Today Tom Cruise has returned to be on everyone’s lips, not because of a new installment of Mission Impossiblebut for his return as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick – 95%, a role he played for the first time in Top Gun: Passion and Glory – 54% more than 30 years ago. However, leaving aside his controversies for being part of Scientology, the American actor had already been criticized in the past for his character as Nathan Algren in The Last Samurai- 65%, who were accused of being a “white savior” (white savior). Ken Watanabe, who co-starred in the film, thinks it’s an unfair accusation.
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The white savior trope is well known in Hollywood cinema, it is about a white character who saves another or other characters of color, either by supporting them financially or leading a people against their oppressors. The most obvious cases are Avatar – 83%, by James Cameron, where the white man is the “chosen” of an extraterrestrial species to free it from the oppression of the human being; and more recently Dune – 75%, based on the Frank Herbert novel, is also considered a white savior story by some.
In The last Samuraidirected by Edward Zwick, an American veteran named Nathan Algren travels to Japan to train soldiers, in order to confront the samurai, but is captured by the latter and adapts to their ways. He also befriends the leader of the samurai, Moritsugu Katsumoto (Watanabe), and they fight together to the end.
In a recent interview with The GuardianJapanese actor, currently appearing in the series Tokyo Vice – HBO Max’s 85% had this to say about the role of tom cruise in The last Samurai (via IndieWire):
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I didn’t think of it that way, I just thought that we had a chance to represent Japan in a way that we never could before. So we thought we were doing something special. Before ‘The Last Samurai,’ there was this stereotype of Asian people with glasses, crooked teeth and a camera.
Watanabe’s words refer to the racist character played by Mickey Rooney in the classic Diamonds for Breakfast – 88%. The actor continued:
It was stupid but after it came out [El Último Samurai]Hollywood tried to be more authentic when it came to Asian stories.
Watanabe’s performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, making him the fourth Japanese to do so, and the film was a box-office hit in Japan and around the world, with US $456.8 million raised globally. The last Samurai It was released in December 2003, so in a few months it will be 19 years old.
After that, the actor has had several important roles in Hollywood, such as Batman Begins – 84%, Memoirs of a Geisha – 35%, The Origin – 86% and Godzilla (2014) – 74%, among others. Cruise, for her part, received an honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where she performed Top Gun: Maverickand next year we will see it in the seventh installment of Mission Impossible.
The last Samurai It can currently be seen on HBO Max and on Amazon Prime Video; In addition to his nomination for Ken Watanabereceived Oscar nominations in the categories of Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Mixing, but that year it was impossible for it to win in any of those categories, since it was competing with the masterpiece The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King – 94%, who took 11 statuettes.
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