last samurai

“The Last Samurai” was directed by Edward Zwick, best known for “Shakespeare in Love” (he was a producer of the film and won an Oscar for it). “The Last Samurai” was released on November 22, 2003.

Later, Zwick would work with Tom Cruise on “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”. In the United States, the film grossed $111 million, but it brought at least $50 million to the economy of the area where “The Last Samurai” was filmed (New Zealand, Taranaki). The reason was that it provided jobs and an influx of tourists wanting to see the shooting location.

The film plot revolves around Nathan Algren, a man with extensive combat experience who is offered to train soldiers for the imperial army. In 1876, these were ordinary peasants who were sent into battle even though Nathan proved that they were not yet ready for this. Insurgent Katsumoto destroys the emperor’s army and captures Algren himself whom Katsumoto saw in his visions.

In captivity, the American learns Japanese, the art of swordsmanship and falls in love with Taka, the local woman. They are friends with Katsumoto. He unwittingly actively participates in historical Japanese events and eventually gives up the idea of returning to the US, staying with his beloved.

last samurai Tom krus

In addition to the title star, Tom Cruise, the film “The Last Samurai” featured such prominent figures as Ken Watanabe and Hiroyuki Sanada. The soundtrack was composed by Hans Zimmer; it was the 100th film in his career. But for Ken Watanabe, who would later play in Nolan’s “Inception” and “Godzilla”, it was not only the first US film but also the first film where he spoke in English.

It is of interest to note that Hiroyuki Sanada (“The Wolverine”, “Sunshine”, “Mortal Kombat”) had an experience that almost cost the performer the main role in life. In the episode when Nathan Algren rides a horse and dodges Ujio’s katana, the equipment suddenly failed and the mechanical platform that served as a horse did not move down but stayed put. If Sanada had not stopped the blade an inch from Cruise’s neck, the actor’s modern fans would never see either “Top Gun” or new impossible missions.

last samura 2

The film was nominated for the Oscar Award four times, the Saturn Award five times, the Satellite Award four times and the Golden Globe Award three times, apart from the less prominent awards in the movie-making industry.

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