Thursday, January 20, 2005

Movies: Kill Bill, Vol. 2

One of the biggest conflicts that the Peach and I have is my enjoyment of, and her raging hate of, the films of Quentin Tarantino. For over a year, she insisted that if we were ever to live under the same roof, I would have to get rid of my Pulp Fiction VHS tape. She physically and verbally berated my brothers for getting me the Reservoir Dogs 10th Anniversary DVD. So when I rented “Kill Bill, Vol. 2,” I tried to keep it a secret, if only to save myself from her rolled eyes and silent belittling. I let it slip one day, though, but told her in all honesty that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it.

“Kill Bill, Vol. 1” was kind of a disappointment for me. Sure, it looked really good, the camerawork was fantastic, and the fight scenes were exhilarating, but there was something missing from the movie. Something like motivation. Ninja told me that he didn’t feel the film needed motivation, that it was a revenge movie, and she was kicking ass: no additional plot, characterization, or motivation was necessary. So when I rented Vol. 2, I was expecting more of the same. Luckily, I was dead wrong.

“Kill Bill, Vol. 2” is everything that Vol. 1 wasn’t, in my eyes. There was a depth of characterization and acting from the ensemble cast that bests any of his previous casts. Michael Madsen is especially good, if a little underused, and Tarantino gives Uma Thurman the chance to flex her acting muscles that was missing from the first film. But the star of the whole movie is David Carradine, who blew me away from the moment he appeared on screen playing his wooden flute. I’ve never seen him act especially well before, but I think that his is the second-best performance ever to be in a Tarantino movie; no-one beats Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, but this is damn close.

The fights aren’t the focus of Vol. 2, but when they come, they’re fantastic. Tarantino has really bulked up his director’s bag of tricks, both cinematically and thematically: these two movies have to silence all the critics who complained that he was all talk and no action.

So, in other words, “Kill Bill, Vol. 2” is fantastic, my new favourite Tarantino movie. It even made Vol. 1 better. I recommend it highly; unless, of course, you are my girlfriend.


Jago said...

Damn! You rented Vol. 2 and didn't tell me?

I'm so buying the box set once it gets released...

The Doc said...

I did tell you! Saturday night! Peach was around? When she found out she threw things at me? You were there, remember?

Anonymous said...

So...what makes "Kill Bill vol.2" a film and "Anchorman" simply a movie??

And how are you anyway? I have a Christmas gift here with your name on it...will we have tea soon?


Diego said...

I think I know the world's biggest Vol. 1 enthusiast and she felt mildly let down by 2. She identified with the ass-kicking bride, so when her guard slips ALL the way down in 2, I don't blame her for feeling jilted.

The fact of the matter is we don't know HOW the full movie was supposed to run; no, really, we DON'T. We saw them as two different movies, and how THEY were edited to stand alone better, but chances are, if Tarantino had his druthers, the complete film wouldn't be the two volumes, back-to-back, in that order. It always seemed to me that he took the best action scenes and put them in Vol. 1, and the best story scenes and put them in Vol. 2. That was the practical cost of spltting the movie: not merely waiting six months, but the fact that his narrative was muddied and altered.

Also: "Physically berating"? "Silent berating"? Use your dictionaries, people.