8:00 PM, 6th May, 2004
The Last Samurai promises spectacular battle scenes in this year's most fashionable epic style. Aside from that, any plot that can explain the presence of an aging war veteran and a comic nonce in 19th Century Japan must either be halfway decent or, at worst, laughable. However, despite this reviewer's rather obvious disdain, the movie is a contender for the best films of 2003 and has already been nominated for several awards. For sticklers who like to pretend that they are not going to see it merely for great battle scenes, I will now briefly elucidate the movie's premise. As Japan enters the twentieth century, the emperor seeks to modernise his country and his imperial guard of samurai, the task of which he assigns to an alcoholic war veteran Capt Woodrow (Cruise). Woodrow trains the samurai for the emperor and then takes them into battle against some rebellious samurai who do not want to defer from the honoured code. Of course he is wounded, captured and finds himself thinking deep thoughts about honour and morality.