Thursday, April 22, 2004

Rambling, Incoherent Kill Bill Vol 2 review!

I loved this movie.
Simple words. Direct. To the point. But it hardly conveys how I feel about this movie, and about the two film series in its totality.

When last we left Uma Thurman's Bride, she was done with the first two names on her To Kill list and working her way toward the titular reckoning with her former employer/paramour Bill (David Carradine). After disposing of Vernita Green and O-Ren Ishii, she still has Budd and Elle Driver to deal with before she can move on to the main event, though.

To say that this movie is a love letter to exploitation cinema is an understatment. Tarantino is a fan, first and foremost. He liberally thieves from those who blazed the trail before him, but he does it out of adoration for the medium.
I like movies. Hell, I'd say I love movies. I own a couple hundred on DVD. Tarantino's love goes FAR beyond that. I'd venture to guess he dreams in technicolor.
The man can communicate in scenes from other movies, painting with a vivid pallette of film moments. That's the magic of his work in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and Kill Bill. None of it's really anything you've not seen before, and yet it all feels brand new.

There's nothing original about the story of an person left for dead seeking revenge against those who have wronged her. Hell, some people consider the revenge film a genre of its own.
The Bride's journey crosses genre and cinematic convention at will, the reality of her world a skewed landscape of martial arts, spaghetti westerns, exploitation and sheer badassness. Coupled with the director's nonlinear approach, the viewer jumps into the significant events of the Bride's life, beginning with her death at the hands of Bill and his Deadly Viper Assasination Squad.
As we know from Vol. 1, the Bride survived getting shot in the head. But, we hadn't seen WHY she ended up on the wrong side of Bill's pistol. Or, how she became the deadliest woman on earth. Or, for that matter, we never quite caught her name, as they continually bleeped it out.

Honestly, the name isn't that big a deal or reveal. It's just one of those little touches that Tarantino embellished the movie with to add a slight air of mystery. It makes the Bride a nameless engine of death and destruction. Which is exactly what she was in Vol. 1. In the conclusion, however, she becomes fully human again. We see why she walked away from her life as a jet-setting international assassin. We see her new life in the smiling faces of her wedding guests. We see her hard heart and resolve melt when confronted by her living daughter.

Most of all, we see the great love between the Bride and Bill. There was a bond between them that neither even tries to deny. However, in spite of that love, things were done that can't be undone. Not that Bill is gonna lay down and die. If anything, the knowledge that one of them must die makes Bill even more dangerous.
Bill is a coiled snake. He named his DiVAS after venoumous reptiles for a reason. And the presumption that you're ever safe with him will be your last.
David Carradine's performance in this movie is outstanding. Sure, the guy's a geek god for Kung Fu. But, he shows a charisma and presence that few have EVER shown onscreen before. Bill is a bigger badass than Chow Yun-Fat. He dominates the screen as well as Clint Eastwood in his heyday. And he's as seductive and charming as Lugosi in Dracula or the Connery Bond. I've never thought much of Carradine, though I've liked a lot of the stuff he's been in. I hereby renounce any and all bad things I've ever said about the man. He rocks. (By the way, his half-brother Keith also whupped serious ass this year on HBO's Deadwood.)

You fuck with Bill to your regret.
You underestimate Bill, and you're dead.
Simple. Direct. And primal.
But, of course, not nearly that neat and compact. Bill DOES love The Bride. And he believes in actually giving her a chance. He's not fighting fair at all...but neither is she. Their honor only goes so far...

If there's one thing I could have wished for in this would have been more time spent watching The Bride and Pai Mei (Gordon Liu). The relationship between the two characters was much richer in the script, and I sorely missed a few bits of explanation and foreshadowing that ended up on the cutting room floor.
Speaking of outtakes...stay through the credits. ALL the way through. There's a wee little out of character moment for you to enjoy.
At this point, I'm super-stoked for a super-deluxe DVD release with oodles of cut scenes and extras and commentaries and cool shit. After all, DVDs are candy to movie geeks. And as King of the Geeks, QT should be handing out the best swag. Until then, I think I need to see the movie once or twice more before I'm done in the theater. I'm a happy boy, yes I am. And I've got this movie to thank for it.

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