Soundtrack Review: The Last Samurai

Soundtrack Review: The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai Soundtrack Review: This is a review of The Last Samurai by Hans Zimmer.

At a glance:

11 tracks
60 minutes of score
Geek Score: 100
Total Minutes Of Score: 59.9
Album Excellence: 100%
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How are the scores calculated and what does it mean?

Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai from 2003 is a great movie despite being (probably) a bit unrealistic. Tom Cruise stars as the drunken American who becomes a Samurai. Unlikely? Yeah probably. Nevertheless it provides good entertainment so who am I to argue? The score is composed by Hans Zimmer and this review is part of Composer Of The Month. I remember I watched the movie in 2003 and thought it was good entertainment, but I can’t remember the score when I think about the movie. I can remember probably ever note of the score after listening to it so many times since then.

There are two big themes here, the “zen” theme heard in ‘A Way Of Life’ and the “warrior” theme heard in ‘Spectres In The Fog’. There’s also a beautiful zen-like theme in ‘A Hard Teacher’. See, these themes are great on it’s own but the way Zimmer has put the cues together is simply perfection. I don’t think I know any score that has a more perfect theme-ratio than The Last Samurai. It’s used exactly right. The “zen” theme is probably heard best in ‘A Way Of Life’ and ‘A Small Measure Of Peace’, but my absolute favorite cue is all about the “warrior” theme. ‘Red Warrior’ is my go to cue and the one cue I have heard way more than the score itself. This cue is better than coffee. Let me explain. Every morning when I wake up, I can barely open my eyes, everything is blurry. Then I play ‘Red Warrior’ in front of the mirror. I have hands down on the side, but with closed fists. My head is slightly down and my eyes closed. I am waiting for the attack, the big battle that is upcoming, I am waiting to finally wake up and seize the day. Then it happens. 1:10 and onwards. My head is lowly tilting upward, my eyes are slowly opening and then the warrior’s cry comes at 1:21 “Yaaaaaaaah” and I open my mouth, and scream without making a sound. It’s my inner chi, it’s the force, it’s whatever you want it to be, but it fills me with such energy. Then when the warrior’s go “Siiiiaaaa!” a number of time, my fists are punching in front of the mirror and poor sucker who gets in my way because I am going into battle, invincible, untouchable. That’s what ‘Red Warrior’ gives me and there’s no cue like it, not that I’ve heard anyway. It’s probably mine and Zimmer’s finest moment.

It all ends in the most beautiful, epic, heroic and inspirational way possible with ‘The Way Of The Sword’ and ‘A Small Measure Of Peace’.

The Last Samurai is in many ways the Zimmer score I come back to the most. It’s mostly because of ‘Red Warrior’, but I love the zen-like themes. ‘Idyll’s End’ for example, the way it builds up with gorgeous ostinatos is enough to make me very happy. This score is very special to me as you probably have gathered by now. One of the best scores I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

1. A Way Of Life
2. Spectres In The Fog
3. Taken
4. A Hard Teacher
5. To Know My Enemy
6. Idyll’s End
7. Safe Passage
8. Ronin
9. Red Warrior
10. The Way Of The Sword
11. A Small Measure Of Peace

GD Star Rating
Soundtrack Review: The Last Samurai, 9.2 out of 10 based on 32 ratings


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