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The last samurai...

hamstar

後輩
5 Dec 2003
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"yup. another movie that's supposedly about asian people, but in reality is about a white dude. who saves us all, and saves all our women from... us."

-SWK



"Perhaps someone should create a movie about an Asian man coming to Europe or America, and outdoing all the natives while...doing the natives. SWK can star."

-achtungbaby


"yeah then after i do the white girlies, i'd leave them and tell them "don't hate the playa, baby. hate the game."

and the white dudes would be saying "how do you do it, mr. asian man? how do you do it?"

and then i'd tell them "ain't nuthin' but a G thing, baby.""

-SWK




What do YOU guys think.

Please your opinion MATTERS
 
Our opinions about the race issue, the love story part of the movie, or what these folks are saying? I'm a bit mixed up...

Not having seen the movie, I do question the inclusion of a love story, and is one of the main reasons I am on the fence about seeing the flick. Is it really needed? Won't that just make it "Dances With Samurai" as some are calling it?
 
about everything....esp the part about getting a Japanese/asian male to play the role of the main character instead of some white guy playing the role.
 
I've seen the movie and I don't think these criticisms are at all fair.

For one thing, the Japanese samurai are the main heroes in the movie and with the exception of Tom Cruise all the white people in the movie are basically portrayed as having a corrupting influence on Japan. They are not heroes. And even Tom Cruise's charecter is seen as an immature student incompetently trying to follow the Samurai around for most of the movie. He doesn't show them how to do anything, they show him. In my opinion, Ken Watanabe is the main star of the movie, not Tom Cruise.

These people obviously haven't seen the movie and don't know at all what they are talking about. I thought it was a quite good film and would recommend it.
 
so who else feels the same as senseiman? Seems like you're not concerned with having a Asian guy to have a lead role...

anyone have a differing opinion?
 
Err....where did you get the idea that I wasn't interested in having an asian male as the lead role? I just said that in the case of the Last Samurai, it wasn't the case of it being a movie about a white guy coming to Japan, showing everything how things are done, saving the day and doing it with a lot of chicks. It is the exact opposite, and I thought it was a good movie.

And perhaps you haven't noticed that there have been a lot of Asian males playing lead roles in hollywood films. Like Jackie Chan and all those other action stars from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
 
Senseiman, Did you ever notice that all the asian men in hollywood that play lead roles are simply those they portrey the stereotype of being a kung-fu master?

Let me rephrase: Have you ever seen a Asian male playing a lead-role in a NON-FIGHTING(martial arts) movie?
 
Well, there was the Last Emporer, which wasn't about fighting or Kung fu in which an Asian male star played the lead role.

I guess there haven't been too many other ones though. On the other hand, have you ever seen a Japanese film in which a westerner (or indeed any foreigner) played the lead role?
 
I dont think you can compare hollywood to Japanese filmmaking. The Japanese don't even really make films that often.. Im saying that they are small compared to hollywood. But in manga (which is basically japanese movies) I've noticed many non-Japanese playing the role of the main character. Also the Last emporer was more of a documentary than a film. I don't see the point in casting a white male to play the part of asian royalty unless they want to re-write history itself.
 
4 More Hours !!

I'm taking my wife to see it this afternoon and then out to supper. I'll give my reviews when I get back this evening.

Frank
 
The Last Emporer wasn't at all like a documentary, it was an epic historical drama with a cast of thousands. I thought it was pretty good.

Japan's film industry isn't what it used to be quality-wise, but they still make tons of movies here, very few of which feature non Japanese in major roles.

I don't really read Manga so I can't comment with any authority about them.

I'm not really clear about what your point is and what it has to do with the Last Samurai, Hamstar. It would be cool if there were more Asian stars in Hollywood, but I don't see the connection with the Last Samurai.
 
Sooo....

Interesting debate going on here...

As I just saw the movie opening day here in Japan, I'll pass on the toughts of a Japanese friend of mine.

Whoah, wait a sec., I almost typed a bunch of spoilers!
Is that o.k. or should I post it somewhere else?
 
i would like to know his thought and i have seen the movie so there wont be any spoiling for me just out a big warning at the top so people know that ita a spoiler. but about the movie i thought it was awsome, i thought it was done quite nice also
 
reactions?

