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Kill Bill: Volume 2 (18)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of. Chingon performance from the Kill Bill Volume 2 premiere; Damoe deleted scene.

IF KILL Bill: Volume One was ‘a straight-ahead, heart-pumping, sit on the edge of your seat, ‘wow’-type of experience’, then Volume Two marks the point at which things really get serious, when motives become explained, and past sins are revisited.

Having dispensed with former colleagues, O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green, in spectacularly grandiose fashion, only Michael Madsen’s Budd and Daryl Hannah’s Elle Driver stand in the way of The Bride’s most prized victim, Bill - but you can bet her path to bloody retribution is far from easy.

As director, Quentin Tarantino, himself, states: "Now it’s easy to lose your way as far as The Bride’s journey is concerned. Now we slow down a little bit, we get to know the characters, and things aren’t one, two, three. Real life rears its ugly head into her journey."

The result is another brilliantly realised piece of film-making, a bravura masterpiece which revels in its ability to repulse and delight, in equal measure, while marking a welcome return for the trademark Tarantino dialogue and complex characterisations that many found lacking from its adrenaline-fuelled predecessor.

Kill Bill: Volume 2 is, in short, a worthy conclusion to a superb opening chapter, that will have movie buffs everywhere shrieking with approval.

What’s more, it consistently manages to surprise, throwing in plenty of plot twists along the way to The Bride’s inevitable confrontation with Bill, and filling audiences with a foreboding sense of dread at the thought of seeing just how sinister these characters can become.

Madsen’s washed-up Budd, for example, is a particularly loathsome character, a killer-turned strip club bouncer, who views his impending encounter with Uma Thurman’s Bride as an opportunity to get rich once more.

His treatment of The Bride, at one stage of proceedings, is every bit as merciless as the actor’s handling of a captured policeman in his Mr Blonde/Reservoir Dogs persona, yet he remains every bit as charismatic as that villain, even if a little flabbier.

Hannah, too, builds on the promise she displayed, fleetingly, in Volume One, more than justifying her description, by all who know her, as ‘a heartless bitch’, and providing the platform for a genuinely thrilling showdown with Thurman.

But it is David Carradine’s eponymous villain who remains the most memorable, as the spurned love interest of Thurman’s Bride, whose impudent reaction triggers far-reaching consequences for himself, and his organisation.

His scenes with Thurman positively crackle with energy, while their final moments together look destined to become part of movie folklore.

Yet as violent as proceedings become, Volume Two has a heart as well, which makes the stronger stuff easier to stomach, and the ending all the more poignant. This is, at the end of the day, a love story, it would seem, which is every bit as warped and perverted as we have come to expect from Tarantino.

At two hours and 20 minutes, Kill Bill: Volume 2 could so easily have fallen victim to the same sort of self-indulgent excess that made Jackie Brown so tedious, yet it never puts a foot wrong, with each chapter proving as memorable as the last, and packed with classic moments.

And while the set piece fight scenes continue to exhilarate, as they did in the first film, it is the verbal exchanges which consistently make the biggest impression, embellishing his characters with the cool rhetoric we have come to expect from a Tarantino production.

This is, to coin a phrase from the film itself, the director at his most roaring and rampaging, and bloody satisfaction is all but guaranteed.

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