Kill Bill Volume 2, Love Among Murderers

Kill Bill Volume 2

We all know that REAL Tarantino fans would have watched Kill Bill Volume 2 before the first one. That way you get the full effect. And watch out, because this one’s got a pair of big old flashbacks stuck right in the middle. Volume 2’s considerably less violent than the first, focusing more around the Bride and Bill’s relationship. It’s an excellent conclusion, if not a bit cheesy, and bound to please those who enjoyed Volume 1.

After a quick recap of the last few chapters of her story, you find the Bride driving down the road to meet Bill for their final confrontation. Before that happens, it flashes back to the Two Pines Wedding Chapel, where the Bride is rehearsing a wedding with her friends and Tommy, her husband to be. To her surprise, Bill is on the scene. Worrying that he’ll start something up, she makes him promise to be nice. He declines, but says that he’ll be sweet. Enter four members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. They kill everyone in the chapel, save for Beatrice and Bill.

Flashing back to the present, Bill is talking to his brother Buck, warning him that the Bride is going to hunt him down and kill him with a Hattori Hanzo sword. Buck doesn’t seem to care that much, mentioning that he sold the Hattori Hanzo sword that bill gave him for $250.
Kill Bill Volume 2Then you see Buck go to work. Apparently, his job is shitty, he doesn’t like it, yet he does nothing about this because he’s a pushover. Upon returning home, he notices something amiss. Not soon after this, the Bride is shot full of rock salt and buried alive. With only a flashlight and a few inches of space, she must escape her grave of earth and wood.

Second flashback! You get to see a bit of the Bride and Bill before the shooting and scheme and revenge. They appear to be pretty normal for murderous assassins, and very much in love. Bill mentions a Chinese kung-fu master known as Pai Mei, a man who demands respect while giving none to his students until they absolutely earn it. The Bride decides to train under him. Time passes, and under Pai Mei’s cruel tutelage, she learns several combat techniques. In particular, she learns how to punch through a wood board not more than three inches away from her.

And that’s how she escapes. The one-eyed Elle gets a call from Buck, who wants to sell her the Bride’s Hanzo sword. She agrees to pay him one million dollars for it, on the condition that he makes sure the Bride, now revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo, suffers to her last breath. Beatrix manages to see Elle as she arrives at Buck’s trailer, and infiltrates as soon as Buck dies to the Black Mamba hidden in the briefcase full of money.

Kill Bill Volume 2Beatrix enters the trailer to find Elle wielding her katana, and a grand fight ensues. The cyclops reveals that she killed Pai Mei after he plucked her eye out for calling him a senile old fool. So, Beatrix plucks out her other eye and leaves her to die.

Then, finally, she follows a trail of names back to Bill’s final location, the place where she would complete her revenge. To her astonishment, Bill isn’t the only one there. Also present is her daughter, initially thought to be dead. End synopsis for spoilers.

Kill Bill Volume 2 doesn’t feel particularly long, though some of the scenes drag. The action is rather sporadic, as some of the characters change their tones on a dime when Beatrix makes too sudden a move. Exciting to a fault, I suppose. Overall, the conclusion is rather quiet and much more emotional than that of the prior volume. I personally enjoy it, but that may just be because I thoroughly enjoy Tarantino’s works. Maybe a second opinion will help.

Brian’s Film Review Blog can provide just that. The theme of humanity is given priority over the thrill and the gore, though the latter two each have a notable presence. As far as sequels go, Kill Bill Volume 2 seems to have taken a very minor hit in the realm of quality. But that tends to go without saying. Check out the micro-review by Brian here:

Kill Bill, but Not Just Yet

Kill BillKill Bill is Quentin Tarantino’s unreasonably corny and ultra-violent revenge action thriller. I’m not sure whether to warn the squeamish or the non-squeamish, considering the violence is both excessively morbid and pretty damned stupid. I suppose I could get into the nitty-gritty of that first, but it would really do the movie justice if I started with plot.

The Bride,” as the character Uma Thurman plays is called, was assaulted on her wedding day by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Though she’s now retired, she used to belong to this squad, working under the guidance of an enigmatic man named Bill.  From initial speculation, The Bride and Bill must have had a thing going, because he crashed her wedding with the rest of his squad, murdered everybody, and shot her (during the later stages of her pregnancy) in the head. However, she didn’t die. She wakes up, finding a metal plate in her head and her baby nowhere to be found, and revenge on her mind.

