Thursday, April 11, 2013

Short Cut Movie Review From My Collection: Kill Bill Volume 2

Short Cut Movie Review is normally less than 400 words, but in some cases may go slightly over. This is my attempt to keep writing about as many films as I see without getting bogged down with trying to find more to say. They are meant to be brief snapshots of my reaction to a movie without too much depth.

It was hard to see after Kill Bill Volume 1 where the entire epic was headed and what the point of it all was, but then Kill Bill Volume 2 truly tied it all together. I judge it a better film overall when considering them as two separate entities if only because it feels much more complete.

I don’t much care for the opening black and white scene of The Bride (Uma Thurman) driving while narrating the events of her recent life. It’s a scene that I always thought was tacked on (likely a reshoot) when the Weinstein’s refused to allow Tarantino to release it as one four hour film. So the scene serves as an introductory recap of the first film.

What works really well in the Volume 2 is that we finally get to see Bill (David Carradine) in an early scene that shows how the massacre at the chapel went down. During the wedding rehearsal, The Bride finds him sitting outside playing his flute. The tense conversation gives way to feelings of comfort until the rest of the assassins arrive for mayhem.

Just about everything about this film works better including the lengthy flashback showing how The Bride learned her skills from Pai Mei, the unforgiving teacher for whom she nevertheless has tremendous respect. This sequence informs the double level of revenge she seeks toward Elle (Darryl Hannah) when she confesses to having killed Pai Mei. Also the whole section involving Budd (Michael Madsen) and The Bride’s burial in a coffin from which she manages to escape using a brutally painful Pai Mei technique. Then the final showdown between Bill and The Bride, staged not as a brawling climax but as a reflective, semi-apologetic, emotional comedown from all that has transpired over the course of the two films. We learn the nature of their relationship and fully understand both the tragedy and necessity of killing Bill.

“The woman deserves her revenge. And we deserve to die,” says Budd. Yes, but that doesn’t mean you go without a fight.

Tarantino’s epic turns on qualities like honor, fealty to ideology, and loyalty to family and loved ones. And most importantly of course, revenge for past transgressions. He accomplishes it all with great visual style ad flare while imbuing the ending with genuine emotion.

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