Kill Bill

Review No. 524

I am woman, watch me “Kill Bill”.

NOTE: THIS IS A DOUBLE-REVIEW (MY VERY FIRST), REGARDING BOTH VOLUMES OF QUENTIN TARANTINO’S “KILL BILL”.

Kill Bill 1 and 2
A-MINUS

WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY QUENTIN TARANTINO. PRODUCED BY LAWRENCE BENDER. STARRING UMA THURMAN (BEATRIX “THE BRIDE” KIDDO AKA BLACK MAMBA), DAVID CARRADINE (BILL AKA SNAKE CHARMER), LUCY LIU (O-REN ISHII AKA COTTONMOUTH), VIVICA A. FOX (VERNITA GREEN AKA COPPERHEAD), MICHAEL MADSEN (BUDD AKA SIDEWINDER), DARYL HANNAH (ELLE DRIVER AKA CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN STATE), GORDON LIU (V1 – JOHNNY MO; V2 – PAI MEI). BOTH VOLUMES DISTRIBUTED BY MIRAMAX FILMS: VOL. 1 DISTRIBUTED ON OCTOBER 10, 2003; VOL. 2 DISTRIBUTED ON APRIL 16, 2004. VOL. 1 PRODUCED IN ENGLISH, JAPANESE, AND FRENCH BY THE UNTED STATES. VOL. 2 PRODUCED IN ENGLISH, CANTONESE, MANDARIN, AND SPANISH BY THE UNITED STATES. RUNS 4 HOURS, 7 MNUTES. VOL. 1 RUNS 1 HOUR, 51 MINUTES. VOL. 2 RUNS 2 HOURS, 16 MINUTES. NOT FOR CHILDREN, DUE TO GORE, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, PROFANITY, SEXUAL ABUSE, DRUG CONTENT, AND SEXUAL SITUATIONS.

KILL BILL WAS WATCHED ON JULY 13, 2013.

“Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down.”
–“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” by Nancy Sinatra

This review discounted, I have reviewed four of Quentin Tarantino’s films. If you’re the guy who sits back and wonders why you haven’t seen a single one of those titles, I’d recommend starting the oeuvre soon with Kill Bill. The movie was released in two separate “volumes,” and it all clocks in at over four hours. Just try and fathom that a movie so long, with a plot so thin, could be so fiercely engaging.

kill_bill_i

Just as fierce and fearless as her Mia Wallace role, a decade earlier.

I guess it’s rather generous to say the plot is “thin.” The first five seconds says it all–an intertitle bearing the phrase, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” The plot concerns a woman known as “The Bride” (Uma Thurman) and her attempts to hunt down Bill (David Carradine), her former boss who left her for dead, with the assistance of his equally sadistic colleagues. She has an advantage, as she has merely sprung out of a coma in reaction to a mosquito bite, but it’s not an advantage she can keep all too easily.

It’s as simple as plots get, but the movie puts a style-over-substance forbearance to great use. Forget Uma Thurman’s outstanding performance, and forget the dialogue, though, of course, there’s a good amount of it in Tarantino’s screenplay. Here’s a movie that treats ADHD filmmaking (minus the “AD”) as a religion, randomly, albeit awesomely, driving back and forth between each and every style put to celluloid. Italian horror, Japanese anime, spaghetti western, Mexican game show esque camera zooms, low-budget MTV attire. You name it, it’s homaged here; it’s the sort of audacious filmmaking that must be seen to be believed. And then you have the special touch of Tarantino–or one of the special touches–where you’re dying to go back again.

Postscript: Every Tarantino film grabs you back for a second serving (or convinces you that you will go for seconds at one point or another), but I actually need to return to Kill Bill.  I was so excited to get back into the movie world after back surgery, that I made the mistake of watching both volumes just a day or two after the operation.  Damn painkillers made me forget almost everything about the movie, except for little details, such as that it flew by and that I loved it.  (Just a side note that isn’t of importance, but I thought I’d put it out there anyway.)

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29 thoughts on “Kill Bill

            • That would make perfect sense, actually. IMDb says another working title is “Kill Beatrix”. Not sure why Tarantino wouldn’t go for that though. Most websites just have his thoughts as, “Probably not,” but after a little research, I found this on moviesonline.ca (originally from JoBlo and, in turn, QT’s blog):

              “So I’m sitting here thinking, “F[##]k, if I could, I would,” and I’d like to make it my DOLLARS TRILOGY, but I don’t think it’s a realistic possibility at this point, alright”, Tarantino says of a third chapter. “If I did make it it would be years and years from now (like 14 or 15) and the plot would be about Vivica Fox’s daughter seeking revenge on The Bride, after she killed her mother. It’s cool because that scene where she kills her in front of the girl in KILL BILL seemed sort of open to expansion.
              But by then Uma would be a lot older. I’d be a lot older. It would have nothing to do with killing Bill. It could be called KILL BRIDE but that’s f[##]king corny. By then I’ll be lucky to still have a job, and nobody will give a rat’s ass about KILL BILL anymore (or, if I’m lucky, it’ll just be a fond memory.)

