The movie The Last Samurai was not only a great fighting action movie but it also touched on human spirituality, cultural, lifestyle difference and the effect of Japanese culture on a western man. The movie was created in 2003 and takes place in Jap in the 1860s. An American military advisor is embraces the samurai culture that he was hired to destroy after being capture. The battle scenes in The Last Samurai are accurate to how the samurai fought back then from weapons to battle strategies.
The warrior strategies of the samurai were determined in part by the weapons that were being used as was the topography of the battle site where the fight was being conducted. They would use up close cavalry for open plains battle, while having archers in the mountains that were better suited for the forest and rocky terrains. They are able to combine these two ways to conduct long range and up close melee attacks during a battle. There are two completely different cultures that clash throughout the movie.
You have the Japanese old Samurai culture that hasn't changed for hundreds of years. Then there is the still new western American culture that Japan is trying to adapt into. The Japanese Samurai culture has always has great discipline and lived by the code of Bushido. Bushido has seven virtues to it which are, Duty or also known as Right Action, Courage, Benevolence, Morality, Truthfulness, Honor and Loyalty. They would live everyday disciplining themselves to this and believed so highly in it that if they disgraced themselves they would commit Seppuku which is taking their own life.
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While you have the new still forming western culture of America where people were more selfish greedy and wild instead of discipline. They strongly believed in growing stronger through selling or trading and expanding their reaches across the globe. In the beginning of the movie you will see the main character Major Nathan Algeren of the united states army who is sadden, angry and a personal lost of oneself. He despises himself so much that he has to lose himself every night in a bottle of alcohol hoping and wishing someone will release him from his pain by killing him.
When he is capture by the same people he was suppose destroy, he is then able to see and study the way of how another culture lives. He eventually takes part in the ways of the Samurai and experiences the mysterious culture of his enemy. By keeping an open mind and fully taking in what he learned from the different culture of his enemies he is able to find a peace within himself that he has never felt before and a new path of life that he can follow happily with no regrets.
The movie does have awesome historical accurate battle scenes but it also has a deeper story about how a different culture that can seem strange at first effect someone in a good way. Major Nathan Algeren was an unstable person that thought he didn't deserve to live but was able to find a peace that he never imagined through learning and experiencing a different culture that he use to refer to as primitive. It's just like the quote "never judge a book by its cover".
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