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Double-Feature Review: Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2 (2003-2004)

Review of Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

2nd Viewing

Tarantino Marathon Part IV of IX

Screened at Irvine Spectrum’s RPX Theater w/@RaymondSkinner 

Style! Style! More style! Even more style! More! More! More!

If that intro didn’t convince you already, I personally find Quentin Tarantino’s iconic, action-brimmed sensation Kill Bill Volume 1 to be his most stylistic film yet and, in all probability, his most stylistic film ever. Names are censored with cheesy “bleep” noises, live-action videos awkwardly become stills, Japanese narration will spontaneously appear out of nowhere, the color pallet is suddenly replaced with a classical black-and-white aesthetic, etc., etc., etc., the soundtrack darts through more musical hits than Suicide squad—except this time around, it legitimately enhances the experience—etc.,etc.,etc. I mean, the movie, a third way through, with no ifs and buts, modifies into an anime flashback sequence for one of our lovely antagonists. The consistency of a methodology is unmerited in the eyes of a 40-year-old Tarantino.

See, if more action blockbusters today could suggest more ostentatious techniques like Kill Bill, I would be ever so cheery. If you’re going to make a film with a simple, straight-going, mainstream plot, at least add some tasteful flair to it so that it can stand out like a sore thumb, am I right?

Let’s just get this out of the way because you simply can’t disregard such a distinguishable portion of Kill Bill Volume 1. The finale is one of the most impressive action spectacles ever put to screen. All of Tarantino’s shiniest knacks and superpowers rupture through this blood-thirsty accomplishment. If I could grade this movie solely on the finale, I’d give it an A+, without a doubt. It sucks you into its presentation like no other combat sequence out there.

Superficial in its randomized plot yet meticulous in its execution, Kill Bill Volume 1 is not only a grand homage to classic Asian action flicks, but also a riveting, cutthroat spirit of its own.

Verdict Change: A —> A-

This Movie is a Part of My List: Ranking Quentin Tarantino’s Films From Best to Worst

“Kill Bill Vol. 1” is now available to rent and buy on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Google Play.

killbill2.jpg

Review of Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)

2nd Viewing

Tarantino Marathon Part V of IX

Screened at Irvine Spectrum’s RPX Theater w/@RaymondSkinner

For those who were blessed enough to see back in 2003 and 2004 in theaters not only Kill Bill Volume 1 but also it’s quick-to-follow companion piece Kill Bill Volume 2 (AKA The Bride’s Conclusion), I would’ve begged to be in your shoes. At the time, I wasn’t even nearly old enough to watch an R-rated movie, heck, even that of a PG-13 feature-length. But now, sitting here, watching these two Grindhouse menaces back-to-back in the consolation of Regal’s “premium” IMAX theater, I now know exactly how it must’ve felt to had witnessed such an iconic festival come to life on the big screen.

Volume 2 opens with a hearty, broadened conversation between both The Bride and Bill—a fresh, new mood-setter for the slower and grimmer pace at hand. What follows is the actual visual depiction of the tragic incident which had been the origin of the Bride’s delirious yet justified rampage for vengeance. It became crystal clear, at that instant, that this sequel was preparing to advance down a much more serious, sentimental, and undoubtedly personal piece of the fable than its style-heavy predecessor.

Bill’s critical role in Volume 2 unquestionably steals the whole entire shebang. The heavy-handed dialogue he’s given and the harmonization we get to observe between him and The Bride are gracefully added zeniths for the film’s transfixing story. They, with no punches pulled, make the second part stand on its own rather than feel like a downright interchangeable sequel.

Having said that, Volume 1 had more awareness. It knew exactly what it was and went full-steam-ahead with its glorified inanities, and casted away it’s violent temptations without spilling a single dull moment in its just below two-hour runtime’s pacing. Volume 2 however—while still bewildering, nonetheless—suffers from a fazing sense of distrust and haphazardness. Its pacing is a bit impulsive and its arrangement is a little sporadic. But like I mentioned before, the mere flaws only put slight dents into Volume 2’s existence collectively.

With that in mind though, my sole ***major*** complaint with the epic as a whole, therefore, is that I personally felt that a lot more consequential footage could’ve been incorporated into Volume 1 and a lot of footage could’ve been removed out of Volume 2 to make it a brisker feature. In other words, I wish there was some more intimacy transferred into Volume 1 and that the emotional weight in Volume 2 wasn’t executed as such an overload of information.

All in all, though, Kill Bill Volume 2 kicks ass just like Volume 1. Maybe not as much…ass (could’ve worded that better, I know)…as Volume 1, but assuredly enough to consider it an over and above satisfying conclusion to the Bride’s iconic revenge voyage. As Bill himself had put it, “It was priceless.”

Verdict Change: B —> B+

This Movie is a Part of My List: Ranking Quentin Tarantino’s Films From Best to Worst

“Kill Bill Vol. 2” is now available to rent and buy on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Showtime.

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