Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 – 2003/2004

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 5.32.21 pmSay what you will about Quentin Tarantino. Some label him as “The saviour of modern cinema” whilst others think of him as “A downright arsehole”.
Whatever your view is of him, one thing is for certain; you’ll remember his films long after you’ve seen them, whether you enjoyed them or not.
From a personal point of view, I do not believe he is the saviour of modern cinema – in fact, I don’t even know who I would credit with such a title. Is there anyone worthy of the title ‘saviour?’. Saviour of what? Michael Bay? Well, nobody has saved us from that chastisement as of yet.
Apologies, I’m getting off topic…

Since Tarantino himself views these two instalments as separate releases for the same film and not two individual pictures, I shall review both instalments of “Kill Bill” together.
Following the feminine-heavy revenge tale we have a grown accustomed to with QT, “Kill Bill” follows the events that occur after a brutal massacre in a isolated church. The victims in question are those involved in a wedding rehearsal and ‘The Bride’ (Uma Thurman) or ‘Bride-to-Be’ as it were.
Pregnant and ambushed, ‘The Bride’ is savagely beaten and shot at close range, putting her in a coma for four years. After the unthinkable occurs and she awakens some years later, The Bride, fuelled with memory, passion and anger, sets out to seek retribution on those who betrayed her, with the end goal being her former boss, father-figure and lover, the deceptive, mysterious and maniacal, Bill.

It’s difficult to say whether I believe these films deserve a place on the ‘500’ list. I don’t think they’re are examples of Tarantino’s best works, matter of fact, they’re far from it in my opinion. It may sound harsh, but these two films are on a similar level to that of “Death Proof”, another Tarantino picture that flew straight past me. It is disappointing to say, but the two instalments had great potential, but seemed to fall short of that, quite dramatically.
Ultimately, what could have been his finest work by a country mile, turned out to be an overly stylistic manifest of incohesive segments all falling under a rather transparent narrative.

Watching the two films again just yesterday, I remembered the first time I saw the “Kill Bill” films, and it was when I was rather young. I was at a friend’s house, and his father was watching the first instalment. It was five minutes in and we came in to the living room and asked to join him. He, being the polite man he was, said yes, and rewound it to the beginning, where we sat and watched in intense euphoria. My first R-rated film, how exciting!
We watched the first film, and then we begged for “Volume 2”. We then watched that and went to sleep satisfied, but rather tired and worn out. Basically, as soon as the opening titles rolled again, I was taken straight back to that evening when I watched it for the first time, and images, segments and moments began to flow through my mind. “The anime scene in Vol. 1, the snake scene in Vol. 2, the coffin scene as well, the Crazy 88 scene!” It all came back to me.
But that is exactly the point; it was all under the umbrella that was “Kill Bill”, but it was merely a series of sections, scenes and moments that appeared to be scattered and incoherent.

Uma Thurman in Kill Bil Vol 2

Some people I have spoken to regard these films as some of Tarantino’s best works, up there with “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs”. I don’t see it myself, rather, I see what it could have been, and it saddens me.
I appreciate the works of Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds” is one of my all time favourite pictures, and colonel Hans Lander (Christoph Waltz) is my favourite filmic antagonist. It appears with “Kill Bill” that Tarantino tried to pour in too much style and references into the mixing cauldron but ultimately forgot to add the core ingredient of character potency and narrative stability.
I found myself not caring for the antagonists The Bride sought after, even Bill for that matter. There were some excellent fight sequences, but the in-your-face style crossed the line of impressive and frustrating all too often. 

It can be justified as to why these two films belong on the list, and ultimately, I believe they do belong there, but I state that with slight uneasiness. The uniqueness of Tarantino is rather hit-and-miss for me, more so than many young obsessors and worshipers.
He is a fantastic visionary, but it seems he is more than capable of losing track of his roots and creating vastly bland, alienating pictures that don’t reflect on what made his earlier works so fantastic.
The announcement of a third “Kill Bill” is not exciting news in the slightest. I don’t see how they could make it work and personally, I hope it is left as a two-part film and that QT gets back on the horse, creating something reminiscent of his former, earlier and better works.

Volume 1 – 3.5/5

Volume 2 – 3/5


4 comments on “Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 – 2003/2004

  1. Noémie
    November 3, 2014

    When will we agree on a movie Billy?!

    First I would not say Kill Bill is QT’s best work but that is something good! Far from being my first R rated movie (even if…well in France we not too strick on that…), I still enjoyed it so much, the first times and the ofther few times I watched later.

    Yes it is a complete mess of many different things that don’t make much sense. But I look at it as a very very very enjoyable mess and a very smart mess too. Some scenes are incredible in both movies and even if it would not make it to my top movies, it would not be too far. I gave a 4 for each.

    Death proof totally worked from me! from the beginning to the very end. Not the best movie but one of the best experience though! And Inglourious Basterds is the one I like the least from Tarantino…I liked it…that’s all.

    • wmsteele
      November 3, 2014

      Im hoping for the day we can see eye to eye haha!
      It’s interesting to see a different view on everything I post though! 😛

  2. Sokratis Lakrindis
    November 4, 2014

    Volume 2 is far superior to 1, which is just a mess of action. it saddens me that 1 is considered the better movie overall.

    • wmsteele
      November 4, 2014

      The final act in 2 is far too slow and tiresome. I literally “huffed” when he began to give us the “superhero” speech. Compared to the pace of evertything before, it certainly had an effect, but not a good one…

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