Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

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Released 1999

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Movie Summary

Director:
Jim Jarmusch
Released:
1999
Rating:
R
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a dark and quirky film that explores tensions between traditional warrior philosophies and modern criminal culture. Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) is a mafia hitman who follows Hagakure, the code of samurai warriors. He lives a life of solitude, spending most of his time caring for the homing pigeons he uses to communicate with his mobster boss Louie (John Tomey). When Ray Vargo (Henry Silva), the head of the mafia, takes out a hit on his daughter Louise's (Tricia Vessey) lover, Ghost Dog does his duty and executes the man. Unfortunately for Ghost Dog, Louise witnessed the murder, and to conceal his part in the death Vargo issues a hit on Ghost Dog. As his former employers close in for the kill, Ghost Dog begins to realize that he may be forced to make an impossible choice between preserving his life and preserving his honor.

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times

    It's a nearly pitch-perfect melding of genres, influences and modes of expression--it's the first Mafia movie for the hip-hop age.

  • 60

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    There is a lot of violence, but not much action; a plot involving vengeance, jealousy and double-crossing, but not a great deal of suspense.

  • 40

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    The gambits in Ghost Dog seem simply like literary and cinematic games devoid of any larger meaning.

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    Action & Adventure