Kill Bill (Vol. 1 & 2)
I finally got around to seeing Kill Bill Vol. 2 having seen the first one about a couple years ago. I really struggled whether to write one review for both movies, or to write one for each volume. I decided with the former because Kill Bill was originally supposed to be one really long movie, until director Quentin Tarantino decided split it; he knew too much would wind up on the cutting room floor.
Kill Bill is the saga of The Bride (Uma Thurman) exacting revenge on the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and their leader Bill (David Carradine) for shooting up her wedding and leaving her for dead. The movies show The Bride’s hunt of the squad, one member at a time.
It is kind of weird knowing both volumes originally were supposed to constitute one movie considering how different the feel of each was. Volume 1 was more or less Tarantino paying homage to his favorite anime. Volume 1 was full of sword fights and Japanese cultural references. To top it off, there was an entire sequence animated by renowned studio Production IG, known for making anime like Ghost in the Shell and FLCL. On the other hand, Volume 2 was demonstrating how Tarantino was a fan of both the spaghetti western and the kung fu genres. There, the katana fights were kept to a minimum with a greater emphasis on Chinese martial arts with closeups a la Sergio Leone and a score by Ennio Morricone; a Morricone tune was actually lifted from A Fistful of Dollars and put into one scene as was Neu!’s Super 16 from Legend of the Flying Guillotine augmenting another.
Nonetheless, both volumes were quintessential Tarantino: long, violent, and sharply written. Many of the action sequences were completely over the top with violence many would consider gratuitous; one I can think of is in Volume 2 when Uma Thurman’s character does a jump kick through an open door following a perfectly horizontal path as if gravity had absolutely no influence on her. That also shows what I admire about Tarantino: He is willing to defy logic if he knows the result will look cool. Why was the fight between the Bride and the Crazy 88 in black and white? It looks cool. Why was there a snow-covered rock garden behind O-ren Ishii’s (Lucy Liu) restaurant? It would look cool to set a sword fight there.
More so than creating amazing visuals, Tarantino really shined as a writer with sharp dialogue. Somehow Tarantino can make lines that would sound stupid if said in real life seem badass when spoken by his characters. The scene that exemplifies this is when The Bride interrogated Bill’s lover Sophie (Julie Dreyfus) at the end of the first film.
Overall, the best way to describe Kill Bill is that it is really fun to watch with rich visuals, cool dialogue, an epic story, and surprisingly deep characters. It is definitely one (or two) movie(s) I would recommend seeing.