Director: Mimi Leder
Stars: George Clooney, Nicole Kidman
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 128 minutes

Set during the troubled times between the arrival of Admiral Perry in 1853 and the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Peace Maker (2003) feels like a prequel to Rurouni Kenshin. Tetsunosuke "Tetsu" Ichimura has sworn to avenge the murder of his parents by anti-Tokugawa agents. He's determined to join the Shinsengumi, a group of ronin (masterless samurai) the Shogun organized to protect the capitol. At 15, Tetsu is brash, stubborn, and impetuous: qualities that bring him into conflict with the iron discipline of vice-commander Hijikata. But Tetsu's resolute spirit charms the effete swordsman Souji Okita, who intercedes with Hijikata: The Shinsengumi warriors conceal their deadly skills behind goofy behavior. Although Tetsu can be annoying, Peace Maker has an historic sweep that is difficult to resist. Many of the characters and incidents are based in fact, although the filmmakers take considerable liberties. (Rated 15 and older: violence, tobacco use, risqué humor) --Charles Solomon

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