Kill Bill: Volume One
Rated R for profanity, perversion and graphic samurai violence.
Review by Tom Johnson
Let me start off by saying that, in its own beautiful, bizarre way, “Kill Bill” is a perfect film. Utterly flawless. That’s the gist of this review, so you can pretty much stop reading there if you want to. But for those of you who like detail, allow me to elaborate.
Tarantino’s passion for this project bleeds from each frame in bigger geysers than the ones spraying from its doomed subjects’ fatal wounds. He loves samurais, swords, and cheesy Japanese dialogue. After this film, so will you. As in his three previous films, Tarantino wears his influences on his sleeve, yet somehow manages to craft something entirely new. While he may have pulled music, quotes and themes from various, obscure sources(ranging from cheesy 60’s grindhouse flicks to low-budget Japanese television to spaghetti westerns to Brian DePalma), they now belong to him and the instant classic he has produced. Just as Flash Gordon, Errol Flynn movies and even Akira Kurosawa’s “Hidden Fortress” were pushed to the background of cinematic reference once “Star Wars” was released, “Kill Bill” now succeeds every one of its inspirations and stands as a cinematic milestone in the action/adventure genre. It’s every bit as innovative as 1994’s “Pulp Fiction”, and a hell of a lot more fun.
Told in the same non-linear fashion as the director’s other work, the film tells the story of a former assassin(Uma Thurman), once known as Black Mamba, but now only known as The Bride, who after becoming pregnant, tries to leave her deadly profession behind and start a new life. Unfortunately for her, the remaining members of her team, known as the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad(or D.i.V.A.S., bearing a suspicious resemblance to the fictional Fox Force Five mentioned by Thurman’s character in “Pulp”) decide to show up, kill every member of the wedding party, and beat the Bride to a bloody pulp. The final bullet is saved for her by head boss Bill(70s icon David Carridine of “Kung Fu”). As Bill himself says, “I put a bullet through her head, but her heart just kept on ticking”, and after 4 years of laying comatose, the Bride wakes up with one thing on her mind: revenge. What follows(or, due to the chop-sockey editing, occasionally precedes) is her quest to take each member of her former squad down before finally gunning for “the Man” himself. Despite his unique style, Tarantino’s smart enough to save that last part for Volume II, but enough death and vengeance is dished out in Volume I to last you well