Overview and Wise Cracks
In the Mid- to Late- 1870s Japan decided it was time to join the modern world and opened its ports to Europe and America. Towns grew, people adopted western dress, and democratic ideas infiltrated modern life. One might suspect that it was all milk and honey for everybody on board. Unfortunately this was not the case, and the elite society of warriors known as the samurai protested greatly, so greatly that they were largely outlawed by the emperor.
Enter Edward Zwick and Tom Cruise. Mr. Zwick, the director of this film, tells the story of a modernizing and emerging Japan from the point of view of one samurai and his clan who stand in open defiance of all things new and technological. Senior Tom plays an American Army captain hired by Japanese government officials to train their largely conscript army in the use of firearms and modern warfare. The idea is that this "expert" military training will help them to put down a rebellion started by one disgruntled samurai, and in the course of their first battle Cruise is taken prisoner. His stay as guest of the rebel village culminates in his active involvement in the rebellion and in the final pivotal battle between modern government and archaic samurai forces.
Ratings and Rantings
This movie is very long and largely in depth, so I recommend fully that you make use of the History Channel’s History v. Hollywood documentary on the second special features DVD disk. Also, it would help not to drink lightly before starting this movie. On action, drama, and even comedy it delivers strongly and on people being butchered horrifically, well, it’s bloodier than The Four Feathers, that’s for damn sure. I recommend it to any one with a few hours to kill on a rainy day, or a Sunday you’d prefer to avoid church. Final rating: 6 out of 6.