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Thread: I saw it.

  1. #1
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    Default I saw it.

    Okay, I saw it.

    Like many of the people of have posted about this film in recent weeks, I'm not a big Tom Cruise fan.

    I also have a tendency to nit-pick technical details in movies that deal with topics about which I have some knowledge: aviation, military topics, martial arts, etc.

    But I set aside my prejudices and watched this film for what it was -- a drama, not a sword training film; an historical fiction, not a documentary...

    and I liked it.

    It's been a long time since I saw a movie where half the audience was occasionally choked-up and teary-eyed, some openly weeping. But they were here.

    The overall feel of the film was for me reminiscent of The Mission, Dances With Wolves, and Braveheart. The cinematography, costumes, and set design were first-rate. And as far as historical and technical accuracy, it was far ahead of Shogun, with which it is likely to be frequently compared.

    Was it a perfect film? Of course not.

    There were a few times that I winced, as the actors drew their swords in what would have been a potentially saya splitting exercise in bad angle/bad grip, where they slammed them back into the saya too fast and too hard, or where they banged and clanged their bokken and shinken into each other in a most un-kenjutsu-like manner. But I've seen a few Japanese chambara where the same or worse occurred.

    And this was, after all is said and done, a Tom Cruise vehicle. Much more of the action revolved around him than around the real protagonist of the story, Katsumoto -- the last samurai, played by Ken Watanabe. But then, no one has claimed it to be anything but a Tom Cruise vehicle, so I knew what I was getting.

    My overall opinion? See it. On the Big Screen. Don't wait for the video. Don't wait for it to hit the second run theaters. See it on opening day if you can. It's going to be the talk of the dojo for quite some time.
    Last edited by Brian Owens; 30th November 2003 at 10:43.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  2. #2
    Chiburi Guest

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    Thanks, I guess I'll go see it anyway. The name Tom Cruise in a samurai flick turned me off before, but maybe I shouldn't be this prejudiced.

    Cheers,

  3. #3
    Bustillo, A. Guest

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    Thanks Brian.

    I had been looking forward to seeing it all along and thought many on here were nit-picking it to death especially when they hadn't seen it.

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    Hello,

    Well I did not see the movie but I seen some type of program on Discovery channel last night I think it titled "MA extreme Martial arts" , It lasted about 4 hours it pretty cools. I took some big martail arts like Kung Fu, Wu Shu, and of course Karate. They put motion ball sensors on these people and showing moving in 3d with the bone sturture.. it was pretty cool. But anyway all the special Tom was talking about the movie and how he had to train to get his body and the low kameas(I think I splled that wrong)and he had to get the storke of the katana right.

    It was segment they showed of the movie when he kicked somebody while he was kicking he has his arm wrapped under somebody else arm, so he dropped from that he immediately when into an yoko nagare throw that was nice to see, but for training eight months he pulled it off.

    But alot my Japanese friend was to see the movie this Friday so well all going to see it, also Tom was talking about the ninja on another segement, how they attack some person on there.. but the same old thang.. but every else look nice.

    Just my two cents
    Julius McGee

  5. #5
    Bustillo, A. Guest

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    The Discovery Ch xtreme ma show? Hmm. I thought it was terrible.
    It was a mix of imitating ma moves, gymnastics, and circus clowns. The clown part they nailed.


    Cruise talking about his preparation for the movie, a little nauseating too. He reminded me of the Charlie's Angel trio on interviews actually thinking they had acquired some level of expertise. Nonetheless, the 'Last Samurai' movie , overall, looks good.

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    Antonio,

    I lasted a whole 1.5 hours. My first thought: Why can't these apparently rich-boys afford a shirt or jacket? If anyone approached me during competition and took off his jacket to perform -- I'd disqualify him immediately. I almost puked when the "baton twirler-boy" was flipping his Marto sword around -- (and he was the "World Weapons Champion" 6 times or so???)

    I've seen Drum Majors toss their mace during pipe band competitions -- and it is cool. But twirling a sword up in the air? Akkkkk!

