Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Kill Bill Volume 2

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and brief drug use

Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
STAFF WRITER

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Martial-Arts Action Crime Thriller Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
April 16, 2004
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Featuring: Uma Thurman
David Carradine
Daryl Hannah
Michael Madsen
Sonny Chiba
Director: Quentin Tarantino—“Kill Bill Vol. 1,” “Jackie Brown,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs”
Producer: Quentin Tarantino
Lawrence Bender
E. Bennett Walsh
Distributor: Miramax Films

Prequel: “Kill Bill Vol. 1” (2003)

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “After dispensing with former colleagues O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green in KILL BILL VOL. 1, the Bride (Thurman) resumes her quest for justice in the series’ second installment, KILL BILL VOL. 2. With those two down, the Bride has two remaining foes on her “Death List” to pursue—Budd (Michael Madsen) and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah)—before moving on to her ultimate goal… to kill Bill (David Carradine).”

Explicitly headlined as the fourth film by Quentin Tarantino, this second volume of the one story “Kill Bill,” begins with chapter six, is four times less violent than the first movie, and is three times the love story one might expect. Both words of the title could easily be used to describe the content of each film. Volume one focuses on “killing” and the second, while keeping Kiddo (Uma Thurman) as the protagonist, focuses on Bill.

Having only a voice over in the first movie, Bill (David Carradine) makes his first appearance in Volume Two during the flashback of the wedding rehearsal where the initial assassination occurred. The fact that Kiddo is pregnant with Bill’s child (and the fact that the child is alive) has only been briefly mentioned up until now. But as Bill and Kiddo literally go toe-to-toe, their past and present relationship energizes this narrative from beginning to end. With the help of flashbacks, we find out about Kiddo’s four year hiatus in the hospital, her training with a Kung Fu master (Gordon Liu), and the romance she and Bill once had—all of which are interspersed throughout her mission to find and kill Bill.

Braced for another show of violence, it was surprising to see so many scenes involving only dialogue. Furthermore, a lot of the action that does exist was centered on Kiddo’s struggle and determination to accomplish her goal. They refrain from the gratuitous chopping off of heads and limbs and spraying blood, and deal more with Kiddo’s personal, physical struggles. Her obstacles include recovering from four years of bed rest, enduring arduous training in martial arts, being shot with salt pellets, trekking through the desert and being buried alive.

However, there are several incidents of violence, one of which is quite graphic. There is gun shooting and sword fighting, and aside from the fight where somebody’s eye is plucked out and squashed, the rest of the violent episodes are rather run of the mill, or only alluded to. One example is how the camera pulls back and only the sound of gunshots is heard inside the wedding chapel.

Copyright, Miramax Films

Consistent with his other films, Tarantino does avoid showing any nudity or sex scenes. Expectantly, there is a fair amount of foul language, though. And one scene depicts two people—with one woman wearing a revealing top—doing drugs. These characters, however, are not appealing in any fashion as people anyone would want to emulate.

In Volume One, Kiddo boasts to the first person she kills as being someone with no compassion, mercy or forgiveness. At that time, Kiddo thought she had lost everything. But sticking to her plot for revenge, she is eventually surprised to find some of these traits rising to the surface. Guess you could call it her “motherly instincts.” Though the story never veers away from it’s motive for revenge, it was a little affecting to see this “Terminator”-esque female lead tap into sensitive facets of her feminine nature. I was taken aback to find myself moved by these qualities that she expresses.

This film is obviously made for pure entertainment, with its references to old Kung Fu movies, Japanese gangster films and spaghetti westerns—and not really made to offer some kind of uplifting moral lesson. It is noteworthy how sensitive this second film gets, but it is primarily for the craft of good storytelling. Entertainment is the drive, and it lies with elaborate elements such as the “five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique.”

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—The unforgiving impulse that drives Uma Thurman’s character to assassinate every one of the past criminal associates of hers who so traumatized her, including one who swore that her life had changed on account of her 4 year-old child (who is just several yards away in another room) and who begged “The Bride” to thus exhibit mercy, is certainly contrary to the Christian dictate that we forgive others just as God has forgiven us. That makes the movie very hard to tolerate for the Biblically informed (and believing), much more so than all the hyperbolic geysers of blood that erupt from every severed appendage.

