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Kill Bill: Volume Two /

Rated: R

Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Sonny Chiba

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Produced by: Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh
Written by:
Quentin Tarantino
Distributor: Miramax Films


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Movie Image
Movie Image

     The Bride (Uma Thurman) is back to complete her journey in Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino’s homage to a variety of old films, and I couldn’t feel more empty. I had the same feeling after viewing Volume One, because on its own, it represented only half of a movie. But then, at least, the reason for my infuriation was hunger for more. This isn’t the case with Volume Two, a film which actually left me bored when I should’ve been exhilarated. The fact that there is hardly any action in it doesn’t bother me as much as the absence of a sense of style. Even though Volume Two is still a good film, saved by some excellently written dialogue and amusing throwbacks, it’s a jumbled and shaky exercise. I’m beginning to question the motives of Tarantino in moviemaking; is he abusing his power by simply arousing himself, or just harmlessly creating enjoyable fluff for his followers? And moreover, does the answer to this question even matter at all?

     Now that The Bride, whose real name is uncovered in the film, has decimated O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) and Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), she has bigger fish to fry. Left on her list of revenge is Budd (Michael Madsen), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), and the man himself, Bill (David Carradine). When she tries to murder him, Budd gives The Bride some trouble at first, in a “chapter” of the movie which I abhorred. He shoots her then tries to bury her alive. But she, of course, is able to escape using the wood-bashing skill she learned from Pai Mei (Chia Hui Liu), a thoroughly annoying, all-mighty Asian character. It isn’t until this point in time in which Volume Two becomes enjoyable and entertaining. Nevertheless, as Elle Driver rolls in and the showdown with Bill approaches, Tarantino is in full-form. His mistakes are inexcusable, but his work is unforgettable.

     Ironically, just about everything in this picture, aside from the efforts of our director, is lacking any distinct feature to make it memorable. While Volume One had sweeping cinematography and amazing choreography, all of that is eliminated here, with primarily only cheesy, Tarantino catch-phrases to imprint Volume Two with a trademark. However, these are usually enough to keep the movie worthy of a recommendation.

     The absence of much brilliance does not apply to the fabulous cast; each role is performed to perfection. Uma Thurman delivers greatness once again, with a bit more room to act in her role, as David Carradine adds a complexity to Volume Two that the original didn’t have. Daryl Hannah also stands out as Elle, completely making what is probably the best scene in the entire movie. I must say that, in the two films, her character has always been the most entertaining to me, containing the spark that the Bride lacks in the leading role. It may be a rather small part for Hannah, but it’s certainly a great one. There’s no question that only Tarantino could create a character with the personality of Elle.

      Because both volumes of the Kill Bill series are supposed to be apart of a single product, it seems unfair for me to pick a favorite of the two. However, if I was forced to make a decision based upon which I prefer, I would choose the first one, by a hair. It exhibited the energy that is desperately missing from Volume Two. Both movies had the potential to be considered legendary, but despite the surreal feeling they give off, it is hard to deem them to be anything more than pleasurable diversions. Whether Tarantino has grown or digressed with them is a hard thing to say, but they’re certainly less accomplished than the other projects he’s worked on. Last week, I compared The Girl Next Door with another one of his films, Pulp Fiction, saying I’d place the two in the same league. GND is a passionate film, with feeling abundant in every corner of its contents. Comparing Kill Bill: Volume Two with it seems almost as strange as doing so with PF, but such an exercise is actually quite thought-provoking. Both are overflowing with passion, but this one is lacking the feeling that that one had. Why is this? Only one thing—style. Tarantino’s time almost seems better spent guest judging on American Idol than making these two flicks, despite the fact that they do serve as dignified accomplishments.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (4.17.2004)

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