Tuesday, April 22, 2014

THE GREAT VILLAIN BLOGATHON! - BILL

Okay, so maybe he's not the most heinous or evil villain of all-time (honestly, my first few choices were already spoken for) but there's no denying that David Carradine's Bill is a character that makes for a good conversation, especially when discussing the biggest heels in film history.

BANG, BANG - MY BABY SHOT ME DOWN!


In Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill", Bill is the leader of a group of assassins, who all have a particularly special sKILL. In fact, when discussing Bill in the context of his own villainy, I would be remiss if I didn't actually include the entire Deadly Viper Assassination Squad: Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Budd (Michael Madsen), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and of course, the man of the hour - Bill. Together, the five assassins that would later go on to be a part of The Bride's Death List Five would walk into a small chapel, in a small Texas town, gunning down nine innocent people, including The Bride's (a.k.a. Beatrix Kiddo) unborn baby. Why, you ask? It seems that The Bride was trying to skip town and turn in her Deadly Viper membership card all at the same time. Bill, having loved & mentored Kiddo wasn't going to have any part of it. Having thought her dead, Bill mourns the The Bride before finding out that she was actually in the process of elopement, so that she could make a better life for her child - Bill's child. Bill tracks down the Bride and about two hours into the "whole bloody affair" we lay our eyes on the title character for the first time, as he plays his flute and makes his presence known.

"AT THIS MOMENT, THIS IS ME AT MY MOST...MASOCHISTIC"

"BILL, IT'S YOUR BABY" [BLAM]


There's something to be said for a title character that doesn't appear AT ALL in the first film, yet still makes an impression. I mean, the first one IS called KILL BILL VOL. 1 and yet, Bill's face is never shown. We hear his voice a few times - the unmistakable timbre of Carradine. All we need to know is that behind those vocals lies a very important, very evil, very intimidating man and beyond that, we barely need to see Bill at all. All we really need is motive and an intriguing figure (even a faceless one) and we're all set. When Bill finally does emerge from the shadows, to make his first appearance in KILL BILL VOL. 2, he enters quietly and calmly - the calm before the storm. He plays a mellow flute and looks at The Bride lovingly, despite knowing that she's about to die (or at least he thinks so). I can just picture the character gritting his teeth almost to the breaking point, as he hold it together long enough to meet the groom to be, the hippy Tommy Plimpton. I have a feeling that off camera, it was Bill who savored every moment as he swiped Plimpton's head off with one whip of his Hanzo sword. All in all, our heel of the hour isn't a complex one, nor is he hard to figure out. His motives are clear, his actions are to the point.

"I'VE NEVER BEEN NICE MY WHOLE LIFE, BUT I'LL DO MY BEST...TO BE SWEET"

Do we feel sorry for our evil doer at the end of the picture, though? I think we're meant to and honestly, I did. Even his former cohort in crime, turned revenge seeker sheds a tear, shortly after delivering the five point palm exploding heart technique. Bill wipes a trickle of blood from his lip and asks Kiddo, "How do I look?". She cries for her former lover and the father of her child, as he takes his final five steps and drops dead - cause of death? an exploding heart!

So as we take this week to celebrate villainy at the movies, via THE GREAT VILLAIN BLOGATHON, I ask you to remember Bill - the man who had two, full length feature films named after him and the man who, despite not appearing once in the entire first volume of the double shot, still evoked enough emotion out of the audience to bring them back for Volume 2 and the final showdown. Sure, we feel a little sorry for him at the end, because we're shown that he's not a monster and that he feels regret for his wrong doing. However, that doesn't make up for the nine deaths (actually eight) and perhaps the worst break-up to ever be committed to celluloid. Someone shoulda' told the "Snake Charmer" there were plenty more fish in the sea, before he went on a roaring rampage. And don't forget the other four and perhaps the true black hearted characters of the Squad. O-Ren Ishii, a woman who decapitated a man simply for questioning her half Chinese/half American heritage. Vernita Green, who suggests a knife fight at midnight and who has an all out brawl with The Bride just as her child's school bus pulls up. Brother Budd, who decides to bury The Bride alive and leave her to suffocate. And then there's Elle Driver, Bill's current muse. She's the one eyed, golden haired warrior who simply oozes hatred and villainy.

But it's Bill who can stand toe to toe with some of the worst baddies to ever grace the big screen and that's why I chose David Carradine's Bill as the villain to remember this week.

WERE YOU BEING A BAD DADDY?

I WAS A REAL BAD DADDY

R.I.P. DAVID CARRADINE


April 22, 2014  1:26pm

14 comments:

  1. "Kill Bill" isn't normally the kind of movie I watch, but I really enjoyed your post. You're right – Bill is a rare breed since he does have two movies named after him.

    Thanks for including this recent cult classic in the blogathon!

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  2. I love the kill bill movies. Tarantino is such an interesting filmmaker, even though some I can't stand others I love. For example people give me the same shocked look when I say I don't care for pulp fiction, but I love kill bill and I liked the latest film with jamie fox. Just kind of hit and miss for me. But bill is definitely one of his coolest baddies.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Emily. Yeah, I'm a big Pulp Fiction fan, but am cool if it's not for you. I could've easily done a whole piece on Tarantino's villains and made it a piece on Bill, The Deadly Vipers, the Christoph Waltz character from Inglorious Basterds and the DiCaprio character from Django.

      Anyway, thanks again!

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  3. Very neat study of an iconic baddy in Tarantino's pantheon of villains. It's up there with Mr. Blonde and Marsellus Wallace ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Like I said in a previous comment reply, perhaps the way to go would have been a study of all of Tarantino's villains, but I wasn't thinking at the time. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I like how calm the scene between them is. After all the over-the-top action, I expected the same here, and was so impressed (and relieved) to see such a still, quiet scene here. My complaint about Vol. 1 is that I can't follow the story for all the action, but Vol. 2 was compelling, and Carradine's relaxed vibe as the villain is one reason why.

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    1. I liked both volumes, but commend how different in tone they both are, especially considering they're basically one big movie. I wasn't as crazy about the calmness in the final showdown as you were, but definitely see how it could work for some.

      THANKS for stopping by!!

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  5. Whilst this isn't my favourite Tarantino movie, Bill is oe of my favourite Tarantino characters. I do feel sorry for him at the end as I think that maybe he didn't mean for events to unfold as they did, and at some point he did love Beatrix. Or perhaps that's just what the romantic in me wants to believe!

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    1. Yeah, I agree with you. I think he kind of regrets everything, especially when he sees her again, face to face, after so long.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I think Bill is a GREAT choice, Andrew. I am a huge fan of Kill Bill 1 and 2 -- it's funny, though, I never remember that he wasn't seen in the first one!

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    1. His face doesn't appear in the first one. You hear his voice a few times and see his hands at the end, but his face is never shown.

      Thanks again Karen for inviting me to do this. Had a blast, as I always do with your projects.

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  7. I love these movies too, it's been a while since I watched them last and need to get to them again. Carradine in this role probably reminded me more of the magnetism of his father than any other, he just was fantastic and had a lot of "meat" in this script. Wouldn't be nearly so good with anyone weaker, or with his interesting movie/tv history. Nice, and thanks for being part of this event -- really glad you did :)

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  8. I agree that without Carradine, the film would've lost a lot of it's luster. I think we also have to applaud Tarantino for his incredible casting choices, not just in this, but in all of his films. Say what you will, but he always squeezes every last drop of greatness out of all of his actors.

    Thanks for stopping by Kristina and thank you for having me! I had a blast!

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