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Kill Bill Vol. 1

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

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Those of you lucky enough to have your lives, take them with you...

  • Sep 26, 2010

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 in the history of cinema, it's incredibly detailed with so many layers of reference and homage that there's an entire book dedicated to annotations and references, it's inventive in it's form, has great music, and most importantly it's quick and fun and it knows exactly what it is and makes no pretensions about it.

I saw these flicks in the theater, and literally from the first frame of the old grindhouse feature presentation screen I was in love.  Every single frame of this movie is dripping with cinema love, nothing is boring, and no time is wasted.  As an example, almost every single scene in the movie has a connection to something else that either in an joke or a reference to another movie, like the sunglasses lined up on the dashboard of Texas Ranger Earl McGraw's car, these are a reference to the original Gone in 60 Seconds, and then the actor himself is playing a character from another Tarantino movie, From Dusk 'Til Dawn.  What I really love about these moments is that even though there is so much to them, none of this is important to the plot, so the average movie goer should be just as entertained as those who do know this stuff.  This is done even better with the character of Hatroi Hanzo, the sword maker that forges the Bride's sword.  The actor, Sonny Chiba, is playing a character that he's played before (in the show Kage No Gundan), yet everything that you need to know is right in the movie.  This movie also cements the odd mixture of universes that Tarantino has been slowly establishing in his films.  Basically there are two Tarantino universes, the "real world" and the "cinema world".  Pulp Fiction takes place in the "real world" and Kill Bill in the "cinema world", so for instance, the character of Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, who is a failed actress who once did a pilot for a television show about these five girl action-spies (Fox Force Five), is quite possible "playing the role" of the Bride in Kill Bill (not to mention the fact that the DiVAS, Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, in Kill Bill is based on Fox Force Five from Pulp Fiction.)  So Kill Bill would effectively be a movie that the characters from films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, or Jackie Brown might go see.

This is the same sort of idea that's established in Stephen Kings body of work via his spaghetti western influenced fantasy series the Dark Tower, that all things, fiction, literature, movies, and ultimately the real world are all interconnection in a much more drastic way than just existing together.  That if one were able to make a tear in reality there would be a possibility that that person could then drift into another world, possibly even a world that was established in a work of fiction.  Hell, it goes so far as to suggest that even our "reality" is someone else's fiction.  Kill Bill is the embodiment of this idea.

Because the flicks are so filled with references to other cinema, I took some time out a year or so ago with a friend to explore them as best as we could.  I picked up the great annotation book by D.K. Holm, Kill Bill: An Unofficial Casebook, and with the help of the internets, Amazon.com, eBay, Netflix, and even some local video stores, managed to put together a list of most of the films referenced.  Here's what we ended up watching based on our interest in Kill Bill:

Lady Snowblood, Thriller: A Cruel Picture, The Street Fighter, Kage No Gundan (series one, episode one), 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Circle of Iron, Kung Fu (tv series, episode one), Yojimbo, Fistful of Dollars, Death Rides a Horse, Game of Death, Green Hornet Vol. 1, Five Fingers of Death, Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart on the River Styx, Master of the Flying Guillotine, Fists of the White Lotus, Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Black Mama/White Mama, Switchblade Sisters, and Battle Royale.


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November 18, 2010
Excellent review
September 26, 2010
Love this movie! Have you seen the NC-17 extended Japanese version? even more awesome!
More Kill Bill Vol. 1 reviews
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!
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
loved it
About the reviewer
Shawn Robare ()
Ranked #214
   I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books, and buy a lot of useless nostalgia crap. I run Brandedinthe80s.com, am a co-organizer of the Up! Fair (upfair.org), and am one of the co-hosts … more
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About this movie


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

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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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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