussion. Everybody in this film was able to suck up an incredible amount of punishment...

If Algren has spent 5 years in the samurai village, I would have found it all more credible...

Shitoryu Dude
5th December 2003, 00:14
I was trying to explain to my wife that the beatings he took would have killed him. You don't get up after that sort of punishment, no matter how "tough" and determined you are. Sticks are considered lethal weapons in their own right, and just about everybody instinctively knows that, but movies have their own reality.

Still, they were well choreographed and had the realistic tone of being short and violent. None of that Highlander or Star Wars crap of long extended swordfights - it gets over in a real hurry.

Regardless of what the reviewers say, the real star was Ken Watanabe. I found his character far more interesting and convincing. I still think that Bob the Samurai is my favorite. That old guy was still kicking butt and not taking any crap.

:beer:

Daniel san
5th December 2003, 18:35
Hello,
I read somewhere that they invented a special effects technique for this film. It involves making say an arm from the inside out. This fake arm can then be cut at any point with a real sword. Thus, you end up with a visible cross section from marrow to skin. Did I dream this?

dan keup
6th December 2003, 00:12
You gotta love Bob the badass.

Nyuck3X
6th December 2003, 00:26
I'm not a big Cruise fan. I haven't liked a film
of his since Top Gun was first released. All of them
seem to be the same theme, an angry young man in a car,
an angry young man behing a bar, an angry young man
on a secret mission. They all kinda blended together.
I wasn't sure about this one but I thought I'd check
it out anyways. I figured I'd see some good acting
from the rest of the cast.

I don't profess to knowing much about swordmanship and
granted, much of it was theatrical, it was fun. Those of
you wanting to see some real fighting might be dissapointed
but expecting Cruise to handle a sword like a true Budoka
is like expecting Stallone to be a real boxer, Clint Eastwood
to be a real gun fighter or Bush Jr. to fly his own plane
(Sorry for the political dig).

The movie was entertaining. Kinda like Braveheart meets
Dances with Wolves and Shogun all combined.


I was trying to explain to my wife that the beatings he took would have killed him. You don't get up after that sort of punishment, no matter how "tough" and determined you are. Sticks are considered lethal weapons in their own right, and just about everybody instinctively knows that, but movies have their own reality.
I brought my wife to the attention that when they spoke about
the bokken(?), they referred to them as swords and not just sticks
because they can be just as lethal.

Good one to see on the big screen.
Peace.

ChrisMoon
6th December 2003, 06:36
Originally posted by Nyuck3X
or Bush Jr. to fly his own plane
(Sorry for the political dig).



Bush Jr. was a qualified F-102 fighter pilot. He was still flying in them until the late 80s or even early 90s.

Daniel san
6th December 2003, 07:37
Originally posted by Daniel san
Hello,
I read somewhere that they invented a special effects technique for this film. It involves making say an arm from the inside out. This fake arm can then be cut at any point with a real sword. Thus, you end up with a visible cross section from marrow to skin. Did I dream this?
Answered my own question. There was very little gore. Even less that was anatomicly correct.

Brian Owens
6th December 2003, 12:27
Originally posted by Shitoryu Dude
What I found unbelivable was Cruise's character so quickly understanding and absorbing such concepts as "no mind" and becoming a butt kicker with the katana over the course of just a few months.
Well, remember that in the story Algren was already a veteran of the Civil War and numerous Indian Campaigns, he was an accomplished sabre and bayonet fighter, etc. He was already a warrior, just from a different "ryu."

And...

It's a movie, not a training film! :p

Brian Owens
6th December 2003, 12:29
Originally posted by Daniel san
I read somewhere that they invented a special effects technique for this film. It involves making say an arm from the inside out. This fake arm can then be cut at any point with a real sword. Thus, you end up with a visible cross section from marrow to skin. Did I dream this?
I heard about that, too.

If they used it, that scene must have ended on the cutting room floor.

don
6th December 2003, 19:52
Originally posted by ChrisMoon
Bush Jr. was a qualified F-102 fighter pilot. He was still flying in them until the late 80s or even early 90s.

