Monday, July 12, 2004

Film Review: Kill Bill Volume 2

.:The Primer:.

I watched “Kill Bill vol. 2 “ last night with Grace, Carl, Sacha, and Sean. Zeus was there, but he left soon enough. It was a pretty fun night, although being incommunicado with Grace (As she had no phone at the time.) prevented me from meeting up with her right on time. We were really enjoying the Punisher trailer, as it was just so hilarious how we went along with it. (Oh, and I think I had a picture with the Punisher, too.)

In any case, after the initial hurdle of meeting up with Grace after we came from A&W for dinner and the inadvertent trouble that'd come afterwards, we managed to settle into the theater, except for the fact that only Carl and Sacha got to sit at first, before we eventually split up and started looking for our own seats.

The film ended pretty late, so I had to take Grace home, and that wasn't a bed of roses to do, either. I was especially tired already after the whole thing, but the movie was pretty much fine... now you know that the review is coming. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

.:Film Review: Kill Bill Volume 2:.

Kill Bill Volume 2:
This is not revenge. It's punishment.

Quentin Tarantino's second serving of Kill Bill for the people featured far less gore than the first did, much to the relief of most squeamish people. What it lacked in uber-violence, it more than made up for with excellent storytelling. I have to say that considering how shallow the whole film was supposed to be, the entire storyline of Kill Bill actually ran a lot deeper than just being about revenge. It was about punishment. Okay. I got a bit carried away with that... enough.

Anyways, the story is actually mostly about flashbacks, as the first scene depicts Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) riding in a car, on her way to... ta-dah! Kill Bill. The flashback then starts to the backstory of how this whole story was set into motion, as the last dialogue between Bill (David Carradine) and Beatrix happened, prior to having the rest of the assassin group file into the church and massacre everyone at the wedding rehearsal.

Then we next see how Bud and Elle (Daryl Hannah) were taken out of the equation, as well as insights on Beatrix' training under Pai Mei, who is a legendary kung-fu artist (Read: old school wire-fu movies.) who likes to insult the Japanese arts, any other foreigners, and any “style” beyond the Eagle claw style. I wish Bruce Lee were around to teach him a thing or two about “styles”...

Nonetheless, Beatrix escaped certain death from being buried alive by Budd through using her training with Pai Mei to bust through her coffin. She manages to make her way out, while Bud and Elle strike a deal over the Hanzo Hattori sword Budd managed to get from Beatrix. Elle double-crosses Budd with a black mamba in the money briefcase and then gets into a vicious fight with Beatrix, who beats all odds and still lives. Elle then reveals that she killed Pai Mei over plucking out her eye when she said something regrettable to Pai Mei, and Beatrix promptly pierces Elle's good eye, effectively blinding her completely.

When Beatrix confronts Bill, she discovers that her daughter was still alive, and that Bill knew he was the father. Beatrix bonds with her daughter, while Bill waits for her to settle their unfinished business, as it was clear that this twist did not dissuade Beatrix from having to... ta-dah! Kill Bill. After a dialogue on why Beatrix left Bill (Which involved a hilarious scene between Beatrix and another assassin...), they then finish the fight in an extremely short sequence, which is almost... anti-climactic, even. Beatrix feels a pang of regret that she had to.. ta-dah! Kill Bill, but she still does the secret “Five Point Exploding Heart Technique” on Bill, the one technique Pai Mei never taught to any of his other students.

A poignant moment between the former lovers occurs, and Beatrix starts crying as Bill walks the last five steps of his life. In the end, Beatrix finally managed to... ta-dah! Kill Bill.

The thing is, I really liked the comedy in this film whether or not Quentin Tarantino intended it. From Uma's campy dialogue about wanting to... ta-dah! You guessed it: Kill Bill, to the way Pai Mei kept on stroking his beard and to the inane confrontation between Uma and her would-be assassin during her last mission (The girl even congratulated Uma before leaving.), the comedy was extremely witty. I really liked the dialogue, and I had to say that I appreciated the twists and turns of the story.

I feel that the film was deeper than what Quentin himself claimed it to be, which is why it feels a lot better to watch it, because Quentin has made people not expect much from it story-wise, and yet the story runs deeply. From the notion of conflict when Beatrix finally meets Bill only to discover that he's been raising their daughter these past four years, to the way she was laughing and crying while thinking about Bill's death, you could see the kind of duality that existed in the film that simply made you think that there was more behind this carnage than just revenge. It may very well have been punishment. Just kidding.

Seriously, I liked the film. The action was top-notch while it lasted, although I really am not a fan of “styles” simply because Bruce Lee managed to prove that styles tend to define a person far too much, whereas a kind of “no-style” would actually be more powerful in that one is no longer defined to a particular limited set of knowledge and techniques. The depth of the film still makes itself clear, but really now, considering how David Carradine was the guy in Kung-Fu, and how Bruce Lee resented that fact severely, I guess we can see why there is hardly anything Taoist about their philosophy of fighting. Do note that the tiger crane style that Uma Thurman was using against Pai Mei's eagle claw style was actually David Carradine's fighting style in Kung-Fu, so there's an inside joke for you. I was puzzled why Uma still used a katana after being trained by the ethnocentric Pai Me, though... perhaps she melded her studies?

This is one film that managed to beat its own hype specifically by underhyping itself. It actually worked to its advantage, as while Quentin may be known as some kind of deep director and all, he tried to make it seem like he was being really shallow while making this film, which made the stark depth of the story actually seem so much deeper than it really was...

Marcelle's “Fun” Evaluation: A
Marcelle's “Critical” Evaluation: A

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