Greetings and salutations all.
At the halfway point on our director series featuring writer/director Quentin Tarantino we take a look at some at the two part martial arts revenge flicks Kill Bill Vol 1 and Vol 2. If you have never seen these movies – and really you should, they are awesome – I will be going into some deep spoiler territory so a SPOILER ALERT is in order.
Here we go:
#1 Super cool characters
One thing old QT is good at is giving us some memorable characters. He reteams with Pulp Fiction‘s Uma Thurman for this double feature and she plays former assassin Beatrix “Black Mamba” Kiddo. Thurman gives a driven, intense and at times witty performance. She is on a mission of revenge and you root for her every step of the way.
Also returning from previous Tarantino films are Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown) in a cameo. Newcomers include David Carradine as the titular Bill, whose voice alone in the first film is riveting and performance in the second masterful. Darryl Hannah and Vivica A. Fox are on par as assassins and Lucy Liu is beautiful and deadly as O-Ren Ishii.
#2 Beautiful, bloody action
It’s a Tarantino film (or films rather) so you know sooner or later there will be blood and buckets of it. In Vol 1 we have the infinitely rewatchable scene where Kiddo takes on the Crazy 88s. It is over the top, full of gore and one of my favourite action sequences ever. This bloody cake is topped off with the epic battle against the psychopathic Gogo. And leave it to Tarantino to switch things up with some black and white and a young Yakuza getting his butt spanked.
The sword fight with O-Ren is brief but gorgeously shot and bursting with tension and atmosphere. In Vol 2, however, there was less action to be had and the final showdown with Bill was more a crossing of words than a crossing of swords. But with Tarantino’s writing watching two characters sitting and chatting is better than some 90 minute big budget movies.
#3 A Return to Style
In the previous installment of the director series we looked at Jackie Brown where the director changed up his style from his first two films and followed a more linear story with conventional shooting techniques. But in the Kill Bills we do get Tarantino setting his story in chapters, mixing up the story a bit, and including an animated sequence for the tale of O-Ren’s origin.
We get a mix of old style martial arts films (kick ups as we call them in Trinidad), westerns and a touch of survival drama. When a woman on a hospital bed trying to wriggle her big toe has you drawn in then you are doing something right. It reaches a point where you are not really sure what will happen next and that is a wonderful place to be in. And that soundtrack? It bores into your brain and sets up shop.
#4 Riveting plot
At its core the story of Kill Bill is pretty straight forward revenge fare. But it is told so beautifully, with such care and attention and style and uniqueness that it is unforgettable. The scene where Bill dies is a cinematic work of art. The scene where Kiddo is on her bed after being reunited with her daughter and going through a roller coaster of emotions is powerful. Over the years Tarantino has spoken about a possible third film – the last time was just last year – and I for one would be excited to revisit the Bride and be drawn into her adventures.
Rating: Kill Bill Vols 1 and 2 get 3.75/4 wiggling big toes.
So are you a fan of the Kill Bill movies? And how do you feel about a possible third film? Feel free to comment below.
For part two of this series and my review of Pulp Fiction you can click here and for part three and my review of Jackie Brown you can click here. For part five next Tuesday we will look at Death Proof. For this and other cool movie reviews you can check back redmangoreviews Monday to Saturday and follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates.
Julien got your back like a chiropractor. l8rs