“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