I just saw the movie and have looking around at reviews and such. I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised to see many of the reactions to the film. Specifically, I was concerned with those who believe the movie to stereotype or misrepresent the Japanese and/or their culture.

A few issues should be addressed up front before I continue.

First: This is a movie. As such, it is limited in its capacity to transfer, transmit, dissemulate and portray. To its credit, the movie is over two hours long allowing it more depth than would otherwise be available to a movie - especially one coming out of Hollywood.

Second: As a commercial activity, it must sell. As such, it often follows several formula's to increase its sells potential - it reaches and impacts a broader audience because of this. (On the other hand, this is something I deplore in many movies coming out of Hollywood. Personally, I think the average movie goer is much more intelligent than the Holywood execs give them credit for. They probably could manage a movie without a love interst - Master and Commander - or a sappy feel-good ending - Braveheart. This is a movie where the formula's were unnecessary)

Third: The movies primary target audience is American movie goers, males specifically between the ages of 21 and 35 (more or less).

Considering these aspects I would like to address several criticisms of the movie.

1: A 'white guy' comes in and saves Japan from itself and takes it women. The basic complaint is that the movie is not about the Japanese and the Samurai but about an America and off course the American comes with his superior ways and saves the day.

I am not sure how this can be read into the film. The story is about an American soldier. It is not 'about' Japan but about an American soldier who goes to japan. Ultimately, the soldier, who arrived with an apathy bordering on disdain for the Japanese and their culture, changes and comes to admire that culture and people who he was paid to destroy.

The movie fairly drips with criticism of American capital culture. The soldier ( a war hero - in others eyes but certainly not his own) is a shill for an arms manufactorer, becomes a mercenary, and intends to decimate a piece of Japanese history. The advisor to the emporer, a businessman of sorts, is 'whoring' out his country (selling something invaluable for money and personal gain) to the West.

The 'white guy' comes to embrace this group/culture/code what-have-you that he once intended to destroy. Not only did he embrace it, he came to love it. Not only did he come to love it, it redeamed him to himself - something the West could not offer him was given to him by the East. This is another rejection of the West.

He offers himself over to serve Katsumoto and to even die by his side serving his cause. He falls in love with the Taka. How much more can one come to embrace another culture. To abandon everything about one's own culture/history/past and embrace another is the ultimate act of acceptance - even if imperfectly understood.

As for saving anything. What, did the Captain save? He murdered innocent Indians in America (the source of his shame), he sold weapons that were being used to wipe out those same Indians he helped murder, he goes to Japan to train an army to fight some Samurai and that army is roundly defeated in its first engagement - he did not save the emporer and faile din his first duty. He becomes a traitor to that cause (but can a mercenary really be a traitor) and is befriended/befriends Katsumoto. Now, does the Captain train Katsumoto's army. Not in the least. Its the other way around. The Captain is given the tools to fight and taught how to fight and - most importantly - why to fight and what to fight for. it is the captain who being taught and saved not the Samurai.

The Samurai all die. They are wiped out and lost and the captains adds nothing to this other than his services - and even he does not die at the end - he is not the last Samurai, Katsumoto is....

That is, in my opinion, one of the things I found most compelling about the movie and the only movie I can recall produced in the west that has had anything remotely positive to say about the Samurai and the Bushido Code. Furthermore, that the Bushido code/philosophy is enduring and relevant.

On another note. The 'love affair' that never happened with Taka was one of the most tasteful I have seen on screen in a long time. It was never consumated, never stated, never really dealt with openly. No breasts in an american film - thats a shocker!!! The one almost kiss was it. It was, more or less symbolic of his total immersion in japanese culture. This plays well to American audiences, yes.... but at least it plays.

To reiterate - the movie is about an american soldier who is transformed for Japanese traditions and society. It is the ultimate homage that an american can only find redemption 3000 miles from home through a culture totally alien to him. It is not about Japan. Why would this be an insult, that a movie is not about Japan but about about an American who is transformed by what he learns while in Japan? I am not sure so a little enlightenment would do me well.

