Tagline: In the year 2003, Uma Thurman will kill Bill
Synopsis: A former assassin, Bride wakes after a long coma to find that the baby she had been carrying was taken after her lover, Bill shot her. She decides to seek revenge on the assassination team that betrayed her – a team she was once part of.
Meat & Potatoes: Kill Bill Volume 1 is a two-part action thriller film originally released in 2003 and 2004 by writer–director Quentin Tarantino, and starring Uma Thurman as The Bride and the late David Carradine as Bill. After concerns and arguments over the run time, originally it was approximately four hours, the film was released in two ‘volumes’. Described by many as an epic-length revenge drama in the vein of earlier film genres, such as Hong Kong martial arts films, Japanese Chanbara films, exploitation films and Italian spaghetti westerns, Tarantino uses popular music and pop culture references as a framework for what amounts to extremely stylized violence.
Much time has passed since I conducted my own personal battle of sorts to get through this movie, let alone the second installment. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been an avid fan of Tarantino’s since True Romance (1993) and Christian Slater’s knock out his character, Clarence Worley. For those not aware of it, Tarantino wrote the film (Tony Scott directed the film, the perfect union between writer and director) and sold it in part to fund Reservoir Dogs – which btw, is probably my favorite Tarantino film with equal amounts of witty dialogue, action, and an epic gun battle. What troubles me about Tarantino’s films is their obvious descent into superficial pop-culture lollipops which over-the-top violence precariously perched at the precipice between the watchable and the avoidable. Jackie Brown, based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, symbolizes his last forray into the watchable and to be quite honest his films have lost their lustre for me. You can still find glimmers of the ‘old’ Tarantino in films like From Dusk til Dawn in 1996 (you can hardly go wrong with Harvey Keitel, but admittedly his career has seen its share of stones) but after the beginning of the film it drops rapidly into sight gags, women with machetes or machine guns, and ultra-violence for the sake of blood, splatter and tears. His closest ally seems to be Robert Rodriguez who has embraced his own uberstyle of violence-for-kids but he has always been one foot away from the unwatchable in my opinion.
Returning to Kill Bill V1. for a moment, as I think my review speaks for my undying dislike of post Jackie Brown Tarrantino. Casting aside the popularity of the twin-films and the search for something positive – it would appear that these films were responsible in part of the resurrection of Uma Thurman and David Carradine’s respective careers at the time, much in the fashion that Pulp Fiction saved John Travolta. All in all this film simply isn’t my cup of tea, preferring instead the banter and boisterous exchange between well thought out characters in interesting stories where dialogue is first and action is relegated to its proper place – as un under garment to make the supple more supple and the benign a short guest of passing intentions.
Bits & Bites: Daryl Hannah, perhaps most notable to serious Cinemaphiles for her roles in films throughout the 1980s, Blade Runner, Splash, Wall Street and Roxanne gave an interview to the folks over at ‘everything tarantino’ you might find interesting. “It [script] was the size of a phone book. A phone book!” she repeats. Honey, that should have been reason enough to get out of there.
Check this OUT if you want to read Roger Ebert completely disagree with me.
And to add insult to injury, a third installment of Kill Bill is on the horizon – slotted at your favorite mega-plex for 2014. Sigh. 😦
Similar Films: Kill Bill V.2.
The Closer: Ultra-violent, genre bending, stylized hipster flick as told by Quentin Tarrantino with help from Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, and Michael Madsen. Watch it or don’t watch it. Once is enough for me.