This is a charming movie. Not to give away too much of the story, but imagine a wacky mix of Shogun, Braveheart, and Little Big Man. Plaster that with enough sloppy sentiment to make you want to be on a sinking ship with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and you will have a rough approximation this film.
Tom Cruise plays a hard-drinking mercenary who killed an obscene number of Native Americans under Custer and is just totally wracked with guilt because of it. His old commander and some Japanese guys approach him with another job proposal- to modernize the Japanese Imperial Forces so they might eradicate those damned rebellious Samurai. It's soon obvious that the Samurai are screwed... The title even implies it. They don't even have guns, which is an important conceit in this film.
I like Tom Cruise as an actor and all, and he did a rocking good job in Magnolia, but this movie just demanded a quicker end. Cruise served as the titular role- - the last Samurai, not only because his steely nerve, fortitude, resourcefulness, Heart, fine pecs, and stellar market demographic demanded it, but because Cruise is the revered super-stud for all lore and legend. Some of you would appreciate this film more for its conceit-laden campy edge, as did I. There is also a lot of good fight choreography, which I enjoyed as well.