The mob consensus took me to the cinema to see The Last Samurai on Saturday night. I wasn't overly keen to go in the first place, so, inevitably, in the end I quite enjoyed it.
Yes, it has Tom Cruise in it; yes, it's a bit longer than it needs to be; yes, it's a bit too Hollywood in places; and yes, the title sort of gives away the ending a bit, but it also does a lot of things well.
For every time the film ventures down an avenue that tastes a tad too like a formulaic-Hollywood-action-movie, there are at least ten opportunities to make similar trips that it politely declines. And it has Billy Connolly in it.
Japan looks gorgeous, if you can ignore some of the initial "arriving in Japan" CGI, which is dreadful. The fighting is brilliantly coreographed, if you can ignore the pointless attempts to enhance the denoument with a CGI "wide shot" of a battle, which is similarly naff, and utterly unnecessary. The dialogue is clipped and economical and generally pleasing, if you can ignore the occasional tendency to have a small child explain the entirety of Samurai philosophy to Tom Cruise in one sentence of broken English ("You too many mind - mind who watch - mind what you do - mind what he do... no mind."). The ending is neat enough, if you can ignore the fact that it takes too long and is highly unlikely in almost every respect.
In short, if you go to this film and you're not expecting much, but you're in a good mood, you'll probably enjoy it. If you go along hoping for something special, but then walk in some dog mess on your way into the cinema, you'll probably sit there and pick holes in it for two and a half hours. And you'll smell.
It's like a big mish mash of several other films - Last of the Matrix Dances with Crouching Wolves and Hidden Braveheart Mohicans might have been a decent title for it.