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Epic!

  • Apr 29, 2009
Rating:
+5

In the tradition of the Shogun miniseries, this movie paints a wonderful picture of life under the Japanese Samurai. This time it is darning a time of modernization in Japan. Railroads and factories are being built. A Japanese army is being started, armed by some US entrepreneurs. They hire Tom Cruise, an often drunk army captain, to go to Japan and train the army in the use of the new rifles and to learn American war tactics.

 

He starts training troops that can't hit a stationary target at all. He is told that there is an uprising against the Japanese emperor by a band of Samurai. Cruise is to take the vastly inexperience troops to kill them. Cruise complains that they are not ready but he is told to leave immediately.

 

The attacking Samurai easily wipes out cruise's regiment and Cruise himself puts up an enormous fight. He is badly wounded but keeps fighting until he is unconscious. Just before passing out, he kills one of the most fearsome Samurai warriors.

 

The head Samurai, fascinated to learn more about Cruise, spares him and sends Cruise to mend at his sister's house. His sister just happens to be the wife of the fallen warrior.

 

Everyone in the village hates Cruise, and the woman is repulsed by the foreigner, who has shamed her by killing her husband. Little by little, Cruise becomes fascinated with life in the village and the Samurai training. He feels at peace and is cured of his alcoholic addiction. As he becomes more skilled with the sword he starts to win the admiration of the Samurai and he bonds with the woman's son.

 

Cruise finally, earns his place in the village by being instrumental in driving back a ninja attack on the village.  Eventually, Cruise will have to face the emperor's army now armed with cannon and fully training in using rifles.

 

Great directing, action, and a riveting story. One of the best films Cruise has made. Just as good, if not better than the Shogun miniseries.

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Wiki

Edward Zwick directs this sumptuously designed, action-packed period epic that stars Tom Cruise as Captain Nathan Algren. Algren, a former Civil War hero, is adrift in 1870s San Francisco after the war, a lost soul struggling to stay afloat in a booze-soaked stupor. When he is recruited by the Japanese government to train the Emperor's army, he departs for the unknown shores of Japan and begins training the soldiers in American military tactics. 
But these skills are useless against a band of samurai rebels led by the proud warrior Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), and Algren is easily defeated. He is taken to a remote samurai village where he learns samurai warrior codes and ways of life, developing a deep bond with Katsumoto and sharing philosophical conversations with him. Caught between the feudal culture of the ancient samurai warriors and the encroachment of modern society, Algren is forced to choose between his own culture or Katsumoto's. 
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Details

Director: Edward Zwick
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: December 5, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2004
Runtime: 154 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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