Yeah. An entering score of 25, the absolute lowest possible for admission, and he gets into the Guard ahead of 100,000 other applicants (during the Vietnam draft.) Ugh.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375757147/qid=1070736905//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i0_xgl14/002-3970841-8898454?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

don
6th December 2003, 19:55
Originally posted by Nyuck3X
I brought my wife to the attention that when they spoke about
the bokken(?), they referred to them as swords and not just sticks
because they can be just as lethal.

I noticed that. Ujio tells Cruise to put down his "KATANA" when he's holding a BOKKEN. I thought it was a typical Hollywood infelicity (less egregious than the spinning back kicks during swordplay, actually.)

don
6th December 2003, 19:57
Originally posted by David T Anderson
It could refer to either Watanabe or Cruise's character...or it could refer to all the Samurai in the story collectively. This may be the closest thing to subtlety in the entire film...

The story was so close to history, I wonder why they didn't just use the real names. I don't know that history all that well, but Katsumoto would be Saigo Takamori. I wonder who they meant Omura to be--Katsu Kaishu? (Not a very flattering portrayal of one of Japan's saviors, if so...)

Sherman Chow
6th December 2003, 21:11
Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
Well, remember that in the story Algren was already a veteran of the Civil War and numerous Indian Campaigns, he was an accomplished sabre and bayonet fighter, etc. He was already a warrior, just from a different "ryu."


Also, it's not like Algren was training like 3x or 4x week like some of us do.
He was "training" every day for a few months and probably with more "intent" than most of us as well. Not entirely unbelivable that he reached such a level of proficiency.

But, I agree about those bokken hits. Oh damn, time to get fixed up by the pretty lady again!

It was enjoyable to say the least.

Earl Hartman
7th December 2003, 03:23
Ummmmm.....spinning back kicks?

Brian Owens
7th December 2003, 09:47
Originally posted by don
I noticed that. Ujio tells Cruise to put down his "KATANA" when he's holding a BOKKEN. I thought it was a typical Hollywood infelicity.
My old sensei, when speaking about a specific type of sword or weapon, would use specific terms like bokken, iaito, tachi, katana, wakazashi, etc.

But during training he would always use the term katana, no matter what we were using at the time. Bokken, Iaito, Shinken -- all were "Katana" during keiko. He told us to always think of the bokken as a sword, and to respect it as such.

His sensei, during a seminar I attended, did exactly the same thing, and he was a VERY traditional older Japanese gentleman.

edg176
7th December 2003, 09:55
Recently documentation has come to light concerning the mysterious origin of the spinning back kick.

Originally, the spinning back kick was used by certain Native American tribes to stun buffalo. Native American warriors would prove their bravery by sneaking up on unwitting buffalo and striking hard against the jaw with a spinning back kick.

American soldiers on the frontier, in awe of the mystical and noble Native American warriors learned the spinning back kick technique. American advisors to the early Imperial forces brought the spinning back kick to Japan, where they used the unconventional low-percentage technique to surprise the exponents of several traditional Japanese ryu.

As the Japanese were (and are) quick to adopt effective foreign practices, several ryy adopted the spinning back kick. However, due to the decisive and devastating effect of the technique, the headmasters chose to teach it only as okuden, which means that only a few, dedicated students could learn it. This explains the lack of documentation (until now) of the koryu spinning back kick. Absensce, as Donald Rumsfeld so eloquently explained, is proof of existence.

Of course, these students could not reveal their spinning back kick knowledge without dishonoring themselves, which would of course require performance of hara-kiri (known vulgarly as "sepuku"). This unfortunately led to several taryu-jiai victories where the winner (by spinning back kick to the jaw of course) had to commit hara-kiri for revealing the secret technique.

Eventually, one disciple initiated into the secrets of the spinning back kick made his way to Korea. Although he lost his menkyo kaiden and other documentation at a train station, no one could take away the feared spinning back kick of doom. Today, while the spinning back kick is known as a specialty of the Korean practitioners, its true origin among the Native Americans and journey to Japan has come to light. My teacher told me so, and he is never wrong.

