I have grown weary of listening to the misguided proclamations when it comes to the most overrated film of the year The Last Samurai. Let's be frank folks, this film sucked. And it sucked for many reasons. Let me count the ways.
The ending of The Last Samurai is so stunningly awful as to capsize the entire film. I puked, I heaved, I cried in frustration. This film was a tragedy in the making. To tie up everything in a nice happy-ending bow was a crime on the level of Ted Turner colorization. I ask you, "Can we not see films with tragic endings today?" Has film making become so formulaic we can no longer suffer a hero's death? I sighed with great sadness when Tom Cruise somehow survived multiple bullets from that fucking Gatling gun. Pale and a bit worse for wear, he then presents a warrior's sword to the oh-so-prissy lisping emperor. If I was Japanese, and I am not, I would be pissed at this piece of shit movie.
Hollywood's recreation of Japanese history involving samurai warrior Saigo Takamori in the 1870s is as accurate as a comic book. There were no Caucasian men who trained Japanese warriors in the art of modern warfare. There were certainly no veterans of Custer's Seventh Calvary who traveled overseas. Cruise's character is a composite, based mainly on Captain Thomas Weir, a survivor of the Little Big Horn disaster. Weir was severely depressed after the battle, committing suicide a year later in 1877. To place a historical magnifying glass to The Last Samurai would essentially rip this sorry film to shreds. I suppose if one reads little history, one can accept the repulsively gigantic liberties taken with actual fact.
I also could not escape the overall feeling of déjà vu throughout this film, with a predictable chain of Dances With Wolves - like events leading to the redemption of the film's main character. We've seen Kevin Costner do this before, hell, we've even seen Peter O'Toole do this before in the classic Lawrence of Arabia. A Caucasian man immerses himself in an alien culture, learning their customs, eventually leading them into battle. Along the way, he learns new spiritual beliefs and the great Caucasian hero is redeemed.