Kill Bill: Volume 2 Reviewby Karina Montgomery (karina AT cinerina DOT com)
May 18th, 2004
Kill Bill Vol. 2
I walked out of Volume 1 numb from the cartoonish ultraviolence and with many questions about why and why and more why (including, why did I come to see this?). I had hoped Volume 2 would answer those questions, and hopefully also not push any more boundaries of taste and mental stability. Volume 2, is, thankfully, a much more intimate and character-driven film. It is less cartoonish (except for the Kurtwood Smith-as-Federation-President Master) and far less violent. It is also much prettier than other Quentin Tarantino films, which gave it an overall softer edge. Where Volume 1 is a high-octane kung fu shockfest, this film is much more a contemplative cowboy film (with kung fu).
I guess technically it's the coolest homage to kung fu ever, but I still felt alienated by not understanding (and therefore, not caring) character motivations. Even after 244 total minutes, Tarantino failed to get me to care about one character. Tarantino's inability to resist non-sequiturs as badges of coolness for coolness' sake is one more thing that keeps me from being drawn into the films. He inserts crazy disco music into an otherwise effective scene, pushing me further out from any chance of caring just as I start to become engaged in the story. Even knowing that it's an homage, the moldy dialogue in the dramatic scenes is still as embarrassing as in the films it's honoring.
Even with all this lengthy and clearly lovingly designed mythology leading up to the legendary V.I.P.E.R. assassination squad and the events of these films, the Kill Bill films still leave me cold. For all their technical interest, the films still feel like an arrogant "aren't I clever and neato?" showboating move. A great dark scene in an early portion of Volume 2 has some spectacular sound design; even as I admire the technique I sigh, waiting for the next set piece to come along, because I still don't care.
For those who do enjoy Quentin's stamp (and power to you), I say this - he has really grown as a filmmaker since Reservoir Dogs and the shoddily lit Pulp Fiction. Any complaints I may have about scripting or stylistic flourishes do not apply to his more matured skill in setting a visual mood and placing his characters in great
His love for Uma Thurman oozes from the screen. My favorite scene was between Thurman and Daryl Hannah - two weird babes going crazy at each other. Maybe it was the absence of the "this might end up in rape" quality that his scenes with men in them have, maybe it was just that they looked like they were actually having fun. Even the things I felt didn't work in the rest of the film worked here. Maybe it's time for Quentin to direct an all-girl movie.
Much as been written about the reanimation of David Carradine as Bill. Not having been a long-time Carradine film enthusiast myself, I was able to discover him for the first time with this film, like Robert Forster in Jackie Brown. His gruff voice and campfire storytelling pace serves his character well in this hectic film, and he provides an anchor for what otherwise were the least effective parts of the film. The Kill Bills are like cilantro, you either like it or not, but you can't deny it has a unique flavor.
These reviews (c) 2004 Karina Montgomery. Please feel free to forward but credit the reviewer in the text. Thanks. You can check out previous reviews at:
http://www.cinerina.com and http://ofcs.rottentomatoes.com - the Online Film Critics Society http://www.hsbr.net/reviews/karina/listing.hsbr - Hollywood Stock Exchange Brokerage Resource
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