“Revenge is a dish best served cold. -Old Klingon proverb”
I’m generally not a big fan of revenge, but I am willing to excuse it in films when it is justified, fun, and I like the revenge-seekers enough. Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride comes to mind. I’ll admit I can get a rush of mean-spirited satisfaction out of revenge as much as the next person, but it has to be a very special case. This here, Kill Bill, is a very special case. It’s in two parts (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and sometimes people count them as one film, but I’m reviewing them separately because they were released separately. That said, it’s pretty obvious what is going to go down here: this chick’s out for revenge and eventually she’s going to get it.
The Bride, aka Black Mamba, aka her actual name that is awkwardly bleeped out (Uma Thurman) was attacked on the day of her wedding. Everyone else there was killed, and in all honesty she should have been too. She was beaten extensively and shot in the head, yet she survived. She was pregnant at the time, but after four years in a coma she wakes up in horror to discover that her baby is gone. Also horrifying to discover is this male nurse named Buck has been raping her and pimping her out this entire time. She gets revenge on him pretty darn quick, even though she can’t even walk yet. I must admit I was more than happy to see this guy die; he’s disgusting and it’s not just revenge. He probably does that to everyway halfway decent looking comatose woman in there, so she was not only exacting revenge but protecting everybody else.
She then steals his car (which is quite possibly one of the most offensive vehicles I have ever set eyes on), teaches herself to walk again, and sets her sights on revenge. She was attacked by her former coworkers, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, containing six members. Herself, Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) who tried to kill her while in a coma but was called off at the last moment, Vernita Green (Vivca A. Fox), Budd (Michael Madsen), O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), and Bill (David Carradine) who is the leader and the father of The Bride’s child. In Vol. 1 she is able to track down and kill Vernita Green and O-Ren Ishii, and presumably she will get the rest in Vol. 2. Tarantino does his taking events out of sequence thing here, so even though The Bride killed O-Ren Ishii first he shows the battle with Vernita before that.
This battle is kind of funny because of how it stops in the middle and then ends really abruptly. They’re all battling it out to the death, and then Vernita’s daughter comes home and they just look at each other and decide to stop so as not to scar the poor girl for life. So Vernita sends her back upstairs and they decide to meet a later time to continue the battle. Vernita tries to pull a fast one on The Bride by hiding a gun in a cereal box (which is hilarious), but she’s too fast for her. She ducks and then throws a knife at her, killing her at the very moment that her daughter comes back downstairs. Laying the groundwork for a possible sequel (still don’t know whether this is going to happen or not, depends on what website you check), The Bride tells Vernita’s daughter that she is welcome to come and find her when she grows up if she still needs revenge.
One of the best parts about this, and it happens in the battle with O-Ren Ishii as well, is that Tarantino goes for a bird’s eye view as The Bride is walking around in the various buildings. Here this means that you can see there are no ceilings on the sets, the walls just stop and the camera is above them. You can just see the tops of the walls, which I think is pretty cool even though I don’t really have a good reason for believing so. Also the tracking shot when The Bride is going to track down (ha ha film nerd pun) O-Ren Ishii is pretty famous and rightly so because it’s pretty dang awesome. It goes on for so long! Okay I’m done.
Okay, no I’m not. If anyone’s wondering why I’m being extra nerdy with this post it’s because I was geeking out for literally this whole movie. I couldn’t even get most of the references because I haven’t seen any martial arts films. I don’t know what they are but knowing Tarantino I am sure they are there. What I did get though, was the Star Trek references! And there was me speculating back in my Reservoir Dogs post that he didn’t like Star Trek. For shame! Well, I guess anyone could reference something even if they didn’t like it, but whatever. That’s not the point! Anyway, there was the quote that I included at the beginning of my post, which was put in as a title card at the beginning of the film. Very appropriate, considering the whole film is about revenge. Also when The Bride is introducing all of O-Ren Ishii’s henchpeople in a voice over she says one of them is “dressed like a villain on Star Trek.” I didn’t really recognize the outfit, but that’s beside the point.
Also worth mentioning is O-Ren Ishii’s backstory. A lot of it was done is anime style, which is not really my thing but I thought it was very cool nonetheless. I especially liked when she was hiding under the bed and they wrote the word “whimper” coming out of her mouth instead of her just simply whimpering. Again, not a huge deal but I thought it was cool. This whole movie was kind of like that in a way, style over substance or at least pretty close, but it was fun and I was getting into it anyway. There was also somewhat less dialogue here but there was a lot of overly-dramatic naration that was good. I mean overly-dramatic in the funny way, not the unbelievable way. Also, while we’re on the subject of style I’ll just mention the unrealistic blood spurts. It was pretty hilarious because when this one guy got his head cut off, there was literally a delay of a couple seconds between his head actually being severed from his body and then the blood spurting out. It wasn’t as funny like the third or fourth time around, but you know.