I’m still not convinced about what constitutes using Christ’s name in vain, and thus wasn’t particularly offended by the various utterances of “Christ,” “Jesus,” and “God” as exclamations for emphasis, though I was offended by the arrogance exhibited in a scene where a legendary Japanese blacksmith claims that one of his swords could cut God himself, at least any more so than the human physical frailties Christ adopted under his Incarnation rendered him vulnerable to the scourgings and nailings that he suffered and from which he bled profusely enough to cover all of our sins. more »
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—Ramon Ruenes IV, age 32
…I would like to comment on the previous “comment” where the person said he wasn’t sure what constituted using Christ’s name in vain… If you were in the actual physical presence of Jesus Christ, would you use His name as an expletive or a term of disgust? I hope you wouldn’t. Well, I believe Jesus is certainly aware of when His name is used in this way. This is not to say a person can’t be forgiven for this. Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. But don’t you see the disrespect in using Christ’s name in this manner, not to mention the witness it gives to others around? Just my opinion. …
—James Bentley, age 44
Positive—From a pure Christian perspective, the Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2 can and will overload the senses… but so do movies like the Passion of the Christ. Movies like Kill Bill prove that as far as proving points and telling a great story while using extreme violence as a prop… it is a double edged sword. If you can handle the violence, you can then come to understand and know the story. From there, your judgments and deductions can be made however in this day and age, I think society is calling for a new breed of Christians to rise up and show that our witnessing efforts will not be slowed by pure shock value.

Of course, we should still be concerned about people overdoing it, children seeing it who cannot cope with what they are seeing, etc. however from my personal experience… non Christians respond better when you tell them that you have read books like Harry Potter or you have see movies like Kill Bill and you can discuss both the good and the bad things about them in a calm and rational manner. It is a true challenge to become that kind of Christian but if that is what is being asked of us… follow Christ’s lead. more »
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—Ben Webb, age 21
Positive—I’ve more or less made a personal commitment never to watch “Kill Bill.” But my wife and I know a couple who we like to discuss movies with a lot, and they invited us to watch some films with them that we wouldn’t have otherwise turned to. After seeing a clip from the first “Kill Bill,” I’ve pretty much just ignored everything having to do with the franchise. But these friends said they thought I should give Volume 2 a shot. So I accepted. And they were right. There is no cutting off limbs or blood spraying like a hose in this movie. The most violent scene is when an eye gets plucked out, which is shown in more detail than necessary, and that’s why I’m giving it a moral rating of Offensive.

Otherwise, I was shocked at how little violence there was. Tarantino is a master of drama! The script and sets were good enough that it kept my interest without action—although don’t get the wrong impression, there definitely was some exciting suspense and action! There is a lot to commend about this film. I can’t really go into them without writing spoilers, but The Bride’s desire to redeem her life led to solid Biblical choices, even though it was hard, whereas most people would have taken a sinful way out.

The eye scene and some occasional F-bombs are my reservations about recommending this film. But if you can handle those things, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! I’m glad my friends brought this film to my attention!
Note: After my mostly positive comment on “Kill Bill Vol. 2” (above), someone suggested that I explain my reason for refusing to watch Vol. 1. And it’s actually pretty simple. This movie is like the “Saw” franchise in that there are no conflicting reports about the violence. All reviews, both positive and negative, Christian and non, agree that this is a gratuitously bloody film that is not for children, and not even for adults who are faint of heart. But, from time to time, I myself have seen movie discussion videos and stuff that showed clips from the infamous Crazy 88 fight scene.

