Welcome to a new occasionally regular feature here at 5-Word, that I’m calling Andy Finally Watches Movies He Really Should Have Seen By Now. There are a lot of movies that you might be surprised to learn Andy hasn’t watched yet, so this occasionally regular column will give him the excuse to finally watch movies he really should have, um, you know, seen by now.
Hello there. How are you? I’m good, thanks for asking. After the success of my first, and until now, only movie review (when I say success I mean that I think someone other than my mum read it), I recently decided that I would like to do another one. Fingers crossed it’s okay because I quite fancy a wee regular guest spot on Ryan’s site! Now, as evident on my previous review, I talk utter guff on an almost constant basis. However, I feel that every now and then, some of my incoherent mutterings make a bit of sense and represent those feelings of the average man. I am clearly delusional as well but I can live with that, and if you can too, read on.
Now a movie expert I am not, but I have the utmost respect for the passion that some people have for motion pictures. I reserve the same passion for football and Formula 1 so can understand when Mr 5-Word can tell me things like the name of the tea boy during filming of Casablanca. I do not know this, and because of this, I propose to Ryan that I be allowed a once a week guest slot review for the lesser knowledgables like myself! I urge you to tell Mr 5-Word to back this venture so I have something to do on a Sunday when I’m hung-over. So with that in mind…
Crap Guns versus shiny swords.
Tom Cruise stars as Captain Nathan Algren, a drunken veteran of the US army, or whatever variation there was at that point in history, who is haunted by his orders to massacre a village of innocent Native Americans by his CO Colonel Bagely, played by the bad guy from Ghost. After getting fired from his gig regaling folks with war stories, Billy Connolly, playing an ex colleague with the awesome name of Zebulon Grant and with some terrible rendition of a Scottish guy doing an Irish accent, guides Nathan to a meeting with said horrible CO and a couple of Japanese guys. One of them is named Mr Omura and offers our Nathan a tidy sum to help train new recruits of the Japanese army against a group of Samurai warriors rebelling against the westernisation of their beloved land. Mr Omura is a total dobber – Scottish slang which basically means he is a dick, I don’t like him – and his pal doesn’t talk but looks like someone burst a plum on his face. Timothy Spall, who I am convinced is in every film I have ever seen, plays a translator called Simon who introduces the new arrivals to the Emperor. The Emperor is feared and respected but after hearing him talk, I am convinced that he partakes in a wee game of hide the sausage when he is bored. Weirdly though, it actually helps his role later in the film I feel, but enough about that.
Wee Tommy Cruise goes off to train the troops and soon, despite his insistence that they are not ready, Mr Dobber demands they are pitched in to battle against the Samurai. The Samurai only use bows and arrows and swords and are up against an amateur army of shaky guns so predictably, the guns are trounced. During the melee, Wee Tom is captured after the Samurai boss man Katsumoto played by Ken Watanabe, who is reminded of a tiger while watching him trying to stave off death, spares him. This is despite just watching Tom just stick a spear thingy into his brother in law’s oesophagus, and just as his troops are about to carry out Katie Holmes’s fantasy and chop him into wee bits.
I won’t say too much more and give the game away, but from here starts Tommy’s journey of self discovery, dealing with his own demons and learning new life lessons and that things aren’t always as they first seem. Learning about honour and shame and the traditions of others, he goes on a right wee journey. Nuff said about that.
I have to admit that when I saw the running time for this film, I was reluctant to watch it but eventually decided to go for it and I’m glad I did. Wee Tommy is outstanding in my unprofessional opinion and the changes in his way of thinking and his personal development over the course of the film is completely believable and had me hooked. Star of the show though has to be Big Ken. I was not surprised to find out he had been nominated for an Oscar but was slightly aggrieved to find out he didn’t win! Although when I saw he was beaten by Tim Robbins, I calmed somewhat. I’ve never seen Mystic River [maybe for your next column? – Ryan] but it is definitely on my list now as I have to see the performance that out did Ken’s. Every emotion he feels throughout the film, I felt it too. It takes a helluva performance to do that to me.
Elsewhere in the film there are some excellent performances as well. My hatred for Mr Omura was so strong that I had to keep reminding myself that it was only a film, kudos to the man whose name I can’t pronounce that played him for that. And being Scottish, Billy Connolly is a legend to me, and his character does exactly what he does so well, and makes me laugh, even with his crap Irish accent. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of times I laughed out loud during the film overall.
If I have one criticism, it’s the ending. It’s not a bad ending by any means but I would have tweaked it somewhat and made it a bit less Hollywood. Excuse my vagueness but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. If anyone disagrees or wants to know what the hell I mean then drop in a wee comment and I shall explain. Overall though I thought I was a belting film and would recommend that you see it if you haven’t. As a side note, the setting is stunning and would love to visit Japan one day to experience it first hand.
What’s that you say? Filmed in New Zealand?! Ah, Balls!