So this was more of just a fun veg out revenge film with hyper stylized violence from Tarantino this week, but I was cool with that. It was a really fun movie. It’s not completely a veg out film; I think you could probably get some deep stuff about revenge out of it, but I wasn’t really inclined to while I was watching it. Maybe I will be able to find some deep stuff in Vol. 2. I know I hope I’ll find some more Star Trek references in the next one anyway, and I know the hyper stylized violence will be there, so I’m pretty excited. And that was some cliffhanger at the end there….
“Wiggle your big toe.”
Long story short: 3/4 stars
Excellent post, I love the use of Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang my baby shot me down at the beginning of the film.
Yeah I liked that song too. Very appropriate.
I recently reviewed this if you’re interested in my opinion on it.
One of Tarantino’s best. Nice review.
I don’t know if I would call it one of his best, but it was really good. I’m going to have a time of ranking all of these, I can tell you that much. I think this one is going to shake out towards the bottom though, just because the others were so much more ambitious. I definitely liked this film though, don’t get me wrong. I just think it’s going to be in the bottom half once I do rank all of these.
Great review. Great movie. Vol. 2 was a bit of a let down.
Awwww… I was hoping Vol. 2 would be just as good or better! I’m probably going to get around to watching it tonight or tomorrow depending on how things go. Some people have vol. 2 ranked over vol. 1 so I guess there’s still hope that I will fall into that category but still. Not looking forward to be let down, if that is what happens. 😦
Damn… sorry! You might love it!
Oh it’s fine! You’re allowed your opinion! I was just getting a little worried that’s all! I’ll watch it and decide for myself, don’t worry!!
Ha, cool. Let me know what you think when you’ve seen it. It’s a pretty good film – I just preferred the first one.
I’ll be doing my review of it next Tuesday, and I’ll be sure to compare the two parts. I’ll also have to rank all of Tarantino’s films once I’ve seen them all (2 more to go!) so I can elaborate on which one I like more then as well 🙂
Oh that’s cool – ranking Tarantino is interesting. I know what would come top and last in my list but I’d have to think about the others! Look forward to reading what you come up with!
Great write up! I absolutely love both parts of Kill Bill, such a fun film.
Thanks! That’s good to hear. Orange just got me nervous that maybe vol. 2 wasn’t going to be as good, and I was getting a little worried there. We’ll see. I’m going to be watching it soon and I’m pretty excited!
This comment has been unsent for like HOURS now. I had it open in a tab and never hit “Post Comment”.
Seeing the discussion here… Vol 2 is very different. Still great though. I love ’em both.
Glad to read you enjoyed this one as well. Nice to watch you exploring the Tarantino verse and see what all the fuss is about!
Oh man, the tabs. I get it, tabs are hard to deal with 🙂
I actually have watched Vol 2 right now and man…. I did not expect that emotional stuff at the end there. Really got to me.
Awesome! I only have one left and then I will have conquered his entire filmography! I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. It’s been interesting, to say the least.
I’m sure it has. I’m well versed in his filmography, and it definitely is a great mix. “Interesting” is right. 😀
Glad you liked V2!
It’s a good film, definitely, although it’s certainly more “fluff action” than “deep thinking”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, and really, what do we expect from Tarantino?
Yeah it’s true that this one didn’t have much to think about. Still a lot of fun though!
Definitely. Every Tarantino movie I’ve seen so far has been a lot of fun.
hmm i always thought this was just about some chick who goes postal after her husband is killed at her wedding…bit different i see.
Yeah… if you had told me a couple of years ago that I would EVER watch this film, I would have called the guys with the straighjackets. It really is good though. There are Star Trek references!! It gets even better/more emotionally involving in Vol. 2
cool beans! could you get a still of the guy in the supposed star trek villain outfit? i kinda wanna see that…
Here you go, I don’t actually know if this is going to work cuz I’ve never tried this before. I have no clue what villain she is supposed to be dressed like but I’m pretty sure this is the outfit she’s talking about when she says that.
hmmmm. idk. i guess a romulan? maybe a villain from a series i havnt seen
Yeah I don’t know either, but you have considerably more expertise than I do on this subject. Maybe it’s just sort of a general description and not necessarily a specific costume? Either way, HE SAID STAR TREK!!! Yay!!
Hi, Hunter and company:
Tarantino excelled in back story with his earlier projects. And ‘Kill Bill, Vol.I’ has exceptional (and just enough) back stories. Really like the use of anime with O- Ren. And the intermittent B&W during The Bride’s sword fight with the Crazy 88.
Superb sound track as well. Who else would think of using Al Hirt’s ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ and the audio intro to NBC’s old ‘Ironside’ in story telling? And make them work!
Oh yeah the B+W kind of annoyed me. I thought it looked cool but I couldn’t figure out why he was doing it. The amine was awesome though, as was the soundtrack.
Thank you!! and thanks for dropping by!