MovieChat Forums > The Last SamuraiĀ (2003) Discussion > How come Algren gets his ass kicked so b...

How come Algren gets his ass kicked so badly when he fights with the


wooden sword?
He was shown as an able swordsman with his sabre in the first battle.
Surely he would first of all, hold his ground better.
Secondly his sword fighting style would be much more effective (than shown) against a katana samurai.
I got the impression he wasn't even trying?
What do you think?

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He was a cavalryman, not a swordfighter. He was way out of his league as far as fencing goes.



"Two tigers cannot live on the same mountain"

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It seemed like the Samurai that he was fighting with the wooden sword was their best Samurai so I would assume he would lose to him. The people he was destroying originally in their fight in the woods could have been against the not so trained Samurai.

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I agree.

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Because the Japanese were better trained fighters than Americans, perhaps? In the 19th century, most Japanese warriors were still relying primarily on the same methods that their ancestors had done for centuries. Guns were still largely foreign to them.

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This isn't really true. The Imperial forces were mostly made up of commoners with zero experience in melee warfare, having mainly been drilled in the use of firearms, and the Satsuma rebels (the samurai in this movie) also used modern weapons for the most part, only reverting to swords and bows when their supplies ran low towards the end of their final battle. The movie made it look like they used their traditional weapons as a matter of course because it made for more romantic and heroic imagery, not to mention drawing a stark contrast between the two sides.

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Honk, thanks for playing. I hate to disagree. Gaijiin!

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In the 19th century, most Japanese warriors were still relying primarily on the same methods that their ancestors had done for centuries. Guns were still largely foreign to them.
Not true. That's Hollywood history. In the real world, the samurai began using guns in the 16th century during the Sengoku period, after they were introduced by the Portuguese.

The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of history.
-Mao Zedong

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Fencing is very different from fighting in the heat of battle.
Algren lacked both concentration and focus. Ujio definitely did not lack either of those.
Fencing is heavily dependent on concentration and focus.

Quidquid Latinae dictum sit, altum viditur.

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That entire scene was kind of odd, odd in that I can't get in Algrens head with this one. I don't know what he was trying to do.

Anyway, Algren wasn't even fighting correctly, he just hap hazzardly held it with one hand, no leverage, no power, it's like he was just messing around. When he was surrounded in the forrest he had the long spear/lanz and was fighting with passion, he used two hands and all of his strength. Besides it was a different weapon...the long spear versus the Japanese sword. As others have noted Ujio was their best swordsman.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what that scene was about. Algren knew he couldn't win the contest and had been beaten, I'm not sure why he was getting up over and over just to be beaten. Was he trying to make Ujio kill him (guilt over his past)? What did Ujio take from the encounter, marvel at his determination, that he wouldn't stop no matter what, did he abhor him more? Was Algren trying to prove a point? If so, what? It's a beautiful scene but it is also confusing.

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Why the hell would a cavalryman in an army based on ranged combat stand a chance against someone training in swordplay their entire lives?

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[deleted]

I'm not saying he would have had any real chance, what I was saying is that he would've fought better.

The scene is weird and it looks like Algren isn't even trying.

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[deleted]

It seems to me that Algren was trying to learn the culture of his captors and that would include their fighting style. That's why by the time he left to go back to the city he had gained the respect and friendship of most of the people. It's amazing how quickly such openness breaks down cultural barriers. I've worked in a dozen countries and in each one I did my best to learn the language, enjoy the food, wear local clothes, and behave and cat like you belong. All of my experiences were wonderful.

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