This made it all the more clear to me that the movie was TRYING to be gratuitous, for fun. Like the “Saw” franchise, except it’s action, not horror. My most recent review was “London Has Fallen,” which, after the language, my main beef with it was that a few scenes showed more than necessary. But even in those scenes, the violence was no gorier than it would be in real life; it just wasn’t necessary to show the scenes at all. But the violence in “Kill Bill” is unearthly and impossibly gruesome. Okay, so I’ve never actually seen someone get a limb cut off, but when you cut yourself, does a little stream of blood spray out like a hose? That’s never happened to me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Gabriel Mohler, age 26 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—This movie was OK. It had a few good fight scences, but other than that it was kind of lame, so don’t waste your money on this…
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Frank Harrison
Negative
Negative—I was really disgusted by the intense gore of this film. Although, I will agree that her reaction to the loss of her child was a good point, it didn’t save the rest of what I witnessed. And it was good that she was able to get away from the gross orderly who raped her and prostituted her body without her consent, I was really offended by what the guy named his truck. I am not a feminist either. I believe that God wants me as a woman to respect myself better than that, and men should respect women better than that. Yes, I know it goes well with the man’s character, and that is probably one way the screen writer intended to convey this awful excuse for a man.

The animated scene did it for us. My husband who tolerates violence better than I can pulled the plug on this one. I probably would have done it sooner had I not been covering my eyes with my hands. The overall swearing and taking God’s name in vain, and the gore of this movie does not showcase Tarintino’s talent and gifts as a writer. These gifts and talents were alotted to him by our God, by the way, whether he realizes it or not, and when I see a movie like this I think to myself about the writers, the actors, the people who did all the technical stuff, and that artist who did the animation, WHAT A WASTE!!

Although I don’t believe I have shallow taste in movies, I really hate to watch human nature at its worst, and the bride’s thirst for revenge and then murdering that poor little girl’s mother before her very eyes was really anti-Christ, no matter the motive.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/4]
—J. Lounsbury, age 28
Negative—The filthy language was horrible and would make a sailor blush. I didn’t see much plot in the movie either, just a lot of violence. They even had a character that worked at a gentleman’s club. I highly discourage christians from viewing.
—Wesley, age 31
Comments from young people
Negative—…I did not care for this movie at all. The backstory was explained sufficiently for an action movie in the first one, why they went back to elaborate on it is beyond me. And then the two and a half hour “epic” that is this movie seems to go absolutely nowhere. The last half hour is unbearable, and the final fight scene is under ten seconds long. From a Christian standpoint this movie has no real message. There are a few criminals reflecting on what they’ve done, but they don’t reflect too much because then they kill more people. The entire movie is ex-assassin vs. assassins with unbelievably less action than you would expect. Go see the first one for quality entertainment.
My Ratings: [Average/1½]
—Adam, age 16
PositiveQuentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 2, the continuation of his epic revenge film, is the completion of a masterpiece of cinema. While Vol. 1 showcased Tarantino’s incredible talent (as well as insanity) for making an exhilarating action film, Vol. 2 is much slower, gentler, and more human. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its fair share of action, the best of which was the showdown between The Bride and Elle Driver, which was set up like a classic spaghetti western showdown with samurai swords instead of guns. But as I was saying about that humanity Tarantino taps into… he creates genuine emotions for his characters, especially Bill (played in an Oscar-worthy performance by David Carradine). As Hattori Hanzo said in Vol. 1, revenge is never a straight line, which Tarantino shows by developing his characters, and making them human, so that, while we can understand The Bride’s need for revenge, we also feel sympathetic for Bill and don’t want him to die. What a great conclusion to a great film.
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—Jared, age 17
Positive—I found this to single handedly be one of the most excellent films I have seen in several years. Tarantino is a genius. It does have swearing and violence, but that can’t stop it from being a good movie.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Alex T., age 14
Movie Critics
…Having set us up in Vol. 1 for an ever more elaborately choreographed carnival of slaughter to follow, he neatly pivots and pulls us in another direction altogether… more talk, more humor, more close-ups, more feeling… a lighter spirit…
—John Powers, LA Weekly
…so much cinematic majesty perched precariously atop so little common sense…
—Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail
…“Kill Bill, Vol. 2” is the sound of a filmmaker in love with his own voice… after spending an additional two-plus hours with “Vol. 2,” you may be seeking a cure for cinematic verbal diarrhea…
—Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune
…More than 20 f-words…
—Steven Isaac, Plugged In