Kill Bill: Volume 1 (USA)

directed by: Quentin Tarantino
starring: Uma Thurman; David Carradine; Darryl Hannah
Kill Bill: Volume 1
Bruce says: "It’s only cartoon violence. That makes it OK, right? Killing, when done for revenge, can be joyous fun, can’t it? The Bride (Uma Thurman) doesn’t actually wink at the audience after each kill so perhaps I’m getting carried away. I have not seen KILL BILL: VOL 2 yet. Please don’t spoil things for me and tell me there is a good reason she is doing all that killing. Yes, she was a victim of a rubout on her wedding day. Her unborn daughter did not survive nor did any other members of her wedding party. That is so sad. Come to think of it, she was an assassin by profession. How sad is that?

"On a popular website, KILL BILL: VOL 1 is listed as the 56th best film of all time acing out RASHOMON (58) and RAGING BULL (60) to give you two examples of “lesser” films. Both of those films contain considerable violence accompanied by brilliant insight into the human condition. And both of those films are 5 cat classics in my opinion. KILL BILL: VOL 1 more or less ignores the human condition, preferring to vacillate between superhuman feats accomplished by sub-human characters.

"KILL BILL: VOL 1 features fountains of blood spraying from bodies with severed heads and severed arms. A number of years ago a sociological study revealed that by the time a child becomes a teenager, he/she will have witnessed over 12,000 killings on television. So entering one’s teens, that child can be expected to be, to some degree, inured to acts of violence. (Should any child have watched KILL BILL: VOL 1, that estimate should be raised. Be forewarned, there are so many corpses and body parts in this film that actual counts may be difficult.) It is disturbing to me that films like this are made much less achieve great popularity and cult status.

"Tarantino is a competent, flashy director. His cultural references are astounding. His mind is a treasure trove of musical and cinematic history. He is addicted to style and action, both of which were in abundance in PULP FICTION, a film I loved. KILL BILL: VOL 1 has enough action for ten films but its style is not distinct; it is flat and dull by comparison. Uma Thurman is convincing only part of the time. Occasionally she gives the impression that she is rehearsing her lines, oblivious to the fact she is being filmed. Lucy Liu plays O-Ren Ishii, number one on The Bride’s hit list. Her performance here is lackluster and amateurish.

"Tarantino is greatly influenced by Asian cinema. He even injects some anime into his Japanese storyline this time around. The most real parts of the film are the scenes where The Bride goes to Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chuba), a martial arts master, to have a sword made to order for her mission. Having seen HERO recently, good elegant sword fighting is fresh in my mind. Uma’s big samurai moment is choppy, clumsy, and poorly edited although it is lively. The Bride’s eyes reflect nicely in her made-to-order killing machine and she does a fine job slicing a baseball pitched her way. That’s it. No substance. No soul. 1.5 cats"

Howard says: "It's quite apparent from KILL BILL: VOLUME 1 that Quentin Tarantino has not lost any of his love for pulp fiction. From the opening black and white sequence of Uma Thurman to the final almost touching final fight scene with Lucy Liu, KILL BILL has the makings of an epic cult film. I say cult film because I'm sure the movie will polarize audiences. Tarantino takes some big risks with his film genre bending and mixing. Most of them pay off.

"The action sequences that were talked about are actually not as sustained as rumoured. In fact, it really shows a sign of maturity in Tarantino that the action takes breaks so the audience can take a breath before the characters start in on each other
again. It makes the characters more human, too, since even those in the best shape
could not withstand these constant pounding without taking a short breather.

"The story? It's a revenge plot, plain and simple, and as pulpy as those get. Plus the actors are all quite up to that task. They all go about chewing up the scenery, which fits quite nicely into the film as it's set up. It's good to see Thurman again. Here she takes the lead as The Bride with much vigor and attitude because The Bride is pissed. Her old assassin team has killed her entire wedding party and even tried to kill her, but didn't quite finish the job. Now she wants to get even.

"And it's great fun. With over the top fight scenes with heads and limbs flying to bodies squirting blood like hoses, Tarantino is wearing his cheesy gore film influences on his sleeve. There are several film genres here and the best is the back story on Lucy Liu's character when the film switches to Japanese anime to set up the audience for the second half of the film which takes place in Japan. The dialogue is more classy in this half of the film only between Thurman and Liu. Instead of using the F-word (as Tarantino is want to do in his films), they shoot more witty barbs at each other as if there was once great respect between them. This sets up a scene at the end of their fight that is actually touching and makes The Bride human instead of just a killing machine.

"Of course, the film ends with a cliff hanger because Miramax didn't want to release a 3-hour plus film; however, with some creative editing it ends nicely and sets up for KILL BILL: VOLUME 2. It gives hints about The Bride's husband, the baby she was carrying, how she was found after going into hiding and her relationship with Bill to name a few things. All of which are very soap opera, but a soap that is very stylized and willing to take chances. None of this would have worked had it not been for Tarantino being self-aware he was just making a big piece of entertaining fluff. In other hands, it would have just been another over-wrought pile of junk. And even if Miramax cut it in two, it's nice to know that they have allowed out a film that tries to push the envelope." 4 cats

Nathaniel T. says: "This may be the meatiest piece of experimental artifice since MOULIN ROUGE! (or last year's FAR FROM HEAVEN). I'm not going to comment on the
plot, because I'm sure if anyone reads one more synopsis, their head will explode. Uma Thurman is back on track, the cinematography is superb, the music is perfect, and the costumes and sets are incredible. This is one of those films that my generation is going to claim forever." 4 cats