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Director: Quentin Tarantino

Producer: Lawrence Bender

Screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Darryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Gordon Liu


The second half to Quentin Tarantino’s wildly entertaining Kill Bill: Volume 1 is out. The movie picks up more or less where the last one left off, with the Bride (Thurman) continuing on her quest to—as the title would suggest—Kill Bill (Carradine), and his two henchmen Sidewinder (Madsen) and California Mountain Snake (Hannah. The character and the quest remain the same, but stylistically this movie is very different from its predecessor. Gone are the themes of honor and revenge, and redemption is in… sort of.

If Volume 1 was a samurai movie then Volume 2 is a spaghetti western.

Regrettably it would appear that all the good parts were put into the first movie. Volume 2 does not contain nearly as much violence as the first; it only has one real fight scene to its credit. The fight between California Mountain Snake and The Bride was vicious, but nowhere near as spectacular as any of those featured in Volume 1. The rest of the time the bride seems to be content merely talking her enemies to death. Even the music in Volume 1 was superior.

Now taking place mostly within the United States, and Texas in particular, all the villains have guns. Yet The Bride seems hell-bent on using antiquated methods to exact vengeance. Setting the first half in Japan was a stroke of genius for staging swordfights—especially in Tarantino’s magical, otherworldly Japan, where everyone has swords, even on airplanes. The movie reveals that The Bride has knowledge of firearms so why isn’t she using them now that they are readily available? Only Tarantino will ever know. This problem prevents many cool sequences because she keeps bringing a sword to a gunfight.

Having only heard Bill’s voice in the last movie it would have been nice to get more back-story on him so we know what set this whole terrible wheel of violence into motion. David Carradine’s Bill is cool and charismatic, but ultimately he is an enigma leaving one to suspect that the coolness and charisma are properties of any David Carridine character. Another sequence like the one detailing O-ren Ishii’s past would have been much appreciated. Instead Tarantino offers a pointless flashback revealing the specifics of The Bride’s martial arts training. Since by this point it is accepted as common knowledge that The Bride is a kung fu master, the scene only serves to make the movie drag on even further. The final confrontation between The Bride and Bill gives new definition to the word anti-climactic.

The first mistake is even bothering to remind the audience of the story. The opening scene is essentially the movie trailer where The Bride talks into the camera, even going so far as to mention the critics’ responses to the first movie. Throughout the entire movie, the camera is obviously having a love affair with Ms. Thurman; she is in every scene and in almost every shot. Tarantino uses a variety of visual tricks to keep the film interesting. Some parts are in black-and-white or the color is purposefully washed out, but this can’t distract from the tedium of the film.

Tarantino fills the movie with dialogue and his chatter can often be entertaining, but in this case it just isn’t enough to sustain the film. Kill Bill: Volume 2 just doesn’t have enough action or character development or, well, entertainment to justify itself. Volume 2, much more than the first movie, could not stand on its own as a complete work. When stood up next to the first, it only further reveals its inadequacy. If this were the first movie no one would be lining up to see Volume 2, so I guess it’s a pleasant surprise for movie watchers that Tarantino was generous enough to package all the good parts into the first movie and spare them the boredom of the second.

—Woodrow Bogucki


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

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