Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
|Director:||Quentin Tarantino—“Kill Bill Vol. 1,” “Jackie Brown,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs”|
E. Bennett Walsh
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.
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