“Kill Bill Vol. 1” is one of my favorite Tarantino films and was a film I was looking forward to reviewing. The premise is Bill (the leader of a group of Assassins) kills the wedding party of the Bride (Uma Thurman) with his team of Assassins that she was once a part of. She is then put into a four year coma from the event and awakens with her child taken (as far as she knows dead) and have been through the trauma of the event, plus the rape at the hospital while she was in a coma. She has plenty of reasons for revenge against those who wronged her and Part 1 follows the first part of that rampage and why she feels the way she does…
I’ll be reviewing “Kill Bill Vol. 2” next and an assessment of them together as a whole to end it.
Warning – SPOILERS throughout.
Here is the assessment:
Pros: The cinematography – Is fantastic…there are long shots, an anime short of O-Ren’s backstory, the black and white of the wedding killing, the fight against Copperhead in the confined space of a kitchen.
The music – I have used this music to work on short stories…the mixture of classical, jazz, western, Japanese rock, Japanese traditional make for a wonderful soundtrack. Especially the jazz. It is by far one of my favorite soundtracks.
The themes: Anime, Western, Kung Fu, Revenge…all of these make an appearance in different ways. You can tell these are some of Tarantino’s loves. He does a twist on the tropes but still treats them with respect…from the mostly female antagonists to hero being the Bride. In the themes listed above you usually don’t see women in these roles beyond presented in an overtly sexual way or non-existent nearly (Westerns and Revenge films). The themes are handled brilliantly.
The Action – This one thing Tarantino never does bad. He knows how to craft an interesting action scene, whether it is a fight in a house or one person against a swarm of men. They all flow into one another too.
Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren – This tragic short piece shows why she became an assassin and gives dimension to her character, it is also beautifully animated.
Chapter 5: Showdown at House of Blue – At times the action is a bit slow since The Bride is fighting so many soldiers but worth it for O-Ren’s introduction and the final showdown with her. The music makes the scene unforgettable as does the acting. Lucy Liu and Uma Thurman are masters. The area where they fight (the Snow Garden) is unforgettable too.
Chapter 2: The Blood Splattered Bride – Seeing why she wants revenge and the trauma she went through is here. It is a powerful chapter and achieves what it needs to achieves. It gives us the reason to care.
The Reveal – Her daughter lives! It is done in such a way to show Bill is one of the best antagonists of this type. He knows the bride and still has an edge over her, even as he loses his team.
Okay – Chapter 4: The Man from Okinawa – The cliche here isn’t handled as well, and we don’t get to know why the Man was commissioned to make the swords for Bill, just that he stopped. It is good but not great. So not putting it in the next section because the expectation with a Tarantino film is pretty high.
Chapter 1: 2 – Establishes The Bride and who her assassin identity was (Black Mamba). It also establishes her second kill (Copperhead) who has a daughter who the Bride says if she wants to find her later she is welcome too. It shows the Bride is not Bill since she lets the daughter live (and later a few other innocents too).
Cons: Some of the action went on for a little too long when we could have had more characterization to elevate chapters 1 and 4.
“Kill Bill Vol. 1” is still one of my favorite films. The pros far outway the cons…especially the music and the joy of great fight scenes, good motivation and some very well done characters (especially O-Ren and Copperhead to a degree). “Kill Bill Vol. 2” goes more into Bill and the Bride, which we will review next.
I highly recommend this film on it’s own, even with the cliffhangeresque ending. I would give it a 9.5 / 10. Not the perfect Tarantino film, but one of the greatest.