Tasogare Seibei

  • Directors:
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Shuhei Fujisawa, Yoshitaka Asama
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa

At the start of the film, the main character, Iguchi Seibei, becomes a widower when his wife succumbs to tuberculosis. His wife receives a grand funeral, more than what a lowest-ranking samurai such as Seibei could afford. Seibei works in the grain warehouse, accounting for stores inventory for the samurai clan. His samurai colleagues give him the condescending nickname “Tasogare Seibei” or “Twilight Seibei” — when evening approaches, Seibei rushes home to look after his senile elderly mother and two young daughters, Kayano and Ito, instead of bonding with his supervisor and other samurai colleagues over customary nights of dinner, geisha entertainment, and sake drinking. Even though he is of samurai class, Seibei continues to neglect his own appearance, failing to bathe and dressing shabbily. The well-being of his young daughters and medicine for his mother take priority over new clothes or covering the monthly bath fee.

Things change when Seibei’s childhood friend, Tomoe (sister of Iinuma Michinojo, one of his better, kinder samurai friends) returns to town. Recently divorced from an abusive alcoholic husband, Koda, a samurai captain), Tomoe finds comfort and solace with Seibei’s daughters. When her ex-husband Koda barges into the household of Michinojo in the middle of night in a drunken demand for Tomoe, Seibei accepts a duel with the captain, hoping to put a stop to the abuse. There seems little chance for him to beat the captain, but Seibei feels he must try. Dueling amongst clan members is strictly forbidden. The penalty is usually death for the winner as the loser is already dead. Seibei decides to use only a wooden stick whilst Koda brandishes a steel katana. Seibei overcomes Koda, sparing both their lives.

Ito disagrees: her father never had any ambition to become anything special; he loved his two daughters, and was loved by the beautiful Tomoe.

The Last Samurai

  • Directors: Edward Zwick
  • Producers: Tom Cruise, Tom Engelman, Marshall Herskovitz, Scott Kroopf, Paula Wagner, Edward Zwick
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, War
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn, Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada, Koyuki Kato, Shin Koyamada

Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), born in United Kingdom but naturalized American, is a disenchanted Ex-United States Army captain, tortured by the guilt of his past transgressions against Native American civilians. After losing his previous job of sharing his old war experiences in public demonstrations, he is recruited by his former commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), whom Algren loathes and blames for his waking nightmares, on behalf of a Japanese businessman, Mr. Omura (Masato Harada). He is hired to help the new Meiji Restoration government train the new Western-style Imperial Japanese Army. With him are his old army colleague Zeb Gant (Billy Connolly) and Simon Graham, (Timothy Spall) a British translator.

Under the command of Bagley, Algren trains an army of peasants and farmers in firearm techniques, and before they are sufficiently trained, is forced to take them into battle to defend Omura’s investment in a new railway, against a group of samurai rebels led by Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe). During the battle, the samurai slaughter Algren’s vulnerable soldiers, and Bagley withdraws from the field. Gant kills several samurai, but is soon killed. Algren manages to kill some samurai (including the samurai who killed Gant) with a pistol, a saber and a broken spear embroidered with a flag depicting a white tiger. Despite his best efforts he is soon overpowered. However, the flag on the spear reminds Katsumoto of a vision he had during meditation, of a white tiger fighting off his attackers. Seeing the resemblance, Katsumoto makes Algren his prisoner instead of letting his samurai kill him. In self-defense the badly wounded Algren deals a death blow to Katsumoto’s own brother-in-law, the red-masked Samurai, Hirotaro. He is taken to an isolated village, where he gradually recovers from his wounds (as well as his rampant alcoholism). He lives with the family of Hirotaro, namely his widow Taka, her two sons and Katsumoto’s son Nobutada (Shin Koyamada). Over time, Algren’s mental and emotional state improve as he learns the way of the samurai, (Bushido). He develops romantic feelings for Taka, studies swordsmanship from a skilled sword master (Ujio) and learning Japanese, converses with the local residents, gaining their respect.

The movie ends and the viewer realizes that the narrator of the story is Simon Graham. Algren then returns to the samurai village where he was imprisoned earlier, and to Taka. Graham philosophically concludes Algren found a measure of peace “that we all seek, and few of us ever find.”

Rush Hour 3

  • Directors: Brett Ratner
  • Producers: Robert Birnbaum, Andrew Z Davis, Jonathan Glickman, Athur M Sarkissian, Jay Stern
  • Writers: Jeff Nathanson, Ross LaManna
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Youki Kudoh, Yvan Attal, Noemie Lenoir, Roman Polanski, Zhang Jingchu, Tzi Ma, Dana Ivey, Henry Oo, Max Von Sydow

During discussions in the World Criminal Court, as the Ambassador addresses the importance of fighting the Triad organization, he announces that he may know the whereabouts of Shy Shen. Suddenly, Han takes a bullet in the shoulder, disrupting the conference. Lee pursues the assassin and corners him, discovering that the assassin is his brother Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada). When Lee hesitates to shoot Kenji, Carter, having heard of Han’s incident on the police radio, shows up driving towards the two and accidentally nearly runs Lee over, allowing Kenji to escape.

In the hospital, Lee learns that Han will make a full recovery. Han’s daughter, Soo-Yung (Zhang Jingchu), now grown up, arrives and makes Lee and Carter promise to capture the one behind the shooting. She then informs Lee and Carter that her father gave her an envelope which contains important information regarding the Triad, and that the envelope is in her locker at the martial arts studio where she works. Lee and Carter make their way to the martial arts studio, but find out that a gang of armed men have already arrived and emptied it. Lee and Carter are told by the Master of the studio that Soo-Yung and Han are in danger, and rush back to the hospital.

As Carter and Lee send Soo-Yung down the elevator, more Triads arrive. In order to escape, Lee and Carter grab and untie a large French flag hanging over the side of the tower and use it as a makeshift parachute and float to safety. Unfortunately, they are confronted by Reynard, who is holding Geneviève hostage and threatening to kill her and frame Lee and Carter for her murder. However, George, having followed Lee and Carter, shoots Reynard and declares “Case Closed.” The police arrive, with the commissioner from earlier gloating and trying to get undeserved credit. After giving the commissioner a team punch to the face, Lee and Carter leave the scene dancing to Edwin Starr’s “War”.