← Back to Reviews

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Another day, FINALLY more reviews...lol

Kill Bill (written and directed by Quentin Tarantino)

Five out of Five stars

The following review is of the entire Kill Bill, both volumes watched one after the other. this is an experience that must be had by all.

Quentin Tarantino's 4th film, Kill Bill is at once a brilliant bit of film making, a fierce (and funny) pull-out-all-the-stops action film, and a gleeful middle finger to the indie cinema establishment. The (admittedly thin) story follows a woman (Uma Thurman) known simply as "The Bride," and her bloody trek across many countries to get revenge on the man who put a bullet in her head on her wedding day, her former boss and lover, simply named Bill. But it is hardly going to be easy. Bill's operatives, The Deadly Viper Assasination Squad, comprised of Suburban housewife Vernita Green (Vivica Fox), Yakuza boss O-ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Bill's sad sack little brother Budd (Michael Madsen), and the sarcastic and lethal assasin Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) all lie in wait before she can get to the man himself.

Volume One:

The first Volume is almost entirely action. It is a two hour homage to Asian action cinema, the hard boiled anti-heroes of John Woo, the noble samurai warriors of Akira Kurosawa, the lightening fast action of Shaw Brothers films, and even the brutal cool of Anime, all get the Tarantino treatment, with dazzling results. Unlike Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," "Kill Bill Volume 1" doesn't attempt to make the martial arts genre poetic or respectable, it instead celebrates just how fun b-grade kung-fu films really are. The fights are spectacular and bloody, well staged and brutal. But what makes Kill Bill vol. 1 really stand out is in the performances. Uma Thurman is the epitome action movie cool, with her death eye stare and fierce determination. She wisely underplays the character, letting her actions (and some dead cool dialogue) define her. Lucy Liu is great as the first part's primary nemesis, the icy boss of the Tokyo underworld, letting a few well placed bits of shocking violence establish her character, and she also gets the only backstory in the entire movie, an animated sequence that literally took my breath away. Kill Bill Volume one also features appearnces by hong kong legends Sonny Chiba (the Street Fighter) and Gordon Liu (The 36 Chambers of Shaolin), as well as cult heroine Chiaki Kuriyama (Battle Royale). Noticable in his absence, although his presence is felt throughout the film, is Bill. His voice is heard and he is built up as a major threat, but Tarantino wisely keeps him out of sight untill....

Volume Two:

Volume two finds the Bride en route to kill Bill and finds the emotional core of the story that was missing in the first half. Unlike volume one, where she was an unstoppable juggernaut of revenge, volume two makes her more fallable, and ultimately more human. It also introduces us fully to characters only really hinted at in the beginning of vol. 1, Bill, Budd, and Elle Driver. Budd is a bouncer at a strip joint run by a cocaine addicted boss, and has had a falling out with his brother Bill. Elle, bill's top assasin and current lover, is just ice cold and unfeeling, almost the opposite number of the Bride, who is motivated entirely by emotion. and what to say about Bill? Bill is ruthless, cruel, sadistic...and a very sad old man nearing the end of his days. Yes, absolutely is what it seems in the world of this film, and Tarantino delights in shocking, surprising, and even delivering an emotional impact heretofore not seen in any of his previous work. David Carradine pretty much owns the second film, his performance is one of menace, charm, humor, and heartbreak. He is a masterful actor and this should (and would in a perfect world) win him a best actor nomination at next years oscars. Michael Madsen plays against type, stripping away all of the cool of his iconic "mr. Blonde" and instead playing a beaten down, alcoholic loser who won't forgive or forget, and who seems to have already accepted his eventual death. Daryl Hannah is all business as a double crossing assasin and delivers the best performance of her career. also look for Gordon Liu (again) playing brutal martial arts master (and Shaw Brothers staple) Pai Mei in a brilliant and funny flashback sequence. (the original Pai Mei, Lo Lieh, famed star of "five fingers of death" passed away in 2002 and was not available to reprise his role as the impossibly skilled master.) Volume 2 borrows from the film styles of italian directors Sergio Leone, mario Bava and Lucio Fulci without ever seeming derivative, setting it apart from it's manic first half.

Kill Bill deserves to be viewed in it's original form as a four hour long movie about love, hate, revenge, and eventually, redemption. It's easily the best film i have seen in years and It comes with my HIGHEST possible recommendation.