The Last Samurai (2003) Blu-ray Review

Over the last few months I’ve been taking a look at some of Tom Cruise’s films that are currently available on Blu-ray, the one I’m reviewing here is one of my favourites.  The Last Samurai tells the tale of the last days of the Samurai as the modern world clashes with tradition.  The film came out in 2003 and received mixed reviews from the critics but seemed to go down well with moviegoers around the world and is talked about with high regard.  So without further ado here’s my The Last Samurai Blu-ray Review.

  • The Last Samurai Blu-ray Review (2003)
  • Genre: Action, Drama
  • Running Time: 148 Mins
  • UK Rating 15
  • Released By Warner Bros
  • Blu-ray Released:
Plot

The Last Samurai is the story of the demise of Japan’s most respected and feared group of warriors.  The year is 1896 and former US Army Captain Nathan Algren is hired to train the newly formed Japanese army in the art of modern warfare using rifles instead of swords.

The ultimate role for the new army is to crush and destroy the samurai’s led by Lord Moritsugu Katsumoto whom refuses to accept the change.

The Last Samurai Blu-ray Review (2003)

Style / Direction

The film is directed by Edward Zwick with the cinematography side of things handled by John Toll.  I have to admit the cinematography in The Last Samurai is simply breathtaking with some beautiful landscapes and vistas.  It must have been a dream come true for both director and director of photography to shoot.

The pacing of the film is perfect switching between epic battle sequences to the slower paced story setting scenes.  Never once did I check the time as I found myself completely caught up in this epic story.  Make no mistake The Last Samurai is a masterpiece in filmmaking.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is by Hans Zimmer and provides a suitably action and drama score that has Japanese influences throughout.  I was unaware who was responsible for the score whilst watching The Last Samurai but the thought occurred that it must be Hans Zimmer as it has a sort of Gladiator vibe but with a distinct Japanese flavour.

The music perfectly matches the epic battle scenes whilst also managing to convey the drama and plight that sees the end of the Samurai era.

Acting / Characters

Let me start off by saying the acting performances all-round are top notch with Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe being particularly excellent.

Tom Cruise plays Captain Nathan Algren an American war hero who is offered a role in training the new Japanese army but ultimately finds himself conflicted with trying to destroy the samurai’s way of life.

Ken Watanabe plays Lord Moritsugu Katsumoto the leader of the samurai’s, he is a proud and honourable man that finds himself wanting to learn from the American Captain.

In fact it’s the relationship between these two adversaries that makes the film so powerful.

Cast
  • Tom Cruise as Cpt. Nathan Algren
  • Ken Watanabe as Lord Moritsugu Katsumoto
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Ujio
  • Shin Koyamada as Nobutada
  • Tony Goldwyn as Col. Bagley
  • Masato Harada as Omura
  • Shichinosuke Nakamura as Emperor Meiji
  • Timothy Spall as Simon Graham
  • Koyuki as Taka
  • Seizo Fukumoto as the Silent Samurai “Bob”
  • Billy Connolly as Sergeant Zebulon Gant
Conclusion – The Last Samurai Review

When The Last Samurai film trailer came out I remember thinking this film is not really for me, however when I did finally get around to watching it my opinion changed completely.  So much in fact that I now consider it to one of my favourite films.  The Last Samurai is without doubt in my opinion at least a masterpiece, it’s an exceptionally well shot and made movie.  The scenery is simply breathtaking whilst the story has you caught up and enthralled by the plight of these last few ultimate warriors who’s way of life is about to be taken away forever.

The story is a powerful one matched only by the performances of all the main actors.  Make no mistake The Last Samurai is a must see and must own movie.

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The Last Samurai Blu-ray Review

The picture quality is simply flawless so nothing to complain about here, the image is clean and sharp with the colours vibrant.

On the extras front there’s plenty of interviews and documentaries to really get to know and understand The Last Samurai and just how much went into making this epic story come to life.  In fact one of the interesting facts I found out is the location work for the Samurai’s village and those breathtaking scenery shots was actually in New Zealand.  That said there are also some scenes shot in Japan.

In short the extras are interesting and informative and I strongly recommend watching them.

Extras
  • Commentary by Director Edward Zwick
  • History Vs Hollywood (22 mins)
  • Tom Cruise: A Warrior’s Journey (13 mins)
  • Making an Epic: A Conversation with Edward Zwick & Tom Cruise (18 mins)
  • A World of Detail: Production Design with Lily Kilvert (7 mins)
  • Silk & Armor: Costume Design with Ngila Dickson (6 mins)
  • From Soldier to Samurai: The Weapons (5 mins)
  • Imperial Army Basic Training (6 mins)
  • Diectors Video Journal (26 mins)
  • Japan Premieres
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers

On to my movie rating for The Last Samurai (2003)Recommended Films

  • Movie Rating: MUST SEE
  • Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
  • Extras: EXCELLENT

 

 


The Last Samurai (2003) is available now on Blu-ray.

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version

So that’s The Last Samurai Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:

 

Note: The Amazon links on this page are affiliate / associate links. By buying through the links we may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price you pay.

The Last Samurai Blu-ray Review (2003)

Director(s): Edward Zwick

Actor(s): Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn, Hiroyuki Sanada, Koyuki

Genre: Action, Drama

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Picture Rating
  • Extras
5

Summary

The Last Samurai is an epic adventure that achieves masterpiece status.

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