Kill "Kill Bill"
With less excitement and more chitchat, "Kill Bill Vol. 2" shows that Quentin Tarantino should have taken a samurai sword to his multipart misadventure in the editing room if not blown it away completely.
By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
It's been said that Quentin Tarantino makes terrible movies really, really well. With "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" he also seems capable of making great movies really, really badly.
The first installment of his "Kill Bill" saga (aka Vol. 1) wasn't a great film by any stretch of the imagination but it was certainly stylish (in fact that's all it was plot, tension, and character development were notably absent from the former video store clerk turned bloody auteur's much-touted "comeback" film). Oddly enough, style seems to have been a secondary consideration for the second half of this Uma Thurman revenge vehicle, with the emphasis more on those elements missing from the first.
|KILL BILL, VOL. 2|
|Directed by: Quentin Tarantino.|
Written by: Quentin Tarantino, Uma Thurman.
Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Chia Hui Liu, Michael Parks, Perla Haney-Jardine, Christopher Allen Nelson, Bo Svenson, Jeannie Epper, Claire Smithies, Clark Middleton, Laura Cayouette, Larry Bishop, Sid Haig, Reda Beebe, Samuel L. Jackson, Caitlin Keats.
Cinematography: Robert Richardson.
Edited by: Sally Menke.
Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
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Kill Bill Vol. 1|
Quentin Tarantino starts by showing what makes him a master of the film medium, but soon lapses into empty spurting of movie blood and recycling of cultural cliches.
"Kill Bill: Vol. 2" turns out to be more talk than action and not very interesting talk at that.
It's as if, as I suspected back in October, Tarantino simply cut his self-indulgent and overlong film straight down the middle thhwwhack! with one strike of The Bride's (Thurman) ornately detailed Hattori Hanzo sword. Many times during Vol. 2 I felt as though I was watching outtakes from Vol. 1: all the boring stuff, all the sequences that didn't work, all the scenes that ran on way too long. Vol. 2's end titles credit performers who only appeared in the first film, supporting a median split.
Pieced together, "Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2" (even at some four hours and fifteen minutes) probably would have made for a better, more satisfying return to form. But unscrupulous marketers and, I daresay, Tarantino himself got greedy.|
Conning moviegoers into paying twice to see the one film, "Kill Bill"'s promotions department figured the film would play well in two unedited chapters, but it helps to have seen V1 in order to appreciate V2. There are references and decisions and plot points in the first film that never see the light of day in the second. For example, Bill's Deadly Viper Assassination Squad is never referred to by name. Gone are Vivica A. Fox's Vernita Green aka Copperhead and Lucy Liu's O-Ren Ishii aka Cottonmouth, leaving Elle Driver aka California Mountain Snake (Darryl Hannah), Budd aka Sidewinder (Michael Madsen), and Bill himself (David Carradine, now a flesh-and-blood adversary rather than a disaffected, dislocated voice) in this second go-round. And instead of focusing exclusively on her samurai blade of choice, The Bride aka Black Mamba mixes it up a little in Vol. 2, killing wise.
But there's dull, uninvolving, unnecessary stuff here. The black-and-white expository scene in the wedding chapel kill that. The overly talky scenes in which Bill waxes metaphoric about Superman and the fate of goldfish kill those. And scenes with grandmaster Pai Mei and Budd's bar boss and Michael Parks's charismatic Tijuana pimp -kill, kill, kill. "Kill Bill: Vol.2" is near on two-and-a-half hours and less happens than in the first volume, which was overlong at 111 minutes.|
In this installment, Tarantino seems more self-importantly arch, derivative, and grandiose. If Volume 1 was chop socky, Volume 2 is unashamedly chop cocky.
Revenge might well be "a dish served cold" (to quote the film's unmemorable tagline) but the lukewarm "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" feels more like the half-course meal it truly is, and not a very palatable one at that.
|APRIL 20, 2004|
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