Kill Bill Vol. 1 (VHS, 2004)

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Kill Bill Vol. 1: Maximum Gore

Apr 15, 2004 (Updated May 10, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Kinetic, funny, violent, mad, gory revenge flick with an overload of style and wit.

Cons:Dying to see the second half

The Bottom Line: All style and shape, Kill Bill is a riff on every grindhouse movie ever made. This movie is largely something new. And it is great!


Quentin Tarantino loves grindhouse movies. He loves Kung-Fu, and Samurai flicks, and blaxploitation, and Anime, and the 1970ַ. Kill Bill is his homage to all of those things. It is a brilliant film; filled with kinetic energy, and off beat humor, and real excitement.

Kill Bill stars Uma Thurman as BLEEP (her name is a secret, and Tarantino bleeps it out every time it is uttered). Her codename is Black Mamba. She was once a member of the Deadly Viper Assassin Squad (that’s DIVA, baby), led by Bill (David Carradine of Kung Fu fame). For some reason she left the team, and was to be married.

Bill and his baddies show up at the chapel and kill the entire wedding party (including Samuel L. Jackson, who has a cameo as a dead organist in the church). What Bill and his band don’t realize is that the Bride isn’t quite dead.

She spends four years in a coma, and then awakens with revenge on her mind. She sets out to find Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba, yes I said Sonny Chiba, you know: The Street Fighter). Hanzo is a master sword maker. He makes for her the best sword he has ever created and tells her:

“If on your journey you should meet God, God will be cut.”

The bride sets out to find her enemies and kill them one by one. First on her list is O-Ren Ishi I (Lucy Liu). O-Ren is the head of the Yakuza, and is surrounded by her posse. The group is known as the crazy 88, and is led by Gogo Yubari, and seventeen year old assassin who likes to wear little school girl outfits and kill indiscriminately. Gogo is as deadly as she is cute.

The bride takes part in one of the bloodiest battles in movie history at The House of Blue Leaves. We get O-Ren’s back story in an anime flashback, which is beautifully constructed and shocking in its immediacy.

The bride also does battle with Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox). This battle is actually the first we witness. Tarantino has again chosen to use a non-linear narrative, giving us bits of information out of order. This adds to the excitement of the film.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 is, of course, only half the film. Volume 2 will be in theaters soon and we will have to wait until then to learn if Uma actually does Kill Bill.

The plot of this movie is actually not very important. At its heart it is a simple revenge story (like Tarantino’s beloved Rolling Thunder). Rather this film is all about style, context, form and sampling other movies. Q has created a highly kinetic, hyper-reality that sucks you in. Yes, this is fantasy. Yes, this is extreme. Yes, this is madness. But it is fun all the way through.

The blood comes in gushers and squirts. The camera lens is sometimes splattered with blood. The humor is over the top, and outrageous. And it is beautiful.

The references come hard and fast. Here are some of the allusions made:




Lodger, The (1927)
Scaramouche (1952)
Wings of Eagles, The (1957)
Magnificent Seven, The (1960)
Yojimbo (1961)
Tsubaki Sanjr (1962)
Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
Marnie (1964)
"Honey West" (1965)
Tky nagaremono (1966)
Da zui xia (1966)
Modesty Blaise (1966)
"Green Hornet, The" (1966)
Scandale, Le (1967)
"Ironside" (1967)
Kurotokage (1968)
Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro (1968)
Da uomo a uomo (1968)
Marie tait en noir, La (1968)
Twisted Nerve (1968)
C'era una volta il West (1968)
Wild Bunch, The (1969)
Siu kuen wong (1971)
Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
Hannie Caulder (1971)
Last House on the Left, The (1972)
Novia ensangrentada, La (1972)
Grande duello, Il (1972)
Joshuu sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-b (1972)
Doll Squad, The (1973)
Shurayukihime (1973)
Tian xia di yi quan (1973)
High Plains Drifter (1973)
White Lightning (1973)
Shura-yuki-hime: Urami Renga (1974)
Truck Turner (1974)
Uomini duri (1974)
Crash che botte! (1974)
Onna hissatsu ken (1974)
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
Thriller - en grym film (1974)
Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi (1975)
Profondo rosso (1975)
Switchblade Sisters (1975)
Black Sunday (1977)
Eaten Alive (1977)
7 note in nero (1977)
Hao xia (1978)
Yagy ichizoku no inb (1978)
Game of Death (1978)
Grease (1978)
Wu du (1978)
Patrick (1978)
Day of the Woman (1978)
"Hattori Hanz: Kage no Gundan" (1980)
Paura nella citt dei morti viventi (1980)
Resurrection (1980)
Shogun Assassin (1980)
Si wang ta (1981)
Makai tensh (1981)
Escape from New York (1981)
Xian si jue (1982)
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Tenebre (1982)
Professional: Golgo 13, The (1983)
Scarface (1983)
Gai shi ji hua (1984)
Wong ga jin si (1986)
Hard to Kill (1990)
3-4x jugatsu (1990)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Hong fen zhi zun (1991)
Unforgiven (1992)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Tai ji zhang san feng (1993)
Fong Shi Yu II: Wan fu mo di (1993)
True Romance (1993)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Jbei ninpch (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Full Tilt Boogie (1997)
"Weikreuz" (1998)
Kite (1998)
SF: Episode One (1998)
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999) (V)
Proboscis (2000)
Wo hu cang long (2000)
Batoru rowaiaru (2000)
Koroshiya 1 (2001)

And: Charlie Brown

I would not even begin to suggest that this is a complete list.

Another fascinating thing about this movie is the acting. Uma does a great job of playing it straight, but still holding a wink in her eye. The rest of the cast is also marvelous.

This is one of the best movies of the last year. I enjoyed it immensely. It is a bit like watching Pulp Fiction followed by a bunch of Hong Kong Kung Fu pics, and a few Samurai films while taking mescaline.

This film is everything the Matrices were not.



While you're in the mood, check out my Samurai revies:

Yojimbo http://www.epinions.com/content_100721790596
Seven Samurai http://www.epinions.com/content_100727230084
Samurai 1: Musashi Miyamoto http://www.epinions.com/content_100739288708
The Hagakure http://www.epinions.com/content_100747284100
Ghost Dog http://www.epinions.com/content_100747284100
Sanjuro http://www.epinions.com/content_101187161732
The Hidden Fortress http://www.epinions.com/content_101303422596


And, have a look here:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1413715265/qid=1084201519/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3__i3_xgl14/102-9882263-3751353?v=glance&s=books

http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping/shopreviewlist.asp?id=4707




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