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Kill Bill: Volume 2 | Review

Vengeance from the Heart

Tarantino’s homage is cheesy, sensitive and fans will get “bloody satisfaction”.

The matter is settled (and I’m not talking about the deleted mystery name that was bleeped out). For those concerned on whether the splitting of one lengthy proposed epic into two filmic chunks was a deliberate money-making ploy or not will frankly, not really give a damn once the samurai sword swinging blonde starts crossing out the names on the short end of a her list of names with a death wish. Quentin Tarantino’s human decapitate-a-thon in the autumn of 2003 was the guilty pleasure of the year, a cinematic indulgence that wowed viewers with a blood-spattered fun time. The biggest surprise about volume deux is that the film doesn’t feel like yesterday’s leftovers, giving the viewer plenty of stylized QT with not much hush hush.

You’d think that coming out a four-year coma would be one of life’s greatest achievements for the beautiful blonde vixen, but Tarantino has a lot more in store for his fans and for the former contract killer. Among the goodies are the unfathomable ways in which The Bride takes out her victims as

Thurman continues to spew her venom and does plenty of rampaging, but this time the narrative brings on a suitcase of back story and also unveils another career out of direct-to-video cobwebs. As he did for Travolta, Willis and Pam Grier’s career, Tarantino pleasures himself by adding 70’s and 80’s forgotten stars David Carradine as the famous Bill and Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver to his depth chart. Gordon Liu, as the monk, is wickedly funny as master Pei-Lei, he manages to converge a lifetime of Shaolin experience in a couple of enjoyable master and student training scenes with the “American girl”. While the body count is limited to a few (you can count them on one hand), each sequence is storied in such a way that one can’t help but think how cool everything is, especially in the one-on-one duels and the homage touches that Tarantino sprinkles throughout the film. While (Kill Bill: Volume 1) was all action and short-changed for its lack of plot, number two takes a free-for-all approach, adding plot twists, an unexpected touch of romanticism with plenty more of Tarantino-stylized dialogue.

Watching a Tarantino film feels like having watched a bunch of old movie titles on an old VHS tape. I’m sure that the former video-store clerk must have had some genre Kung Fu cinema flicks, Spaghetti Westerns and at least one vixenesque Russ Meyer flick among his employee favorite’s section, it certainly feels that way in this film’s aesthetics which are entertainingly exaggerated. Tarantino uses the alarmingly distinct, so 70’s film sound effects, a RZA laced soundtrack and cinematographer Robert Richardson who brings back the visual aesthetic of extremely bad Hong Kong films. Effortlessly separated into chapters (6-10) and an obligatory playing with the timeline, Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume 2 is a film lover’s delight, littered with delicious film moments, the kind of scenes that you’ll end up memorizing from abusive watching of the dvd. Thurman continues a tradition of likeable Tarantino-film bad guys we like, while at the same time the director adds layers upon layers of dialogue and twisted sense of humor- such as the scene where Bill goes into depth with an anecdotal story about the alter-ego of a Superhero. Particularly strong is the film’s choice of locals, Tarantino’s globe trots a little everywhere and plays around with the various film stocks and use of color to achieve desired setting affects.

Naysayers turned off by the glamorized violence and the kind of divertissement that a film like Kill Bill: Volume 2 provides obviously have difficulty with Tarantino’s distinct style or form but might also have a lump of coal stuck up their arse. The pop-culture junkie crowds will thoroughly enjoy the flick and so should art-house film enthusiasts for Tarantino will continue to reign as the king of cool and avid movie fans will soon have one more very watchable film (or two) to add to their collections for the ultimate home theatre experience.

Rating 4 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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