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Kill Bill Vol. 1

The first half of Quentin Tanrantino's epic female revenge saga.

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Tarantino Has Made A Fun Movie

  • Jul 11, 2009
Rating:
+4
Quentin Tarantino is most well known for his film Pulp Fiction, released in 1994.  It's perhaps one of the biggest cult classics of all time.  After that Quentin Tarantino made Jackie Brown and was then silent for a long time after.  Turns out, he wasn't just slacking off, he was planning out a film and trying to come up with a movie he'd had stuck in his mind since he was at work on Pulp Fiction.  His film involved a bride who wanted revenge, and he wanted Uma for the part of the bride.  The two eventually made the character themselves.  And in 2003 she finally had her debut in Kill Bill. 

Quentin Tarantino is not exactly a film maker for everyone.  His style and cult status have given people this "Love it/hate it" feel about his movies.  This has never been truer of any movie than it has been of Kill Bill.  It's style is so different, out there and over the top that you almost have to be a Tarantino fan to enjoy it (almost) and even if you ARE a Tarantino fan there isn't a 100% chance you'll enjoy what you get. 

Kill Bill was also so long that it was split into two parts.  Volume 1 is more or less all action oriented as the bride seeks out those who have wronged her.  The movie opens with Bill being ever so sadistic and shooting her in the head.  Afterwards a sheriff and company inspect the place she was shot.  She was getting ready to get married and it turns out she was also pregnant.  Yet she has somehow survived her shot to the head, but is in a coma.  She finally awakens from the coma four years later only to discover that she is no longer pregnant.  She can, however, remember who did this to her.  How can she not?  She then realizes what she must do.  First, she must learn how to walk again.  Then, she must find Hatori Hanzo, and have this man make her a sword so that she can go up against Bill and those who wronged her.

As you might expect, Quentin Tarantino doesn't exactly play out each and every event in order.  For example, after the scene in which Bill shoots the bride, we immediately see the bride kill her SECOND victim, and then the rest of the film is nearly a flashback to how she got out of the hospital and killed her first victim.  In short, much like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, it starts off in the middle and eventually loops around.  It's a directing style that so few directors can pull off very well.  At the very least however, most of the movie is actually in a relatively straightforward order.  Since her killing her Second vicim is such a short moment, the bulk of the movie is dedicated to how she realizes she needs revenge to kill the first.  As such, the movie is set up in such a way that it doesn't have to focus too strongly on all of the characters involved at once... only a select few.  Since the second assassin is killed off so quickly, she hardly warrants a backstory.  On the other hand, the first assassin on her list: O Ren-Ishii (Lucy Liu) is given quite an enormous backstory.  Quentin Tarantino has a knack for developing is characters in a very good manner.  Here it is no different.  We watch as O Ren rises to the top and becomes quite a threatening woman in her own right.  This is shown perfectly when someone brings her heritage into question and she quickly cuts off his head.  

One thing about Kill Bill can't be ignored.  It's an incredibly violent and bloody movie.  In fact, there was one scene where The Bride takes on several members of a gang and it had to be shot in black and white so that Tarantino could avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.  It should be noted that much of the violence takes place near the end of the film.  We watch as characters lose body parts and blood sprays every which way.  However, in spite of that, it's done in such a way that it looks very surreal.  It's very violent, but not the kind of violence that needs everyone to get up in arms about.  Think of the blood in Sweeney Todd... that bright strawberry colored kind of red and that's primarily what you're getting in Kill Bill.  Actually, we can go as far as to say you're getting a lot in black and white since the film's most violent scene is shot in black and white. 

Tarantino is also known for having a lot of nice dialog in his films.  True, here you're getting a lot of good dialog that mostly comes off as natural.  But you won't get a whole lot of memorable monologues or conversations from the movie like you did with Pulp Fiction.  In fact, the bulk of the entire Saga's good dialog comes primarily from the second film.  As does the majority of the character development and story.  All the questions that you are left with at the end of the first film are answered in full in the second.  It's no wonder Tarantino had to split it in two.  He wanted the best of two worlds.  Lots of action, fun and insanity combined with the makings of a good plot and story.  For those looking for action and fun, you've got Kill Bill Volume 1.  For those looking for story, you've got Kill Bill Volume 2.  And yet amazingly one can't stand without the other. 

And Kill Bill Volume 1 is fun.  It's a lot of fun to watch.  Tarantino blends things together well.  From some of those cheesy sound effects (completely intentional) to some of the music you'll hear in the film.  It's fun and doesn't take itself so seriously, yet it presents with nice narratives and a kickass character we only know as The Bride. 