2: A movie about an Asian coming to america. Well, American movies do lack in leading roles for Asian males. However, that is changing, Chou Yun-Fat in Anna and the King comes to mind as does Rick Yune in Snow Falling on Cedars. The migration of Asian actors to Hollywood in now occurring their expansion into broader roles (other than fighting Gods) is also changing.

But, in all, the audience is primarily white american males so who would be the lead but a white american male. I do not expect - nor believe it to be the case - that many Japanese films figure leading roles as white american males - arabic films certainly do not, russian films don't, neither do German or french films. why should they? there target audience is not there.

And, as for outdoing all the locals. On this point I have to say there is a near unioversal 'worship' of Asian fighting techniques styles and disciplines from the philosophcal (Sun Tzu) to the physical (Kung-Fu). If one notes, there is a preponderance of Asian fighting styles dominating movies today from the Matrix to Kill Bill. If it is not physically the Japanese/Chinese or whoever are doing the butt kicking it is the style. We are, in fact, overrun with it. One notes its ultimate course in the Matrix - these styles can be used to dodge bullets!!!

3: As for the conquest of the female thing. This is a perenial concern of most racial purists. It is the final straw, the last kick in the teeth and to many the most foul. However, envisioned in another light, it is the ultimate in acceptance. Considering America's past and its issues concerning 'racial purity' (which, by the by are more prevalent in many other cultures) outmarriage is a significant indicator of cultural acceptance and embrace.

Asian American an especailly the Japanese have one of the highest outmarriage rates in America (near 30% I believe - though Asian women are twice as likely to marry white males than asian males are white women. Thios disparity is primarily the result of American presence overseas - military - than anything else as naturalized or American Asians are just as likely to marry no matter the gender).

But in all, why should anyone care if an American falls in love with a Japanese women and they marry. remember, in this context he stayed in Japan and left his country.

And as a final note on that, it was a missive. The narrator offered three endings - death, went back to america and stayed with taka. He preferred the latter. Who wouldn't. I mean, goodness, did you see that village??? I would pack my bags today if I knew that village and those people actually existed somewhere. And have you seen walk the red carpet in that diaphonous gown???



On a final note, I am well aware of stereotyping and the dangers its poses as well as the injustices it entails but this is not the case in this film.

punk boy

sorry if this sounds irritated but its not meant to be. i just had to get this off my chest
 
But, in all, the audience is primarily white american males so who would be the lead but a white american male. I do not expect - nor believe it to be the case - that many Japanese films figure leading roles as white american males - arabic films certainly do not, russian films don't, neither do German or french films. why should they? there target audience is not there.

well this is what I must really question. You say that other countries don't represent minorities with major roles but AMERICA is not everyother country. America is filled with diversity and is NOTHING like russia or China etc. We have black protagonists why not asian? Don't answer that question. It's just there to make some people think.
 
Since Pokemon let it all out, I'll continue.

At the end of the movie,
my boss (who saw the movie with me) looked over and said,

"Why didn't Tom Cruise die too?"
heh heh

Thoughts from his mind:
(A 50 year old Japanese man.)

-Obviously geared for an American audience.
-Under used Japanese actors. (like Hiroyuki Sanada)
-Strange ending/resolution. (He thought the movie was going to be about the Satsuma rebellion. Those of you unfamiliar with it, go look it up!)
-Overall, not bad! (good action)
-(He could tell most of it was filmed in NZ.)

It's safe to say he had different expectations than I did. Still not a bad movie, eh? Personally, I'm waiting for Return of the King.
 
Re: reactions?

Originally posted by pokeman
...Furthermore, that the Bushido code/philosophy is enduring and relevant.

A shameless thread promotion here, but would you like to add your vioce to this thread (The Samurai, Bushido, and Other Things)? It has some encoding faults so please forgive. I'd like to discuss your point, but here is not the place to do so. Other samurai-related stuff welcome too :)
 
"What do YOU guys think."

