The second half of Quentin Tarantino‘s outrageously inventive Kill Bill series is just as murderously brilliant as the first. The Bride (Uma Thurman) wakes up from a coma five years after she was shot in the head. Revenge is on her mind, and she sets out to pick off her ex-mentor’s band of assassins one by one, until there’s nothing left to do but kill Bill (David Carradine). Co-stars Lucy Liu, Vivica Fox and Michael Madsen.
|Uma Thurman||David Carradine|
|Daryl Hannah||Michael Madsen|
|Vivica A. Fox||Lucy Liu|
|Chia Hui Liu||Samuel L. Jackson|
Action & Adventure
THE AV REVIEW
One of the first things that struck me about Kill Bill 2 is how Tarantino seems to have aimed it at a subtly different audience. The first was both a paean and a parody of the Hong Kong style fight film and the anime style that is part and part of the same package. This film is something else – in some ways it is almost a commentary on the forces behind the making of part one, and an opportunity for Tarantino, speaking through Bill (David Carradine), to express some of his aesthetics directly to a willing audience.
This makes it a somewhat headier film as it traces The Bride’s (Uma Thurman) progress towards their inevitable confrontation. The first part of the film, told in the context of a live burial covers confrontations with both Bill’s brother Budd (Michael Madsen) and Elle (Darryl Hannah). The best acting here is a surprise performance by Chia Hui Liu, who plays Pai Mei, a perfect parody of a Chinese master of the martial arts. In many ways, these sequences are some of the best in the film, and they crystallize what is happening to The Bride (also known as Beatrix Kiddo) in the present.
That part done, the action turns to the hunt for Bill and Bea’s discovery of her child (mentioned at the end of Kill Bill 1). This is the point where Tarantino shifts gears, spending as more time on emotional and intellectual questions than he does on actual violence. This makes an interesting contrast, and those who were expecting an explosive conclusion may find that this time they are a bit nonplussed. There is a moment of blurring action, but this adheres more to the Samurai model where the actual stroke occurs in a moment, almost as a side effect of the dramatic content.
What makes this all exceptional is that Tarantino to what was an absolutely predictable plot and manages to make each movement full of surprise and seeming free will. Tarantino shows himself a master of camera styles and choreography to the same effect, focusing this time on more intimate spaces. The physical acting is also notable (especially the fight scene between Elle and The Bride). The two films in this series make an interesting study of the palette of one of our more unorthodox directors.
The Blu-Ray is a great looking disc. It sports reference quality visuals and a HD audio track to match. The features are kind of weak, but they’re going to be. Tarantino hasn’t really taken the time to show off what he has in the vaults for Kill Bill. Hell, at least we’re getting this film on Blu-Ray. That’s a lot more than other directors have done. This Blu-Ray disc is a recommended blind buy.