It's not a great movie but it is a good one. I watched it again today just to be sure too.
It's essentially about two masters of war, toe-to-toe and learning more about each other, and this is what I liked most in this last viewing. I think Ken Watanabe and Tom Cruise make a good pairing- I would like to have seen more of their "conversations" as they form the soul of the movie and could have been developed further.
The scenes in Katsumoto's village are sensitively done and beautifully shot, and conversely the battle sequences are overblown. I much prefer the one-on-one fights as Cruise's Algren learns to become present.
A lot has been said and resented about this kind of story where the white man is the saviour the natives, and but since it is so sensitively done and well made I can't help but forgive it.
The last act has cheesiness only an American film maker could pull off, and I can't help but get the feeling that this story would have been better served by a Japanese hand. Saying that though, it serves as a good introduction to Japanese/Samurai culture for younger generations more accustomed to the Hollywood style of film making.
Thanks for the question!