October 12, 2003

Kill Bill, Volume 1

I am a fan of Quentin Tarantino films, if for no other reason than because they standout from most other Hollywood fare. Whether it’s the dialogue, the characters or his signature non-linear storytelling style, his films give you something you don’t see every time you go to the theater, and recall a long gone golden age of films.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 happily falls in line. The plot, like Tarantino’s other films, is simple and to the point, less about the story and more about the path through the story. This time out it’s revenge, and Uma Thurman (known only as “The Bride”) is the one out for it. Like his others before it, the film serves up a healthy dose of ultra-violence, overly-stylish settings, dialogue thick enough to gnaw on, and of course, unforgettable, waaay larger-than-life characters. What we are left with is an exciting genre piece where Tarantino’s classic Kung-Fu fetish wins out, with nods to The Green Hornet, Game of Death, and the rest of the Asian cinema invasion of the States from the late 60’s and 70’s.

We open with The Bride getting offed during her wedding by her fellow DVAS (short for The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Get it, Divas? Zing!) and film-namesake, Bill (Though we don’t actually get to see his face, the raspy voice belongs to David Carradine). But wait…this is a movie, so she’s coming back. Four years after the fact she wakes up from the coma they put her in with a serious hash to be settled. The bride begins extracting her revenge, one-by-one, on the remaining DVAS in some stunning action scenes. This movie is gruesome at times, but in a truly majestic way. Perhaps it’s because Uma (yes, I know her well enough to call her by her first name) is so precise and smooth in her every movement, despite her amazon-like stature. I couldn’t help but giggle gleefully when she obtained what amounts to the sword, crafted and assured by master sword-maker Hattori Hanzo saying “This my finest sword. If in your journey you should encounter God, God will be cut.” Quite over the top, but admittedly badass. Slice. Stab. Gouge. Chop. Yes, all in nearly excessive measure. Severed body parts fly as fast as the smooth one-liners, in a world where everyone can comfortably be as cool as the Fonze. We even get a musical treat from the aptly named 5, 6, 7, 8’s, an all-girl Japanese surf-rock band.

It’s a shame to have to wait until February for the climax in Volume 2; I would have had no problem whatsoever sitting through the entirety of both volumes back-to-back. Though I must say the cliffhanger made me smile. If you fancy yourself any sort of appreciator of film, you should really get your ass to the theater. Man, I can’t wait to see David Carradine come to life the next time out.

Commentary (4):

1. PeterSantaMaria says… oct 13, 2003 | 10:30 am

All I can say is: wow.

What a cool film! Haven’t seen that much blood and carnage since Dead Alive!

My favorite line was when “The Bride” told all of the Crazy 88 guys that if they were still alive they could leave…but they had to leave their limbs that were cut off, cause they were now hers. Damn, that is so badass!

2. Colin D. Devroe says… oct 13, 2003 | 1:33 pm

My wife and I walked out of this film. So not everyone likes it.

3. Jason Santa Maria says… oct 13, 2003 | 2:07 pm

I never said everyone would like it. I am sorry you didn’t stay through until the end, Colin. It really was quite good.

4. David Frazee says… nov 7, 2003 | 2:01 pm

Yes, but I do think majority does, I’m literally obsessed with the film, and have enjoyed it the past six times I’ve seen it. It just keeps getting better and better. The acting is marvelous, dialogue is fantastic, and of course the trademark Tarantino story line is absolutely amazing. My favorite thing about Tarantino is, throughout his films he manages to sort of stand in the medium of “artsy-fartsy” and “thrilling.” I can’t help but get the chills from select parts of the film. No this movie isn’t for everyone, however, it is for me, and has became quite a classic. Beautiful review Mr. Jason (for lack of more appropriate/formal recognition) I’ll see you in February!