One by one, The Bride hunts down those responsible for her “murder” and delivers to them the fullest extend of her vengeance. In the much loved Tarantino style, the Deadly Viper Assassins go down in a blaze of bloody fury. Vernita Green’s the first, dying from a knife to her chest in her own home. Not very exciting, but if you look closely enough during the fight, you can see Vernita’s rubber knife flopping around. Heh.

Kill BillThen The Bride goes to Japan to get a sword from Hattori Hanzo. That’s really the only part of the movie that doesn’t involve blood splurting out of ragged katana wounds like a crimson fire hose, or people firing guns through cereal boxes only to have a four inch dagger buried into their chests.

O-Ren Ishii is the half-Chinese half-Japanesese American born mob boss of the Crazy 88. She kills people a lot, which is why she’s still the boss. Unfortunately for her, she took part in the kicking of The Bride’s ass, which  earned her a one way trip to being irrevocably dead. The Bride slaughters every last one of her gangsters with Hanzo’s katana, making blood shoot out everywhere like some morbid new age artist’s masterpiece. Then, afterwards she chops the top of O-Ren Ishii’s skull off so her brain is sticking out. I forgot to mention, Lucy Liu plays O-Ren Ishii, and the skull-chopping scene would have been epic if not for the fact that it was so gosh darned silly.

Flashback (because this is a Tarantino review of a Tarantino movie) to the origin of O-Ren Ishii. Her dark and brooding past: A gangster kills her family, she kills the gangster, then becomes a world-renowned assassin. That catches Bill’s attention, and she becomes a part of his super-secret boy band. The Japanese anime style in which this is presented makes the violence almost more extreme than that of the live action movie itself. It’s awesome if you can get over how overdone it is.

Kill BillSo, uh… That’s about all there is to the movie. Violence, violence, and more silly, willy-nilly violence. I guess if you’re into that sort of thing it makes for a good watch, but I’d guess that most people just watch it for a good laugh if they’re in the mood for one of the crappier Tarantino flicks. I’m not saying this one is horrible, I’m just saying it could afford to be a lot better.

There’s a sequel, you know. The final chapter. If you make it through the first, you’re going to HAVE to see the second, just out of morbid curiosity. Very morbid curiosity. My personal recommendation, don’t see Kill Bill Volume One if you’re going to try to take it seriously. You’ll regret it. You should see it anyway, though, just to lower your standards a tad.

Pulp Fiction is Magnificent

Pulp FictionExcuse me if I gush, but this is my favorite movie. With an all-star cast, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, and Bruce freakin’ Willis, Pulp Fiction is undoubtedly Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. In his usual fashion, he introduces the plot as a linear, disconnected yet well-developed web of events. Each segment feels like its own micro-movie, yet has all the character development and content of a feature length film. The plot itself focuses primarily on the characters Butch Coolidge, played by Bruce Willis, and Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Funny enough, their paths only barely cross once throughout the course of the entire movie.

Butch is a boxer who makes a deal with the crimelord Marsellus Wallace: He purposely loses a match, he gets a lot of money. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan, and Butch is forced to deal with Marsellus Wallace’s “discontentment” with his actions. Discontentment in this case means hitman Vincent Vega, and ultimately Marsellus himself, who stumbles upon the fleeing Butch after going out to buy donuts. To reveal a bit without spoiling anything, the next segment includes abduction by a strange shopkeeper and his friend, a chainsaw, and a katana, none of which seem out of place in the movie. A real Tarantino blend of epic and unusual, if you will.

The trials of Jules are of a much more philosophical nature. Whenever Jules speaks, there’s always a greater sense of reason, despite his status as one of Marsellus Wallace’s thugs. One particular incident, in which both he and Vince nearly face death by a revolver the size of a cannon, causes him to start to see things differently. So differently, in fact, that his entire view on life is dramatically altered. Vincent doesn’t take too kindly to the change, as his character is one of compulsory skepticism, but to a man of faith like Jules Winnfield, such opinions matter little.
Pulp Fiction

All in all, the movie provides an astute delve into the criminal underworld while presenting complex and likeable characters whose clashing personalities blend perfectly in the orderly chaotic tone of this wonderful piece of cinematic art. That’s definitely me gushing, but I guarantee that by the end of the first segment with Jules and Vince, you’ll be hooked until the end, whether you’re a Tarantino fan or not.