    Anyhow -- I thought the Tom Cruise bits were the high point of that silly "XMA" thing, and wished I could see more of Tom -- at least he kept his shirt on. Err ... I could do less with the mandatory "kashinngggggg" sound during batto -- you know, that sound that metal makes against metal (I've never heard that sound coming from my katana).

    About that cursed "Hollywood" high kick while fighting with swords (ukkk -- go for the shins, Tom!): An acquaintance I know has a sister who worked on the set in Japan. According to the sister, the action coordinators had to leave in some "dumb stuff" to appeal to the majority of the audience who are vastly ignorant of budo. But, the coordinators -- being well-known jidai-gekki actors -- flatly refused other idiotic stuff to be filmed. (Hopefully there's no "stupid" and inaccurate nude bathing scene a'la "Shogun".) The acquaintance and her sister attended the Official Japan Opening about 10 days ago -- Tom waved at them, much to the chagrin of the others sitting in assigned seats.

    Gee -- I'm actually anticipating this movie! And the archery scenes looked great -- what does our resident Kyudo expert say .... Earl!! Wake up!! Hey, I'm talking about YOU. How was their archery?

    Cheers,
    Guy
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by ghp
    ...Hopefully there's no "stupid" and inaccurate nude bathing scene a'la "Shogun"...
    See! I told you it'd be compared with Shogun!
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Guy:

    "Inaccurate" nude bathing scene? Elaborate, please. Even if it is inaccurate, I want one (not with Cooze in it, of course, just the babe will do nicely, thank you).

    Haven't seen anything but the trailer for TLS, and even though I'm sure it's going to be pretty stupid, I will be seeing it, as I have already stated, primarily for the Samurai Fu. The armor and sets look good.

    I have heard that archery figures prominently in the film, so I really have to see it for professional reasons, so to speak.

    The only thing I can say is that I was contacted by a casting agent looking for a Japanese guy to be an archer in the film. One of our guys (4th degree; that is, he knows his stuff) from Seattle applied (sent in his resume and photo and stuff), but he was not selected. Judging from their website, it looks like they got some actor who is trained in other "martial arts" and "studied" kyudo just for the film. So, I'm not too hopeful.

    Re: the coolest depiction of kyujutsu in a Japanese film (I speak, of course, of the climactic battle in The Seven Samurai, where Shimura Takashi picks off a couple of the nobushi in the pouring rain)

    Not accurate.

    He uses the top down draw (shoumen uchiokoshi) rather than the bottom-up oblique side draw (shamen uchiokoshi), he allows the bow to spin in his hand (yugaeri), and his release is too big.

    Foot soldiers always used the shamen uchiokoshi (safer, since your side is not exposed), and, according to the Satsuma Heki Ryu people, the bow was never allowed to spin, since recovering from the yugaeri took too long, and at close distance, a smaller release (not allowing the arm to extend too far to the rear) was used, again, since recovering from a big release took too long. The big release was used for shootng at long distances (barrage shooting) where casting the arrow the greatest distance was the main objective. The release for close-distance shooting was very short and sharp.

    Still looks cool, though.

    There is also a short, halfway decent scene of Nakadai Tatsuya doing kyujutsu in the film Seppuku.

    Speaking of this sort of thing, are you planning on seeing Timeline, where these guys time travel back to 14th century England to rescue somebody? Looks like the swords and armor look OK.

    Of course, I'm just counting the days unitl The Return of the King comes to town.
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 2nd December 2003 at 02:51.
    Earl Hartman

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    I've seen Drum Majors toss their mace during pipe band competitions -- and it is cool. But twirling a sword up in the air? Akkkkk!
    A little off topic and no disrespect intended, but the mace was
    a weapon of war at one time, now reduced to marching bands and
    Highland gatherings. I'd hate to see the same thing happen to
    the katana.

