Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Kill Bill, Vol. 2 

This movie freaking rocks! If you've yet to see Vol. 1, rent it. It's also very good, and is necessary to fully appreciate Vol. 2, but they are two distinct movies.

If you've already seen Vol. 1 and liked it, you're probably already planning on seeing Vol. 2. If you saw Vol. 1 and didn't really like it because there was too much graphic violence, bloodshed and gore, or because the constant fighty-fights wore you out, fear not! Vol. 2 is much more dialogue and storyline driven. There are plenty of action sequences and bloodshed if that's your thing, but they're interwoven with the plot and used to great effect. The fighting and bloodletting in Vol. 1 was so over the top that I found myself immune to it after a while. In Vol. 2, one particular swordfighting sequence left me literally holding my breath then transitioning to the longest held grimace I've experienced, longer even than the time I inadvertently chomped down on a mouthful of shaved beets that had been tossed atop my salad in a fine Provincetown restaurant. You'll know the scene when you see it. Incidents of pain and bleeding in Vol. 2 are such that they make you wince and feel sympathy pain.

Vol. 2 gets underway with a bit of a time jump, as Uma Thurman's character is on her way to carrying out another task on her list, having already accomplished others that we'll see later in the movie. Vol. 1 used this same technique. While Vol. 1 opened with a slow, methodical ballad uncovering a gruesome scene, Vol. 2's opening is more snappy and jaunty. Then it moves into a grainy, scratchy-soundtrack retro scene in which was see the lead up to the Vol. 1 wedding carnage. Throughout Vol. 2, the imagery and cinematography are outstanding, the music is perfect, and the acting is perfect. I thought Lucy Liu was the biggest badass of them all after seeing Vol. 1, until I saw Darryl Hannah in action in Vol. 2 (she has a much bigger role in this volume). And I love her boots!

Vol. 2 takes us on The Bride's continuing quest of revenge, but this time we see more of the internal struggles going on for the main characters. We also get to see the arduous training she and other members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad underwent, enabling a good number of classic training scenes and a somewhat amusing/somewhat annoying beard stroking/flipping action. Michael Masden excels as assassin Budd, who even while leading a rotten existence as a strip bar bouncer and living in a empty bottle-ridden trailer in the desert still manages to exude the vulnerability that made Louise love him so.

David Carradine's Bill is prone to lengthy soliloquies delivered in a Master-Grasshopper style. At one point I found myself wondering if this is what Quentin Tarantino sounds like. Just then Bill launched into a lecture on the lore and mythology of classic comic books, and I knew I was right.

The Bride proved herself a talented warrior in Vol. 1, but in Vol. 2 she must battle her strongest foes and fight a struggle against obstacles of her own creation.

See this movie. And stay for the credits.

Amazon links: Kill Bill Vol. 1, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Thelma and Louise, Quentin Tarantino

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:21 PM