THE LAST SAMURAI (Edward Zwick, 2003)
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th St. at Amsterdam Ave.
Thursday, December 20, 3:30
Series runs through December 20
The guys who gave the world Thirtysomething (director Edward Zwick and producer Marshall Herskovitz) head to the hills of Japan for this ridiculously sappy and melodramatic piece of tripe starring Tom Cruise as a wayward Civil War hero who rediscovers himself and learns the way of the samurai as modernity threatens to bury the past in a battle of guns versus swords, power versus honor, the government versus the individual. Cruise dances with warriors through this pathetic excuse for an American samurai epic that reduces everything to annoying clichés. It’s an embarrassment from start to finish; at least a sequel is pretty much out of the question. And it’s painful how the film misuses the talent of Hiroyuki Sanada, who was so good in Yoji Yamada’s The Twilight Samurai, his previous film. This mess was written by John Logan, who is responsible for such other duds as Martin Scorsese’s vastly overrated The Aviator and Nemesis, perhaps the worst of all the Star Trek films. The Last Samurai is screening on December 20 at 3:30 as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center series “All the Right Moves: The Films of Tom Cruise,” comprising seven Cruise favorites, including Risky Business, Rain Man, Jerry Maguire, Mission: Impossible, Born on the Fourth of July, and Top Gun.