              If I get the chance…f[##]k yeah I’d do it…but basically right now I’ve got my whole career for the next twenty years planned out. I want to take my time with directorial projects. I don’t want to be taking on two f[##]king movies a year like Spielberg did after he sold out, alright. That isn’t me. I want to keep the same quality going so in the next twenty years I’ll be lucky to make five or six movies. I want to go out in glory.

              KILL BILL 3 might be a good bookend to my directorial career but chances are slim that it would ever actually happen. Uma hasn’t really shown interest (we talked briefly about it a few weeks ago). I think she’s past that s[##]t now and I don’t blame her. I love KILL BILL but the question is…in 15 years will I still want to be making it? Will Uma? Will I wanna risk f[##]king up the first two?

              Hell no. So we’ll see where this s[##]t goes.”

              None of it makes sense to me as a reason not to do the film. And it’s funny he should mention it as his own Dollars trilogy that he doesn’t want to finish off. I seem to remember reading that Tarantino told his own friend Robert Rodriguez that El Mariachi and Desperado were the start of Rodriguez’s own Dollars trilogy, which eventually convinced him to make Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I’m probably not the first to notice, and I’m guessing there’s several filmmaking juggernauts who have used the same pep talk for Tarantino. He’s as stubborn as a person gets, though.

              I guess if QT doesn’t want to do the film, though, then no one should try and force him to do it. Not just because he just won’t do it on someone else’s terms, but also because he’s best when he’s working with his own material. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 & 2, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained fly by and are so much fun. Whereas his five minutes of work on Sin City stands out against the rest of the movie; Death Proof feels a bit forced as the second half of Grindhouse; and Jackie Brown drags a bit sometimes because it’s based on a book.

              P.S.: I just revisited Kill Bill Vol. 1 tonight. So much better the second time, especially when I’m fully aware of it and able to remember it hahah.

    • I agree. Although my personal favorite of his is Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill proves that while the plot’s thinning out over four hours makes it seem like the dreaded “style over substance” approach, it’s entertaining because the substance is actually hidden in the style most of the time. As soon as my Blu-Ray comes in from Amazon, I’ll try and see how long it takes me to lose count of how many different movies/TV shows/genres are homaged (and how many times for each of them, to challenge myself further).

      Not that I’d heard it many times prior to watching Kill Bill, but I doubt I’ll ever think of Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” cover the same way again.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

  1. Both flicks are awesome, even if the first one always remains my favorite out of the two. I felt like QT should have really went to town with series and had them released as one, whole movie. That’s just me though. Good review.

    • I watched them straight through, but I’m led to believe that getting up to switch movies, even if it’s for just fifteen seconds, makes all the difference. Or even pressing a remote; a psychologist would know better than myself. It’s valid with Kill Bill, as any four hour movie without a break is “too long.” Same with Grindhouse. I watched the “extended and unrated” editions of both segments back to back the other day (that’s an additional half hour to significantly change the pacing) and I was thoroughly entertained. But the last thirty minutes of the theatrical cut seemed to bore critics back in its ’07 run.

    • Not sure. As I mentioned in the footnote, I barely remember either one of them, and I forgot to look for a preference as I watched. I will watch them again, though. I ordered the “double feature” Blu-Ray from Amazon yesterday.

  2. Back surgery … ouch,,, hope you are feeling better. A kill Bill marathon while hopped up pain killers actually sounds like a lot of fun. 😉

    I have not seen these two films in a few years, I should dig them out of my DVD/Blu-ray cabinet and give them a watch.

    • Yeah it was fun. I don’t know if it’s just natural for someone who appreciates movies, but after about a day of post-op, it seemed like the only time I wasn’t hallucinating (the most gruesomely twisted side effect imaginable in any painkiller) was during Kill Bill. Even if I actually was, it probably wouldn’t matter. I think Tarantino reached his quota for “wildness” here, so a little push over the edge would have to come from the viewer’s mind hahah!

      Did you just say you’d have to “dig them out”? Are you disorganized, or do you actually have a larger collection of movies than myself? O.o

  3. The Kill Bill’s are a lot of fun.
    I agree with you about the plot being kind of thin, but the way he messes around with the timing of withholds most the information until the end. That made it a lot more emotional towards the end and I thought it worked wonderfully.

    • Again, I forget how it ended lol. I remember the climax, but as far as the ending, I’d have to take a guess and say…Bill died. But who knows, there’s a rumored Vol. 3 on the horizon.

      Weird how I don’t remember either ending, but both openings were unforgettable. The B&W Nancy Sinatra titles, and the MTV-ish continuation. I guess that’s part of QT being QT though. 😉

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