Brian Owens
7th December 2003, 09:56
Originally posted by Shitoryu Dude
I was trying to explain to my wife that the beatings he took would have killed him. You don't get up after that sort of punishment, no matter how "tough" and determined you are. Sticks are considered lethal weapons in their own right, and just about everybody instinctively knows that, but movies have their own reality.
One of my impressions of the bokken (or jo, hanbo, etc.) is that you can wield it with a wide range of "intents" -- from non-contact and light contact in the dojo, to giving someone a real thumping to "teach them a lesson," to killing them if need be -- and everything in between.

Unless one were on the giving or receiving end, rather than observing from the sidelines, it would be difficult to know what "that sort of punishment" was.

Brian Owens
7th December 2003, 10:08
Originally posted by don
The story was so close to history, I wonder why they didn't just use the real names. I don't know that history all that well, but Katsumoto would be Saigo Takamori. I wonder who they meant Omura to be--Katsu Kaishu? (Not a very flattering portrayal of one of Japan's saviors, if so...)
I've seen the same thing in other Japanese and Japanese/American films.

In Shogun you had Toranaga instead of Tokugawa, and John Blackthorn instead of Will Adams.

In Sanjuro Sugata the Judo master was Professor Yano instead of Professor Kano.

I don't know if it's a Japanese thing about using the names of dead people, or if it's just so no one can come back and say "That's not the way it really happened!"

Of course, in this film if they changed Katsumoto to Takamori they would have had to change the Algren character from an American to a Frenchman. The way they shot it was better marketing, considering the size of the American movie audience.

They did the same thing in Master & Commander, only in reverse. In the movie Russel Crowe is chasing a French ship. In the book it was an American ship.

I guess a little creative license isn't going to kill a movie. I really liked all the above named films quite well.

don
7th December 2003, 19:14
Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
My old sensei....during training he would always use the term katana, no matter what we were using at the time....His sensei, during a seminar I attended, did exactly the same thing, and he was a VERY traditional older Japanese gentleman.

Thanks for the clarification.

TommyK
8th December 2003, 00:09
Greetings,

I saw the flick with my brother, a person who has never studied history or the martial arts. He is an artist, and he found the tale very enjoyable. I found it, on a movie-goers level, entertaining. Thats what it is supposed to be. I gave it 3 stars out of 4.

However, on a historical note, there were several cultural and factual errors, ranging from the depiction of the Emperor in front of 'gaijin', to the comportment of a 'gaijin' in the presence of a daimyo, especially after his 'friendship' is displayed. I am sure that many historically trained in the culture and period depicted could and will list the gaffs they find in the film.

By the way if I remember Japanese History 101, the rebellion was hosted by Samurai from the most Southern of the Home Islands and thus unlikely to be shut in by snow, for the winter. However, maybe I am mistaken, as that course was taken about 30 years ago.

In terms of the arts I am not an adherent of the sword, but I found the ability of the good captain 'taking out' trained Ninja and even Samurai unbeliveable after training for a few short months. Despite his experience in both the American War Between the States and the Frontier Campaigns, his calvary saber techniques, would be inferior to the sword of a trained Samurai. This is because both his training time with the sword would be minute compared to the Samurai, and his tactics would be oriented more toward western methods, and his expertise would certainly be more with the pistol.

On a less serious note, please be aware that the French officer Cruise's character was based on got his spinning back kick from the time he was military liaison to the Koreans (tongue in cheek). Doesn't anyone remember the impact of Chuck Norris's spinning back kick on the full contact ciruit in the late 60's and very early 70's?
That kick was handed down from the Koreans to every military serviceman who ever served in Korea, no matter the era! This is the proof of where it came from (lol)

Regards,
TommyK

stevemcgee99
8th December 2003, 13:47
I talked to one of the actors for a bit about some of the thinking the movie makers had, that the us military training would have prepared cruz character to fight with a sword. That is totally unlikely, I agree that pistol training would have been the brunt of training. Pistol and saber together, perhaps.
How much sword v. sword training, too?

