Uma Thurman as The Bride
David Carradine as Bill
Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver
Michael Madsen as Budd
Vivica A Fox as Vernita Green
Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii
Michael Jai White as Alburt/Da Moe
Chia Hui Liu as Pai Mei/Crazy 88 fighter
Chiaki Kuriyama as Go Go Yubari
Sonny Chiba as Hattori Hanzo
Tarantino returns to the silver screen with the first installment of a bloody two-part tribute to the samurai stories of old… and we’re all better for it!
Uma Thurman plays ‘The Bride’, an assassin and part of the elite Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS). When she tries to leave the life of killing for hire and settle down, she is gunned down at her wedding in El Paso, Texas. The culprit, her former boss, Bill, and the other members of DiVAS. Four years after surviving a bullet in the head, The Bride emerges from a coma and swears revenge on her former master and his deadly squad of international assassins.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 is Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexual content.
This is a fun flick. That is the best praise I can give to QT and his girl gang. Because the film is chopped into two pieces, it is difficult to draw a complete picture of what I think I saw at the screening for Kill Bill Vol. 1. What I am sure I can say with confidence is that this is a fine start to one of the coolest revenge stories in recent memory. Thurman is great as ‘bleep’ – they say her true name twice in the film… both times it is bleeped out – or ‘The Bride’ as she is known. You’re rooting for her the entire time. She emerges from her coma with a list of five people to kill. In Vol. 1, we see the demise of two former colleagues on this list.
The story is told in chapters and out of sequence – similar to Pulp Fiction. The style equally as effective here as it was in the earlier film. The first confrontation the moviegoer sees is actually with the second person on the list. Then, we are taken back to see the first battle in Japan.
The fight scenes are very carefully orchestrated and are packed with some of the coolest moves I’ve seen on screen in a while. The scene in the House of the Blue Leaves in Tokyo battle – where ‘The Bride’ faces dozens of Yazuka warriors is especially impressive.
The chapter that tells the origin of O-Ren is animated. Why? Probably because it was the only way Tarantino could have done it and still gained an R rating. It is graphic and shows a young O-Ren witnessing the death of her parents at the hands of a big boss in the Japanese underworld. The segment was very well done and while a bit odd at first, transitions very well with the live-action scenes at each end.
While I was alright with it, some may think the bloodshed is overkill. There is A LOT of blood in Kill Bill Vol. 1. More than one scene in the film has blood literally gushing full bore from severed arms and headless torsos – all enough to make even Sam Peckinpah blush. This film is definitely not for the squeamish.
The music in the film is classic Tarantino – peppered with oddly placed standards and modern tunage that help accentuate the movements on screen.
Vol. 1 also ends with a revelation that leaves you eager to see the next film.
What Didn’t Work:
While I do not know the running time for Vol. 2, I was left wondering why the film was split in two. I personally wanted it to keep going and felt that it could have been wrapped into a Oliver Stone-esque 3 ½ hours or so.
One semi-cheap scene that showed Bill in the classic villain mold was a bit unnecessary. It involved Hannah’s Elle Driver creeping into Thurman’s hospital room preparing to poison her while she laid in her coma. She gets called off at the last minute by Bill himself, saying something to the effect that she ‘deserves better’ than that. If he is half the ruthless killer he is suppose to be, he’d have offed her right then and there.
We don’t really learn very much about Bill at all in this first film. It left me wondering that there is likely much, much more to this story than we are left with at the end of Vol. 1.
I liked Kill Bill. I will likely go see it again prior to seeing Vol. 2 so that I am up to speed on the journey of ‘The Bride’ and her drive for revenge against her former cohorts.