Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is the excellent conclusion to the saga of ‘The Bride’.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was an amazing film. Certainly, the bar was set extremely high for the second instalment. Perhaps only The Godfather: Part II had succeeded in surpassing such a challenge, maybe also Aliens depending on your viewpoint. We’ve recently witnessed The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers fail at just this. Does Kill Bill: Vol. 2 succeed? Not for me, sadly.
I wanted it to, I really did. I was ready to christen Q as the god of all things kung fu. The first film was extraordinary, but it also satisfied something in me that Vol. 2 did not. Maybe the new film is too subtle for my tastes? Not enough blood, perhaps?
Carradine is exceptional as Bill, the first time we actually see him in the series being a wonderful scene. (I won’t spoilerise it for you, as you really should be seeing this film for yourself!) Needless to say, his ‘entrance’ is wonderful, the flute is his own (a nice touch), and he is at the same time chilling and charming. His performance, with nuance and skill, belies his years in B- and C-grade rubbish. Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror?? For goodness sake!
Thurman continues her excellent work from Vol. 1 into Vol. 2. She really did change things for action heroines in Vol. 1 (see my review), and she retains that sense of novelty here. Although her stamina and survival are at times frankly unbelievable, (not many people, male or female, could take the full field of a shotgun blast in the chest and get up for more – even if it was filled with salt instead of shot) END SPOILERS she admirably maintains the illusion of injury. Her determination for nearly three and a half hours, and then the beauty, emotion and disbelief she displays when she finally meets her four year old daughter END SPOILERS show her range and ability.
Without giving away too much, the way The Bride deals with Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) is superb. The poetic justice of it, as well as the brutality, really struck home to me. More than the deaths of the other members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, this shows what The Bride has learnt and experienced, and the depth of her feeling. Wonderful.
The music didn’t strike me as forcefully as in Vol. 1, however the cinematography and editing are again superb. And while the outcome is predictable (as it has been way back since Vernita Green in Vol. 1), the fun is in the ride to get there.
This is an excellent film, although it suffers from comparisons with its first part, for me. I gave Vol. 1 9.5/10. This is good, but not that good.
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 1st January 1970
What the hell are you on, Mark?!
Let’s get things straight: Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was a great action film. That’s about it. Sure, Tarantino is cool, and nobody can make walking in slow motion quite like he can, but geez it was pretentious. That was okay, though, because it could deliver action and gore on a level barely ever reached in mainstream Hollywood fare.
But then we have Vol. 2…
What a wank!
Honestly, there is so much unending drivel that passes for ‘clever dialogue’ that it’s completely inexcusable. In Pulp Fiction he was the master of witty and obscure dialogue, but as a consequence he’s now got a passport to make the talking waffle on as long as possible. (This is much like a get out of jail free card, except more amoral.) The fact that Kill Bill: Vol. 2 exists in its present, overblown and pretentious form is about as justified as Quentin being able to take a gun onto a plane ‘just cos he’s Quentin’.
There is very little fighting in this horribly long film, and in fact I think the only sequences worth keeping amount to about 45 minutes. So in fact if he had simply added that portion to Volume 1 I would have been much more impressed.
I’m not quite sure what Mark sees in Carradine. Yes he’s a great actor, but no, his entrance was simply tiresome at best. When he actually pleads with The Bride to let him finish his banal story, I really could feel her pain. Huge pauses in delivery of lines does not automatically make the words better! I could feel very little for these characters because they simply took too long to get their point across. It’s like the absolute opposite of watching The Gilmore Girls – in which average and uninspired dialogue is covered up by speaking really fast. Tarantino attempts the same thing by having everyone talk really slowly… and guess what? The Gilmore Girls is more effective!
The fight sequences in this film (though few and far between) are fantastic, with the fight in the trailer a superb example of my thoughts on how action movies should be made. But the padding in between these jaw-dropping sequences simply isn’t up to scratch. Some scenes drag on and on just so that the song playing over the top can finish.
It simply isn’t acceptable!
I really am quite offended that so much of my time was wasted with this film. I’ve also heard a rumour that Tarantino’s going to be putting out a director’s cut on DVD, which will include not only the uncut Japanese versions of the films, but join the two together in one huge film. I can only sigh and hope that people won’t try to make me watch it (yes, I’m talking to you, Mark).
Review by Stuart Wilson, 1st January 1970Hoopla Factor: