It’s 1876, and washed-up, alcoholic Civil War hero Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) gets a job training Japan’s army in the ways of U.S. military tactics. When he’s taken prisoner by a Samurai warrior (Ken Watanabe), he’s forced to dry out and calm down. Appreciating the honorable ways of the Samurai, as opposed to the selfish ways of generals such as Custer, Algren joins sides with his captors and rides against an Americanized Japan. While this might sound silly, Director Edward Zwick (Glory
), Cruise and especially Watanabe have made a film of epic scale and beauty. Cruise throws his everything into this role, delivering work that is both emotionally and physically impressive. Watanabe supplies the film with a significant emotional core, and Zwick, who knows his way around a battle scene, creates sequences that are absolutely astounding.