I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went to see this film. Sure Japanese swords, fights and Tom Cruise, but apart from the basic plot, which is American soldier with troubled past goes to Japan and finds himself, I did not know what to look forward to. And now that I have seen it I don’t really know what to say.

Not a good way to start a review is it?
I’ll tell you my reasons. I think the film is quite a good one. It is all about the battle between tradition and progress, the western world and all other cultures, being more pro-traditional Japan and anti the effects of the western world. At the same time, however, I really dislike this film for the stupidity of the characters.

Maybe it says something about my culture, but the whole notion of death as a response to shame just strikes me as idiotic. If you do something wrong well then try and make things better, don’t just give up.

All through the final battle sequence I kept thinking what a waste. And it is not the fact that I am squeamish, or anti-war (in films) simply that there was no rational reason behind all that death and carnage. Both sides, were in effect, on the same side; that of the Emperor. Am I the only one who saw that?

Despite the fact that I kept think “stupid, stupid, stupid” I do think it could have been a good film. I am not a Tom Cruise fan, but his portrayal of the tortured (mentally) Captain Algren was watchable. The only part I actually disliked (apart from the stupidity, did I mention that?), was the character played by Billy Connelly. He was just rubbish, and annoying.

All in all a good film, that deserves to be watched, I just don’t agree with the total waste of life it seemed to promote. Maybe that was the point of the film though? But I don’t think so.

Official Site | IMDb | Racist? | Script (pdf)

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