I am looking forward to seein gthe flick, the japanese I know who have seen it are all pleased- by the way, it is REALLY big here.

ChrisMoon
8th December 2003, 18:37
Originally posted by don
Yeah. An entering score of 25, the absolute lowest possible for admission, and he gets into the Guard ahead of 100,000 other applicants (during the Vietnam draft.) Ugh.



Q. What do you call a qualified F-102 fighter with an entering score of 25 and that got into the guard ahead of 100,000 apllicants?


A. A qualified F-102 fighter pilot.

Please, George W. Bush is not the first, the last, or the only person to ever benefit from who he was or who he knew. That is life, get over it. It could be worse, he could have been some scumbag that ran off to school in England.

CEB
8th December 2003, 19:08
Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
My old sensei, when speaking about a specific type of sword or weapon, would use specific terms like bokken, iaito, tachi, katana, wakazashi, etc.

But during training he would always use the term katana, no matter what we were using at the time. Bokken, Iaito, Shinken -- all were "Katana" during keiko. He told us to always think of the bokken as a sword, and to respect it as such.

His sensei, during a seminar I attended, did exactly the same thing, and he was a VERY traditional older Japanese gentleman.

In class when we are running late and or lose track of time and it is time to quit. Sensei will tell us to get Bokken for the closing ceremony. When we bow to the weapon it is always katana whether we are using a katana, or bokken. I've wondered about this.

don
8th December 2003, 21:13
Originally posted by TommyK In terms of the arts I am not an adherent of the sword, but I found the ability of the good captain 'taking out' trained Ninja and even Samurai unbeliveable after training for a few short months. Despite his experience in both the American War Between the States and the Frontier Campaigns, his calvary saber techniques, would be inferior to the sword of a trained Samurai. This is because both his training time with the sword would be minute compared to the Samurai, and his tactics would be oriented more toward western methods, and his expertise would certainly be more with the pistol.

I'm no expert here, but I disagree for two reasons.

1) Battlefield experience counts more than time doing kata. From FAMOUS BUDOKA OF JAPAN: SEKIUN HARIGAYA FOUNDER OF MUJUSHIN KENJUTSU
by Yoshinori Kono,Aikido Journal #114

http://www.aikidojournal.com/new/article.asp?ArticleID=294

"Bushi during the Sengoku (warring states) period were constantly on the battlefield, and more of them learned their skills through actual combat experience than by learning the hiden or gokui (secrets and inner teachings) of the various styles and traditions as they do today. In any case, during that time of constant fighting, people had precious little time to learn kenjutsu and the like, and even if they did, they very rarely found it of immediate use on the battlefield; most fought simply relying on luck and their own determination to survive."

There is a study which investigated how long it took to attain MENKYO KAIDEN (license of full transmission of the art) and it found that the time it took was halved for individuals who had been in battle. I'm sorry, but I can't find where I read that.

2) The invincible samurai is more wishful thinking than history. The Mongols walked all over them, and after a slow beginning, the Koreans gave them a hard time when Hideyoshi invaded. When Britain destroyed a coastal town, their landing parties manhandled the vaunted Bushi sword to sword, too. (Iíve read about this in two sources. One is Choshu in the Meiji Restoration by Craig. I think the other source was the historical novel Ryoma by Hillsborough, but Iím not sure.)

Bull_in_chinash
8th December 2003, 22:28
Originally, the spinning back kick was used by certain Native American tribes to stun buffalo. Native American warriors would prove their bravery by sneaking up on unwitting buffalo and striking hard against the jaw with a spinning back kick.

LMAO!!!!!

that was hilarious! the mental image was classic!

+1 !

Rough Rider
8th December 2003, 23:19
Yeah. An entering score of 25, the absolute lowest possible for admission, and he gets into the Guard ahead of 100,000 other applicants (during the Vietnam draft.) Ugh.

Under this analysis, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. should have been President during WWII, since his WWI career was much more distinguished than his cousin's (FDR). Wounded twice, gassed, finished the War as the Col. of 26th Infantry Regiment(Blue Spaders). Life is unfair, don't expect anything associated with it to be fair.

