Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Last Samurai

Broog has had it up to his shapely and elegant neck with mediocre, big budget tat. Watching this patchwork film-by-numbers, Broog felt he was being sandblasted with pre-packaged emotional grit, none of which made it through his aesthetic goggles to provoke a tear in his limpid seeing organs.

It’s not that the movie is savagely bad, rather that it exists in a quilted no-man’s land of featherlite historical truth and self-serving social relativism. A broken down US veteran of the Indian wars, carrying a standard issue of combat stress and personal trauma, finds in the hopeless loyalty and traditional honour of the young Emperor’s rebellious Samurai tutor a cause in which he can redeem his own humanity. That warrior, in turn, finds in him the possibility of wholesome balance between the inflexible majesty of the Old Ways and the egalitarian destruction of the New. Concealed behind the paper tiger villain of runaway early Capitalism in the form of a Japanese businessman and his US government flunkies, there lurks the assertion that these Samurai people would be much better off if they could just act a little more like proper Americans.

The thing which really got on Broog’s wick, however, was the sense that the movie was constructed from the stitched-together limbs of other pictures. The vile Colonel Bagley recalls to mind the evil Captain Harrison Love from 1998’s Mask of Zorro; the sense of transition from one mode of living to another echoes the Once Upon a Time in China trilogy; Broog will not insult the reader’s intelligence by giving the name of the film in which a company of light cavalry charges an artillery position.

Let it be known throughout the world: Broog will fight such effortless and superficial baloney with his every inhalation, unto the very edge of sanity and onward into the land of singing bunnies. And the next time you have $140m burning a hole in your pocket, spend it more wisely.