Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of featurette; 5,6,7,8's perform
'Jayne Mansfield' and 'I'm Blue'; Kill Bill Volume 2 teaser; Kill
Bill Volume 1 teaser and trailer.
PICTURE the scene. A beautiful blonde approaches the front door
of a picture-perfect suburban dwelling, complete with childrens
toys strewn across the front lawn, and knocks. Upon answering,
she is greeted by an equally-attractive black woman, whom she
promptly punches in the face.
Five minutes later, the two women square off to each other, armed
with hunting knives and covered in blood, while the young daughter
of the home-owner walks up the drive, on her way home from school.
We can only be in Quentin Tarantino territory
Such scenes are typical of the perverse lengths the director
will go to appeal to the darker side of our psychology. In the
Movie World and Quentin Universe of Tarantinos
school of film-making, the more extreme the situation, the more
likely it is to become forever lodged in our collective film-going
And Tarantino has a penchant for taking it to the max, as exemplified
by his ear-splicing arrival, in Reservoir
Dogs, or his bloody bursts of gun-letting, in Pulp
Fiction, or even the memorable torture sequence between Christopher
Walken and Dennis Hopper, in True
Romance (which he wrote).
No one does violence like Quentin Tarantino. Its brutal,
even barbaric, yet one cant help watching it with some sort
of appreciative grin. The directors skill lies in his ability
to make violence appear hip, even funky (courtesy of the well-chosen
soundtrack and a relish for black humour), while those who dish
it out assume the sort of instant iconic status usually reserved
for the likes of Steve McQueen or early Paul Newman.
Hence, Kill Bill: Volume One, his fourth film as director, is
the epitome of cool - a brilliantly-realised homage to the likes
of Sergio Leone and the Asian kung-fu films of the Seventies,
which makes graphic, heavily-stylised violence seem like an art
It stars Uma Thurman as the lone survivor of a wedding party
massacre, known only as The Bride, who embarks on a quest for
revenge after spending four years in a coma.
Volume One finds the former assassin singling out the first two
members of an elite group of assassins, known as the Deadly Viper
Assassination Squad, or DiVAS, while Volume Two, which follows
next February, presents the mouth-watering prospect of her finding,
and killing, Bill (the man who orchestrated her ambush).
Along the way, Tarantino presents his usual dazzling array of
oddball characters and quirky dialogue that have become a trademark,
while also unleashing a hitherto untapped flair for outlandish
set pieces, more usually associated with the likes of the Wachowski
brothers, or John Woo.
For Kill Bill, he appears to have dispensed with the painful
self-indulgences of Jackie Brown (his one, true, disappointment)
and gone for out-and-out crowd-pleasing , bringing Volume One
to a close with one of the most jaw-droppingly blood-thirsty action
extravaganzas ever unleashed by Hollywood.
The Brides 20-minute samurai sword battle with 80-plus
minions of killer-turned-yakuza boss, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) is
a virtuoso moment, a gloriously choreographed orgy of violence,
that will leave you breathless with excitement. Limbs fly, heads
roll, and blood sprays everywhere, yet it contains a visceral
beauty that belies its content, courtesy of the presence of Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragons supremo, Yeun Wo-ping, as martial
It is during moments such as these that Kill Bill deserves instant
recognition as a classic in the mould of the directors first
two movies, as well as being a keenly-observed tribute to the
genres it seeks to honour, which are too numerous to list.
For here, Tarantino has achieved what he set out to - bringing
audiences a sequence unlike anything else they are likely to see
for a long time. As the director, himself, states in interview,
Volume One is a straight-ahead, heart-pumping, sit on the
edge of your seat, wow-type of experience, which
should have fans baying for Volume Two.
Yet Volume One isnt just about the finale, there are plenty
of moments to savour along the way, from an anime sequence, involving
the back story of Lius assassin, to The Brides time
spent with martial arts legend, Sonny Chibas samurai sword-maker.
And his cast reads like a whos who of classic cinema, from
the young girl assassin last seen in Battle
Royale, to David Carradines towering presence as Bill
- whom we never see, but feel the presence of throughout. Thurman,
too, provides a force and energy to be reckoned with.
The more cynical may suggest that Kill Bill lacks an emotional
resonance that the director dismisses as churlish, for this is
designed to get people off, and does so with aplomb.
Volume Two is when things become more complex, and characterisation
After a six-year, self-enforced absence, cinemas wild child
is back as only he knows how, tearing up convention and delivering
an adrenaline-blast which is every bit as sharp and as thrilling
as a swing of The Brides blade. It is a film to be amazed
by, many times over.