Cruise's character is what was known in the Old West as a "killing gentleman." The hardest thing to train is the mindset. He obviously had "it" in spades before he went to Japan. There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous persons.

Without trying to be a spoiler, does the ending of the movie implicate Hirohito as a war criminal?

Brian Owens
8th December 2003, 23:42
Originally posted by Rough Rider
Without trying to be a spoiler, does the ending of the movie implicate Hirohito as a war criminal?
Obviously, since this movie takes place in the late 1800s during the reign of the Meiji Emperor, the Showa Emperor isn't even considered.

What is the real point of your post, Mr. Roosevelt?

Earl Hartman
9th December 2003, 01:55
DNFTT

Rough Rider
9th December 2003, 15:04
YK,
According to the story, Emporor Meiji had authority to over rule his privy council and was not merely a constitutional monarch. After WWII Hirohito was portrayed as a constitutional monarch without any real power to effect the course of events that led up to Japan's participation in the war, or the conduct of its government and armed forces during the war. That is the only point I was trying to make.

The dichotomy between the actual and perceived power of the Japanese Emporor is discussed in more detail here (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/iaps/tomlinson.htm). So, to paraphrase the show, was it History or Hollywood?

shinbushi
9th December 2003, 21:20
Any doccumentation of this?


Originally posted by edg176
Recently documentation has come to light concerning the mysterious origin of the spinning back kick.

Originally, the spinning back kick was used by certain Native American tribes to stun buffalo. Native American warriors would prove their bravery by sneaking up on unwitting buffalo and striking hard against the jaw with a spinning back kick.

American soldiers on the frontier, in awe of the mystical and noble Native American warriors learned the spinning back kick technique. American advisors to the early Imperial forces brought the spinning back kick to Japan, where they used the unconventional low-percentage technique to surprise the exponents of several traditional Japanese ryu.

As the Japanese were (and are) quick to adopt effective foreign practices, several ryy adopted the spinning back kick. However, due to the decisive and devastating effect of the technique, the headmasters chose to teach it only as okuden, which means that only a few, dedicated students could learn it. This explains the lack of documentation (until now) of the koryu spinning back kick. Absensce, as Donald Rumsfeld so eloquently explained, is proof of existence.

Of course, these students could not reveal their spinning back kick knowledge without dishonoring themselves, which would of course require performance of hara-kiri (known vulgarly as "sepuku"). This unfortunately led to several taryu-jiai victories where the winner (by spinning back kick to the jaw of course) had to commit hara-kiri for revealing the secret technique.

Eventually, one disciple initiated into the secrets of the spinning back kick made his way to Korea. Although he lost his menkyo kaiden and other documentation at a train station, no one could take away the feared spinning back kick of doom. Today, while the spinning back kick is known as a specialty of the Korean practitioners, its true origin among the Native Americans and journey to Japan has come to light. My teacher told me so, and he is never wrong.

don
10th December 2003, 02:23
Originally posted by Earl Hartman
DNFTT

Sorry. I looked this up on three internet acronym sites and I still don't know what it means.

DNFTT?

Earl Hartman
10th December 2003, 03:06
Do Not Feed The Troll

Brian Owens
10th December 2003, 06:16
Originally posted by shinbushi
Any doccumentation of this?
Yes. Look it up under "farce" in the "Dictionary of Offbeat Humor." :D

Brian Owens
10th December 2003, 07:25
Attachment problem. Will try again below.

Brian Owens
10th December 2003, 07:38
Originally posted by burp
...Just questioned, since every movie poster or advertisement shows Tom Cruise's face between the large typeprint of "The Last Samurai"...
I found this for you. ;)

Troy McClure
12th December 2003, 00:31
There's a poster I'll buy. Good photo.

Brian Owens
12th December 2003, 07:25
Originally posted by Troy McClure
There's a poster I'll buy. Good photo.
The original has "TOM CRUISE" written in large type at the top of the poster.

I airbrushed it out of the image. Sorry if I confused/disappointed anyone.