Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 120 minutes
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“Kill Bill Vol. 1” is the fourth film from Quentin Tarantino. It’s no “Pulp Fiction.” It’s no “Reservoir Dogs.” And it’s sure not “Jackie Brown.” “Kill Bill Vol. # 1” is a hyper-violent, hyper-gory, kung-fu grindhouse flick. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
“Kill Bill” centers on an assassin named only as the Bride (Uma Thurman), who was shot in the head on her wedding day by the mysterious Bill. Four years later, the Bride wakes from a coma to find out she’s not only lost four years of her life, but also her child (she was pregnant at the time of the shooting). So she sets off in her quest for revenge, her quest to kill Bill. But before she can get to Bill, the Bride must first get through Bill’s Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (Lucy Lui, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah and Michael Madsen). Let the body count begin.
So as the Bride exacts her revenge on anyone that gets in her way, we quickly realize that “Kill Bill Vol. 1” is a movie made by Tarantino for Tarantino. You get the feeling that what he’s saying with this film is, “If you don’t like the uber-violence and mega-blood than fuck you, because I do.” Body parts fly across the screen with glee. Buckets of blood spurt out of body stumps. And heads roll (literally) all over the film.
Tarantino doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that “Kill Bill Vol. # 1” is his homage to grindhouse and kung-fu films of the ‘60s and ‘70s. No, he embraces it. “Game Of Death,” “Master Of The Flying Guillotine,” and the “Green Hornet” television show are just a few of the influences that are heavily displayed in the film. Tarantino throws at us everything that’s good about these bad films – from a cheesy introduction to fake looking model cities and planes. Everything bad is good in Quentin’s world.
At the end of “Vol. # 1,” we’re left with a great cliffhanger that makes you crave more. More blood, more action, come on let’s go, this isn’t finished yet. But the decision to make “Kill Bill” into two movies as opposed to one is by far the biggest problem with the film. In “Vol. # 1” there are several scenes that seem to drag on forever. Scenes that just scream out CUT, but they don’t. Lucy Lui’s character’s origin is a perfect example; it feels about five minutes too long. A streamlined non-stop two and a half hour version would have kicked-ass over two separate two-hour volumes.
But hey, it’s been a long time since we’ve witnessed Tarantino in action, so we can all cut the guy a break for his overindulgences. It won’t be long until we get to see “Kill Bill Vol. # 2” (where the film shifts gears into a blood and guts Spaghetti Western). So wash yourself off and get ready to do it all again in a few months, because I’m more than certain Bill won’t be the only one that gets killed in “Vol. 2.”
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Posted on October 1, 2003 in Reviews by Jim Agnew
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