TOKYO CIGAR THOUGHTS: KILL BILL vol 1 & 2
KILL BILL VOL.1 & 2
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Remember the first time you really bumped your head hard on something? A cupboard, the floor, somebody else’s head, whatever. Remember the slight feeling of being dazed that hit you as your brain tried to soak in all that just happened. That is what the end of this movie left me like.
Quentin Tarantino solidified his spot in cinematic history way before he made this. But yo, this to me was his Livin Proof/Only built 4 Cuban Linx. This was literally ALL the shit a lot of people grew up on compressed into one movie. ( it starts with a Klingon proverb for Pete’s sake ) Simple in plot ( and brilliantly so in dialogue as well ); incredible in execution. I once saw a flick where I literally did not give a shit about the main character or anyone in the movie. That was never the case with this movie. From “The bride” ( as Uma Thurman’s character is referred to since here name is bleeped out anytime anyone mentions it ) to Nikki Bell ( Vivica Fox’s character Vernita Green’s daughter ) the movie is packed with people that stay with you even if they only appear on screen for a short time. Hell, people still speculate that Nikki will grow up and hunt down the Bride for killing her mother in a Kill Bill sequel.
The movie ( for the five people who didn’t see it ) is about Uma playing an assassin who wants to leave the life behind when she get’s pregnant. She gets betrayed by her former crew and wakes up after a bullet induced coma to seek revenge. Like I said, simple in plot. The execution is where it gets crazy. I think the references are where it really shines. Everything from the fact we never see “Bill” ( R.I.P. to the homie David Carradine who played the part remarkably ) to the fact “the bride” has many unknown things about her even though she is the protagonist gives the movie a very 70’s action drama feel. Everything from zooming into the eyes when she’s about to fight, to the deadly viper name flashes on screen give it enough humor to offset how dark the movie actually is. Parents are murdered in front of their children, people get shot up in Church and the INFAMOUS tea house scene let you know this is some seriously ill blood and guts shit going on.
While the story and Dialogue are purposefully simple in homage to the olden days action/Martial arts features that inform a lot of this movie. The acting, pacing and references is where the true power comes through. Uma really makes you feel for her. When she kills Vernita you may not fully realize her quest yet but by the time she kills Buck ( yeah you know Buck ) you already start rooting for her. The randomness of certain things like the Yakuza argument where dude flips out then start’s fanning himself keeps you laughing and the black and white parts, the animated origin of Oren Ishi and such spark memories of that classic movie/anime you know you saw a while back but cant recall in detail.
Another demographic this film will appeal to is the beat making crowd. Brilliantly scored by The Rza ( if you don’t know who that is KILL YOUR DAMN SELF ) the movie is jam packed with ill music that had producers running from the theater to MPC to flip something. From Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang, bang”, to the raw theme song used for the Crazy 88’s entrance to the tea house, to the Zamfir song that had all Killarmy fan’s yelling “Yooooooo that’s the joint 4th disciple flipped”. The music was such a classic element to the movie that the songs still turn up today in commercials.
Intense, funny, graphic, this movie is what good cinema is about to me. I saw it in the movies 4 times and I still watch it on DVD. Totally engrossing. This ain’t the sort of flick you have on in the back ground. Like the aforementioned Group Home and Raekwon albums, you have to fully pay attention to what is going on to realize that this is one of the dopest pieces of art ever. Some may not be able to stomach the gore but if they close their eyes for those parts and watch the rest, I think even they could not deny that Tarrintino knocked another one out the park with this movie.
I’ll get to that moment when I get to it. Like I said in my last review, Quentin Tarantino skillfully crafted an intricate simple movie. Linked by strands of old cinema and guerilla style edge, he touched upon a million classic Kung fu references mixed with anime styled excess. In this part of the movie the eastern influences play a more background role to the western themed final showdown between the Bride and Bill. The Bride still has her Hanzo sword but rather than get the feeling you got when you KNEW Bruce Lee was about to give 20 dudes a beat down, it feels more like Eastwood about to face an enemy at high noon.
The switch in themes is not the only opposite to the first film at play here. The simplistic dialog that gave the first one it’s playful charm is replaced with dialogue that proves why Tarantino is as respected as he is. Pulp Fiction’s “Royale with cheese” exchanged is topped by Bill’s fantastic deconstruction of the classic Superman character’s egotistical view of humanity. ( I swear I never looked at Superman the same way again, What an asshole ) The only place for the type of old school Kung Fu flick talk prevalent in the first part is during The Bride’s training with Pai Mei ( that’s my dude right there. Son don’t play ) and that is mainly done in Chinese with subtitles. This is a movie where insight into the characters is really shown by what they say. Often funny but very deep in certain parts. Seriously there are so many quotable in this movie it’s not even funny.
The tradition of compelling characters is still intact in this movie. From Bill’s surrogate father Esteban, Bill’s brother Budd and Elle ( who to me was the ultimate villain in the movie ) to the random characters that pop in and out. ( Budd’s strip club boss that said he was as useless as an asshole on the elbow was funny as hell ) Out of all of them though, the ultimate addition to the cast is Bill. ( RIP David Carradine ) You know those bad guys that are so cool you actually don’t want to see them die. That’s Bill. Dude is just so damn down to earth it doesn’t make sense. The fact that the daughter he raised requested her bedtime movie be “Shogun Assassin” ( trust me Wu tang fans were foaming at the mouth when the “Liquid Swords” intro started playing ) is a testament to his quirky but seasoned and wise killer vibe. After you saw what he did to the Bride you still expect him to get what’s coming to him but a part of you is like “damn. I wish they could work it out somehow” cause dude brings such a fly element to the movie. Rather than see him as just a cold blooded killer ( Like Elle ) you see him as a father and a man that was hurt by a woman he loved. But don’t get it twisted, he still always let’s you know what he’s capable of.
Now. On to the whole immaculate beauty thing. I gotta keep it real with y’all. I saw this movie on bootleg for the first time. My man hit me off with the DVD and I rocked it out for like 2 weeks straight. Seriously I would literally play this movie everyday. When it ended I would start over. For 2 weeks straight. The reason I bring this up is because there was one scene I kept on rewinding like a dope Big pun verse. It was the part where the Bride was walking through the desert on her way to kill Bud. As the song “sunny road to Selina” ( Check my remix of “My 1st song” on my Jay-Z remix album to see how much I love this song ) played in the background the image mixed with the music just hypnotized me unlike any other movie ever did. Seriously, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I rewound that part a million times just staring at the screen and listening to the music. It’s not a major part in the plot at all but IT JUST WORKS. Any other song in that place would not have had the same effect. The music was as important to the scene as the image was and they combined to make immaculate beauty. This movie is full of things like that. Moments that hit you in the heart more than the funny bone. You saw the Bride cut through the Crazy 88’s in the first one. Here you see her train to get that good. Pai Mei is no picnic so when you see her earn his respect you feel for her even more. Even though this movie is the end piece to the saga in many ways it’s a prequel as you get to really see the inner workings of the characters you caught glimpses of in the first one and fully realize the dynamics of the Brides world.
That’s why “Kill Bill” as a whole is my favorite movie of all time. All the references come together flawlessly and the execution is blessed with that special coat of divinity that mark’s all true artistic genius. Hate it or love it, I don’t really care. To me “Kill Bill” is a masterpiece on all levels and solidified more than ever Tarantino’s place in cinematic history.