Saturday, January 21, 2012

974. Kill BIll: Volume One (2003)

Running Time: 111 minutes
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino, Uma Thurman
Main Cast: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Sonny Chiba, Vivica A. Fox, Julie Dreyfus
Click here to view the trailer


Tonight it was a short march to the "DVD room" for my next review, a personal favorite of mine - "Kill Bill". In this case, it's "Kill Bill: Volume One" and I have to wonder why THE BOOK didn't just mash the two volumes of the "Kill Bill" story together into one entry.

Eleven years after Quentin Tarantino introduced us to Mr. White and Mr. Pink, he introduced us to The Bride a.k.a. Black Mamba (Thurman). Though her real name is hidden from us until the second volume, what we do know about The Bride is that on her wedding day, moments before she was to be married, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (with their leader Bill) gunned down and murdered nine people that were on hand for the ceremony - they should have made it ten! Though they thought they murdered her and despite the bullet Bill fired into her brain, The Bride didn't cease to be. Instead, she lay comatose in a hospital bed for four years, probably dreaming about the revenge that she'd serve her attackers. When she wakes up, she "takes out" a hospital orderly, steals his truck (the "Pussy Wagon") and gets to work, coldly serving her dish of revenge on the five members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. In "Volume One" The Bride takes out Vernita Green a.k.a. Copperhead (Fox) quite easily and the rest of the film is mainly focused on The Bride's travel to Tokyo and preparation for her grand fight with O-Ren Ishii a.k.a. Cottonmouth (Liu).

I can remember working at a video store when this film was released on DVD. At the time, I considered Quentin Tarantino my favorite director, however, like now, I rarely got to the theater, even to check out the movies that I most anticipated. I can remember waiting patiently, like a child wait's for Christmas morning, for "Kill Bill" to be released on DVD and I remember the day when it finally was. When I finally got to watch it, it was worth the wait and then some. In fact, I liked it so much that I actually made it to the theater for "Volume Two". However, through the years as I re-watched the film on multiple occasions, I realized that each time it would get less and less appealing. Well, tonight I watched the film for the umpteenth time and I can say that the appeal has returned. My tastes have changed drastically since the days when I worked at the video store and waited patiently for "Kill Bill". Now, I wait patiently for the new Woody Allen film each year and while I did make it to the theater for "Inglorious Basterds", I didn't much care for it and have yet to see it again, or even purchase it. In the words of Bob Dylan, "The times they are a-changin".

Anyway, enough rambling. Why do I like "Kill Bill" and more specifically, why do I like "Kill Bill: Volume One"? Well what's not to like, really? For all intents and purposes this film is flawless. It gets it's point across, uses it's time perfectly and never, NEVER drags. You know, you can gather your most keen-eyed film snobs and they'll fill a college ruled notebook with all the references, samplings and "ripoffs" that Tarantino uses in this movie and then they'll chastise him for it. I've never been one for caring about someone sampling someone else's work, as long as it's not blatant and as long as it serves their story too and they use it respectfully. Tarantino borrowed from and paid homage to several different genres here, including wuxia films, spaghetti westerns and blaxploitation films and he meshes it all together in grand fashion. He samples the scores of Ennio Morricone and Bernard Herrmann, while mixing in pieces of country tunes, Gheorghe Zamfir virtuoso's and music by "The 5, 6, 7, 8's". In fact, the music is so perfect here that even a blind man would have to acknowledge the greatness of this picture.

Tarantino is no longer my favorite director, through no fault of his own, but it's hard to deny him. He's one of the few director's still making movies that allows me to have continued faith in the future of American cinema. You can say what you want about the guy, but he makes his brand of picture. Is he a self-indulgent filmmaker? YES! He throws conventional rules out the window, paying no mind to certain details, such as telling a film in linear fashion. In "Kill Bill", Tarantino tells the story in all different parts and it only adds to our laundry list of questions, but makes it that much more enjoyable when we finally start piecing things together. Let's also take for instance the back story of O-Ren Ishii, which Tarantino tells using a Japanese anime sequence - a perfect fit in this unconventional film. The bottom line is that when you look at "Kill Bill" it's hard to believe it came out of 21st Century Hollywood, because it looks so damn good and certainly sticks out like a sore thumb - a good sore thumb.

On the poster for "Slacker" there was a quote that read something like, "this film is a twelve course meal composed entirely of desserts". I don't know if that pertains to "Slacker" or not, but it fits "Kill Bill" perfectly. Every other frame is a visual smorgasbord for the eyes. There are a lot of EXCELLENT films in history, that still make us sludge through a lot of dull to get to the payoff. In "Kill Bill" we work toward a payoff, but Tarantino makes it a hell of a lot of fun just getting there. Tarantino makes us savor every frame of his picture, never allowing us to think ahead to the inevitable ultimate clash.

RATING: 10/10 Well did you expect anything less? I reviewed "Reservoir Dogs" approximately 200 movies ago. Do you think I can wait another 200 before I do "Pulp Fiction"? We'll see.


January 21, 2012 3:49am

1 comment:

  1. Great Review and I must say I totally agree!I also must thank you for turning me on to Tarantino I haven't seen a single film of his that I didn't like!


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