This action movie runs with purpose from one fight scene to another but takes a pause to develop the characters and let the audience relate to their inner emotions. It is a historical piece set in ancient feudal Japan where the hero Kai (played by Keanu Reeves) is thrust into the world of the samurai and challenged by circumstances to become one of them. Kai has no credentials to be a samurai, but his courage and his true love for the Shogun's daughter, who he meets as a child, allows him to rise up against all adversaries. This movie is an epic adventure about fighting for the one you love and Kai has unbelievable courage even when the odds are completely stacked against him.
The Japanese art of bushido, which was the ancient Japanese samurai's creed, is well expressed in spite of the corruption and dishonestly that goes against it. The battles are fierce, the sword-fighting exemplary, the settings and the CGI special effects are really terrific. Non-Japanese viewers get an insider's peek into the history of Japan and may find the film a bit unsettling because it does not follow the standard American Hollywood film format of having a happy ending.
Nevertheless, the film is a tribute to Japan, courage, and true love as we watch the young boy rise up from his poor condition, to join a band of outcasts who eventually prove to all they are worthy of being called samurai.
Best part of story, including ending:
Keanu Reeves has matured as actor immensely and he is now able to express subtleties of character that he has mastered.
Best scene in story:
When Kai says to his true love, when he knows he is about to die, “I will search for you through 1,000 worlds and 10,000 lifetimes!” This makes everyone cry. Extremely well done!
Opinion about the main character:
The main character Kai is very modest. He knows his position in society. He knows he does not fit in, but he also knows he loves a girl very deeply who he has no right to love, and he also knows that she loves him. Fantastic! He will fight to the death or die for her without question. Very romantic.