Well... since you asked here's what I think:

1) Quoting excerpts from anonymous posters on another board populated by people who have way too much time on their hands and then coming here to ask for feedback is just plain silly. As if their opinions matter for sqaut to me. Have you actually read that thread? There are more tools replying in there than I have in my garage (and I have a lot of tools)...

2) The actual "Last Samurai" reference is to Kensaku Watanabe's character and NOT Tom Cruise so all this BS about the White man coming to "save the day" and "take the women" is utter rubbish and typical of simple-minded individuals.

3) Reading through the thread you posted was a complete waste of my time and I want those 15 minutes of my life back please...

Sorry if my remarks come across as harsh but that's they way I see it. I loved the movie and thought it was a great film but to nitpick and try to bring up issues of racism, etc. is infantile (especially when the comments are from some tool on another board). Hopefully it will encourage other people to explore Japanese history and culture and maybe even help to develop their own appreciation for different cultures in the process. Reading anything more into it beyond that is a waste of time imho when there are more pressing and actual issues re: racism that should be addressed rather than focusing on a piece of fictional cinema.
:)
 
Well... since you asked here's what I think:

1) Quoting excerpts from anonymous posters on another board populated by people who have way too much time on their hands and then coming here to ask for feedback is just plain silly. As if their opinions matter for sqaut to me. Have you actually read that thread? There are more tools replying in there than I have in my garage (and I have a lot of tools)...

2) The actual "Last Samurai" reference is to Kensaku Watanabe's character and NOT Tom Cruise so all this BS about the White man coming to "save the day" and "take the women" is utter rubbish and typical of simple-minded individuals.

3) Reading through the thread you posted was a complete waste of my time and I want those 15 minutes of my life back please...

Sorry if my remarks come across as harsh but that's they way I see it. I loved the movie and thought it was a great film but to nitpick and try to bring up issues of racism, etc. is infantile (especially when the comments are from some tool on another board). Hopefully it will encourage other people to explore Japanese history and culture and maybe even help to develop their own appreciation for different cultures in the process. Reading anything more into it beyond that is a waste of time imho when there are more pressing and actual issues re: racism that should be addressed rather than focusing on a piece of fictional cinema.

1. So let me get this staight, your time is more valuable?? I doubt that.

2. Look at the tailor and see who is depicted as the last samurai. Obviously you don't care a wink that asian actors are represented in hollywood or in America for that matter. Where did I say racism? I said representation and you took it upon yourself to make a red herring out of it.

3. Sorry, NO REFUNDS. Oh and please come again!

IRON CHEF = OWNED
 
1) Yes it is when many of the people posting replies to thread you linked above had obviously not seen the movie but were already making judgment calls.

2) You say look at the trailer and I say look at the movie. And racism was brought up as a recurring issue in the thread. Re: racism, in your second and third reply you state: "about everything....esp the part about getting a Japanese/asian male to play the role of the main character instead of some white guy playing the role." So... no "red herring" as you implied but rather you brought it up suggesting it was part of the casting decision.

3) Don't be stupid. Your "owned" comment shows your level of maturity is sorely lacking. Want to turn this into a trash-talking thread and slander me because I disagree with you? Be my guest.
:)
 
LOL, And here I was waiting all this time hoping for a well-thought out reply and that's the best you can come up with? Weak.
:)
 
asian misrepresentation by hollywood does not equate to racism. Sorry if your mind only has one track.

There are other possibilities of course. Like maybe asian males can't sell movie tickets or something. It may not be racism as you have implied.

in another forum I was asked to gather what other Japanese-Americans thought about this "issue" and I got what I wanted.
 
And what Asians exactly were being misrepresented in The Last Samurai? Aside from Tom Cruise, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, and a few others the cast was predominantly Japanese. Oh, and do try to refrain from snide little comments like "Sorry if your mind only has one track." You want to discuss "issues" that's fine with me. But at least try and be civil about it or am I asking too much?
:)
 
ahahaha

"But at least try and be civil about it or am I asking too much?
?"

You're the one who attacked my initial post. I guess that's acceptable because you are the one doing it right?

NEVER TRUST ANYONE OVER 30

OWNED
 
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