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2004 Mini Reviews

Review: Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen
Running Time: 150 minutes

"That woman deserves her revenge, and we deserve to die."

The Bride's rampage continues .. or does it? Well, it kinda does and doesn't. In Volume 2 we get to explore the Bride's character, witness the tragic event that set everything in motion, watch her hone her skills, and we even learn her name. We see homage after homage, tribute after tribute, a steady dose of over enunciated acting, and an abundance of great visual styling.

There are many terrific sequences, such as "The Tutelage of Pai Mei", where the Bride undergoes a brutal and laborious apprenticeship with a top Kung Fu Master voiced by Quentin Tarantino himself. While much shorter on action than many other scenes, especially from Volume 1, it has much better choreography, and is much more, well, fun. As Pai Mei brushes his white beard aside, you just can't help but crack a smile. It is also the best of the Tarantino homages in the entire film. He captures the Kung Fu brand of emotionally intense camerawork, as the camera darts to and fro, triggered by the quick action and short dialog.

As great and exhilarating as most of the film was, it wasn't without flaw.

I understand Quentin didn't want anyone to edit his film down, but some of the scenes really did not belong. There is one lengthy scene with Bud (Michael Madsen) and his boss arguing about being 20 minutes late that, while an interesting scene, has no bearing on anything that happens in the film. There is another scene, near the end, The Bride has a long conversation with someone just so he can tell her where Bill is. We could have just skipped that entirely. It almost seems silly that after watching her annihilate all her enemies, we have to watch her ask for directions? He might as well have included the scene where she was brushing her teeth, because that belonged just as much.

I hate to "Monday morning quarterback" such an established and respected director, but I think his ego got in the way here. A single cut, where he could have mixed up the action and intensity of Volume 1, with the character exploration of Volume 2, and left all the excess on the cutting room floor, could have become his finest film. Instead we are left with two different colored puzzle pieces that fit just fine, but just don't look right from any angle.

Score: 7/10