    Peace
    Ray Baldonade
    Chibana-ha Shorin-ryu

    "Love many, trust few and do wrong to none". Chan Yau-man

  10. #10
    Bustillo, A. Guest

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    Originally posted by ghp
    Antonio,

    I lasted a whole 1.5 hours. My first thought: Why can't these apparently rich-boys afford a shirt or jacket? If anyone approached me during competition and took off his jacket to perform -- I'd disqualify him immediately. I almost puked when the "baton twirler-boy" was flipping his Marto sword around -- (and he was the "World Weapons Champion" 6 times or so???)...

    Anyhow -- I thought the Tom Cruise bits were the high point of that silly "XMA" thing, and wished I could see more of Tom....

    About that cursed "Hollywood" high kick while fighting with swords (ukkk -- go for the shins, Tom!): An acquaintance I know has a sister who worked on the set in Japan. According to the sister, the action coordinators had to leave in some "dumb stuff" to appeal to the majority of the audience who are vastly ignorant of budo. But, the coordinators -- being well-known jidai-gekki actors -- flatly refused other idiotic stuff to be filmed.

    Cheers,
    Guy

    Guy,

    The no -shirt, I had forgotten about that and had thought the same. The out of his mouth water spray before kata, it was just downright disgusting.

    And Tom, yes the film clips and behind the scenes info were the best part.

    As to the dumb-stuff in the film, that is to be expected. Of course we'd like it to be 100% accurate in every detail, but as long as it's not too far off the wall and the overall content is good ...hey i'll give it a thumbs up. We'll see?

    Even so, good for them the ones who refused to do the ridiculous.



    Here is a link to let the Discovery Ch know waht we thought of the xtremee ma show.

    http://extweb.discovery.com/viewerrelations

  11. #11
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    Default Nakadai Tatsuya

    Originally posted by Earl Hartman
    Guy:
    ...

    There is also a short, halfway decent scene of Nakadai Tatsuya doing kyujutsu in the film Seppuku.

    ...
    Does anybody know if he was a martial artist or did he just do stage fencing. I like The Sword of Doom. I get this urge to play kendo from Gedan no Kamae after I see it.
    Ed Boyd

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    Actually, I met Nakadai once a number of years (maybe a decade or more by now) ago.

    He was the Grand marshal for the SF Cherry Blossom Festival parade, and in his honor they had a special showing of Seppuku. Afterwards, he took questions from the audience with Audie Bock, with whom I was somewhat acquainted, acting as his interpreter. Afterwards, he sat at a desk and autographed peoples' programs. Again, Audie acted as his interpreter.

    I strategically hovered around until Audie had to take the inevitable rest break, at which point, seeing my opening, I immdiately and shamelessly took over for her as Nakadai's interpreter without asking anyone's permission. (It was either observe proper manners or suck up to one of my idols, so there was never really any doubt about whay I would do, of course.)

    I found Mr. Nakadai to be a very refined and cultured gentleman, very well-spoken, with impeccable manners and an accomodating manner. In spite of the fact that he was probably bored out of his skull, having done this sort of thing hundreds of times, he was unfailingly polite and graciously answered everyone's questions.

    Anyway, he asked about me and why I spoke Japanese so well, etc., and I explained that I had spent a number of years in Japan practicing kendo, iai, and kyudo. He made a big show of feigning fear and hid behind his wife, protesting that he, as an actor, just played around on film but that I was really trained in budo. It was very funny, and very self-effacing. I don't know any actors or movie stars, but he really seemed like a genuinely nice man.

    Anyway, he apparently has no real training in swordsmanship at all.

    Needless to say, I had an absolute field day when I saw my friends, all of whom were rabid Sword of Doom fans, and mentioned, nonchalantly,

    "Oh, do you know who I met the other day?"

    (General commotion, fainting, exclamations, jostling for position. In short, panedmonium)

    "What sort of a person is he? Well, a really nice fellow. Quite polite."

    I dined out on that for weeks.
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 2nd December 2003 at 19:38.
    Earl Hartman

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    Ed Boyd

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