« The last samurai » is a compelling story of warfare, duty, and honour. It opens up in 1876 San Francisco; Tom Cruise plays the role of Nathan Algren, a former Captain whose participation to the military campaigns against the native Indians has left him scared with nightmares and remorse leaving alcohol as his only remedy. After being fired from the Winchester rifle company, he is recruited by Omura (Masato Harada) adviser of a weak-willed emperor, along with his former commanding officer whom he utmostly despises, Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn) to train a conscript army to suppress the Samurai rebellion, who seem to threat the “modernization” of Japan. He once again finds himself having to wipe yet other tribal rebels. Algren is then captured by the forces of the legendary Kasumoto (Ken Watanabe) when he comes to realise he seems to have a spiritual affinity to them, soon adopting the Bushido code (The way of the warrior) and ends up fighting along side with them against his former troupes.
As Algren spends his time in captivity, observing the people, watching them devote themselves to what they do, he starts to stop drinking and to shape up, and starts to be in harmony with himself after long years of self-loathing and remorse. He is eventually taught how to wield a sword like a true samurai, along with the Bushido code. Algren receives Yoda-like wisdom from Katsumoto “ may the strength of the samurai be with you always” As time goes by, he starts to learn the Japanese language and is no longer seen as an enemy, when Katsumoto returns Algren’s personal belongings; he says “When I took these, you were my enemy…” Algren is later faced with the difficult choice of going back to America, or staying to fight along side Katsumoto and face an almost certain death which he ends up choosing. He then along side the samurai go off to a last final battle as ‘savages with bows and arrows’ against the new western Japan with new riffles and notably the Howitzers. This...
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