Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kill Bill 2

Tarantino, 2004, 2 hours

The second part lives up to the promise of the first, even outdoing it in terms of it's magnetic hold. It doesn't take off exactly where the first one left, but fashions new fragments so that the two fit together into a coherent whole. It deserves to be called a sequel rather than merely part two, since it followed a year later and Tarantino must have had time to let his creative energy ferment and to take inspiration from the huge success of part 1.

We are taken through a series of absurd situations, and served with a dish which melds humor with melancholy violence in unflagging innovation. The dialog lines are delivered in a mock-serious literary monotone which makes clear that something or somebody is being imitated--it could be the queen herself, so naturally do the lines and situations flow. We are in fact driving through a universe of stereotypes, more enjoyable since we know that a mirror of parody and ridicule is being held forth. The Bride undergoes hilarious training in kung-fu under a Chinese guru; a poisonous snake is hidden in a suitcase containing a pay-off of a million dollars in return for a sword crafted by a legendary craftsman now turned restaurateur; Thurman is buried alive; the only eye of a one-eyed woman warrior is clawed out and trampled underfoot;  truth-serum is injected by means of a pistol fired dart, and arch enemies turn into drooling parents. The ground  rule is: anything can happen anytime. Even murder is delivered with a smile and full force of logic.

A dish of lavish entertainment, delivered effortlessly without the trace of a smile. Uma Thurman lives up to the goddess status conferred on her by Tarantino.

NY Times review


Ronak M Soni said...

I loved the movie too (I watched it in a four-hour stint and I still can't get myself to feel that they are two separate movies), though I didn't find it as funny as you did.
I was intensely moved by the whole thing, though I understand its parodic overtones, because it shines as a tribute to Leone and Kurosawa (thanks to the music).

This might interest you too:

S. M. Rana said...


I read parts of the article you linked.

Kill Bill is a very violent movie and as such cannot have much in common with Buddhism which advocates non violence absolutely. The essence of religion is not so complicated and I think the author of the article has tied himself into unnecessary knots.

I of course enjoyed the movie immensely in spite of and not because of it's mixture of parody and glorification of violence. I think this is because Tarantino has succeeded in aestheticizing violence (Coppola was another guy who did that). Movies are made for audiences and audiences--you, me--get their kicks from violence and sex.

Tarantino is a monumental talent but hardly a philosopher or spiritually inclined.

I personally like to take movies as a whole and do not see much point in endless dissection and analysis.

One either likes a movie/book or one doesn't. If one does appreciating it is an enjoyable exercise in writing; if not one can forget about it or get it over in a sentence or two.

In either case shredding it for hidden abstruse meanings is not my usual cup of tea.

Surely a flower gains little by taking it apart petal by petal and observing at it through a microscope.

Anonymous said...

When I revisited Part 1 and Part 2 before watching "Inglourious Basterds" in last year, I realized what I did not get from "Death Proof". "Death Proof" was a competent movie, but it lacks the exuberant energy generated from broad but impressive characterization and wonderful dialogues in "Kill Bill". I was glad to find that "Inglourious Basterds" had that kind of energy.

Part 1 is the style, and Part 2 is the substance. While still entertaining, Part 2 gets more serious and it achieves a restrained but resonant finale accompanied with an amusingly insightful "lecture" on the nature of superhero characters. Lesser directors would probably gone with big explosions, but Tarantino goes deeper and delivers the satisfying finale.

S. M. Rana said...

It was indeed a coup de grace to conclude not with another shower of grime, but on a triumphant note with "order established in the jungle and the lioness rejoined to her cub".

Anonymous said...

Once again, I must mirror kaist455's views. That is exactly how I would classify the two films: "Part 1 is the style, and Part 2 is the substance."

In addition, I love that Superman speech from Part Two.

S. M. Rana said...


Yes, that was a finely drawn distinction between Superman and Batman--the born and the made.