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The Last Samurai When director Edward Zwick called Action on the set of The Last Samurai he wasnt kidding Though the human aspect lifts the epic film far above the standard action flick this massive production is filled with impressive battle scenes and sword fights As American military man Captain Nathan Algren Tom Cruise trained intensively for eight months in hand-to-hand combat karate and Samurai style two-handed sword fighting He worked with sword masterchoreographer Nick Powell who also trained Russell Crowe for Gladiator Mel Gibson in Braveheart and the cast of The Mummy Cruise told yahoocom training with swords helped him bulk up They weigh about three pounds I started waving them around for a few weeks and put on a good inch-and-a-half of muscle on my forearms and shoulders I didnt fit in my suits anymore Captain Algren arrives in Japan in 1876 to train Western-minded young Emperor Meijis imperial army in modern warfare His goal is to wipe out the remaining Samurai warriors All that changes when Algren is severely wounded in battle and taken captive by Samurai warrior Katsumoto Ken Watanabe and trained in their ways of fighting and thinking Algren soon begins to understand and respect his captors Hundreds of Japanese martial arts experts were flown to the north island of New Zealand where the movie was shot to play Katsumotos Samurai army in the major fight scenes They became part of one of the fiercest battles in movie history Director Zwick calls the attack in his movie Glory simple compared to what they did in The Last Samurai Known for his energy and focus Cruise spent a total of 31 days shooting the films exhausting battle scenes alone Though its an action-packed film Cruise says he knew he had to make this picture The Samurai code is essentially about taking responsibility for what you do and what you say whatever the repercussions Its more than a code for Samurai
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