As I said, however, it's not something even Quentin Tarantino fans may find themselves falling in love with.  Indeed, Kill Bill is DEFINITELY not for everyone.  The characters sort of "flying" and walking up rails in the stairs may not bode well for some.  The long sword fight as The Bride slices through many bodies may also not bode well.  In short, if you're the type of movie goer that takes everything seriously (and if you enjoyed Pulp Fiction I can only wonder why you wouldn't be accustomed to Tarantino's humor) you may very well find this movie to be no fun at all.  All the spraying blood and such just doesn't please people.  In fact, some may see this movie as nothing more than a big joke that just isn't all that funny.  Others may come to see it as nothing more than just splatter.  And others may not like all the cheesy effects.  There's a narrative and story tucked in there.  It's just not all fleshed out yet because we're watching only one half of an epic film.  In the midst of all the violence and spraying blood Tarantino never forgets that he IS telling a story.  And he makes sure to throw in one honey of a twist at the end in Bill's final speech to make movie-goers curious enough to watch the second film... even if the first wasn't quite your cup of tea. 

Kill Bill probably won't go down as one of the greatest films ever made, but what it does, it does right.  It's the first part of what manages to be one great story in the end.  Like many of Tarantino's film, it has found an audience and that's a good thing.  It's a film that probably deserves to be admired. 

Of course, without Part 2...

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July 14, 2009
Great review! This is among my faves from Tarantino...it is just a melting pot of references from Asian cinema. Glad you mentioned that the 'battle of the house of leaves' was originally shot in color that was shown in Japan. I managed to own the Japanese region-2 release and it was so much cooler! Too bad the release of "Kill Bill the whole Bloody affair" has been delayed again...nice job as always, Sean. Boy, can you write!
 
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More Kill Bill Vol. 1 reviews
review by . September 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I would have to hesitate in calling any movie perfect, but if I were forced to pick one example of a flick that was near perfect for me, it would have to be Kill Bill Vol.'s 1&2.  These two films (well really one cut in half) embody everything that I love in a movie going experience; it's amazingly stylistic, there's a ton of action, there's plenty of plot and character development, it's gory and exploitative, yet light and silly at times, it's story is well versed …
Quick Tip by . October 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Has a very curious, very neat feel, like a cross between lots of different genres, and it works great.
Quick Tip by . July 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
First half of Tarantino's homage to spaghetti westerns and chop socky movies has Volume 1 carrying the action and literal buckets of blood with a woman on a quest for revenge. Lacks Tarantino's dialouge, but saves it for Vol 2.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I like the chapter format of Tanrantino's, it allows him to entertain a much more faceted story. Kill Bill is one of the easiest film through which to initiate new fans to his work.
Quick Tip by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Leave it to Tarantino to make the sexiest fighters in filmography - Vivica A, Fox, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah and Uma Thurman are to die for.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The sleek and remarkable plot thrusts you straight into a tale of revenge and endurance. Every second means something.
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
My boyfriend told me I reminded him of Uma Thurman (I don't look like her, but whatever) and it was the best compliment I've ever gotten. I just rewatched these movie, and oh wow. I just love them to pieces. I think I like the second part better, but the whole thing get an A+.
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Tarantino's best- the mix of a western, a japnese comic book drama, and a dark comedy. It all comes together.
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
Love it!
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
Love this!
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Starring Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Writer:  Quentin Tarantino
2003

Product Description
The acclaimed fourth film from groundbreaking writer and director Quentin Tarantino (PULP FICTION, JACKIE BROWN), KILL BILL VOLUME 1 stars Uma Thurman (PULP FICTION), Lucy Liu (CHARLIE'S ANGELS, CHICAGO), and Vivica A. Fox (TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME) in an astonishing, action-packed thriller about brutal betrayal and an epic vendetta! Four years after taking a bullet in the head at her own wedding, The Bride (Thurman) emerges from a coma and decides it's time for payback ... with a vengeance! Having been gunned down by her former boss (David Carradine) and his deadly squad of international assassins, it's a kill-or-be-killed fight she didn't start but is determined to finish! Loaded with explosive action and outrageous humor, it's a must-see motion picture event that has critics everywhere raving!
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Details

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Action, Drama, Western, Animation, Adventure
Release Date: October 10, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Runtime: 1hr 47min
Studio: Miramax Films, A Band Apart
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