- Rated R
- Buy the Blu-ray
All photos © Walt Disney
Reviewed by David Medsker
e saved the best for last. With "Kill Bill: Vol. Two," Quentin Tarantino has made a movie that goes toe to toe with the ubiquitous specter of "Pulp Fiction" and brings it to its knees. This is not to say that "Kill Bill" is better than "Pulp Fiction," per se, but as breakthrough movies go, "Pulp Fiction" was a celluloid striptease, where the audience found themselves titillated in ways they never knew existed, and instantly wanted more. Tarantino, however, knew better than to put out right away. In fact, he made the audience wait 10 years for the payoff. "Kill Bill: Vol. Two " is where the audience finally gets into bed.
When we last saw our blushing Bride (Uma Thurman, and if you haven’t seen "Vol. One," read no further), she had just dispatched O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) and sent word to Bill through recent amputee Sofie (Julie Dreyfus) that the Death was a comin’. Bill (a superb David Carradine) wastes no time warning the surviving members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Budd (Michael Madsen) and Elle (Daryl Hannah), of what awaits them. To say anything more would spoil the fun.
Where "Vol. One " was a straight-up revenge fantasy blood bath, "Vol. Two " is a character study. We get to know Budd and Elle, which is more than can be said for Vivica A. Fox’s Vernita Green in "Vol. One." We also learn why Bill and the Bride made the decisions they made that set the story in motion, and there is nary a loose end in sight. How refreshing, a script with intelligence and respect for its audience, and a surprisingly soft touch as well.
Speaking of the script, Tarantino’s dialogue has been flashier but never better, sporting the same rhythm that made his first two films so fresh but thankfully short on the pop culture in-jokes he’s so fond of (they’re still here, just more subtle). The overall flow of the movie is a nice balance of his filmography up to this point, with some scenes creating the adrenaline rush of seeing the kid accidentally getting his head blown off in "Pulp Fiction," while others emulate the deliberate manner in which Samuel L. Jackson thought out who had done him wrong in "Jackie Brown." The body count may be a hundredth the number of "Vol. One," but the main fight scene here is the best one yet, with a conclusion that ups the ante on violence in cinema tenfold (Martin Scorsese must be wicked jealous), and may have you wishing that the memory-erasing doctors in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" actually existed.
"Kill Bill: Vol. Two " is so good, so spot on, that it’s tempting to resent Tarantino for taking this long to finally deliver on the promise he showed a decade ago. But resist the urge. Movies this good don’t come down the pike very often anymore.
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
A carbon copy of the original DVD, the “Kill Bill: Volume Two” Blu-ray isn’t exactly jam-packed with extras, but at least fans can finally see the film in HD. After all, who knows when the “The Whole Bloody Affair” will actually be released? Many still don’t even own the movies simply because they’ve been waiting for the special edition that Tarantino has been promising for years. If you can’t wait any longer, however, you’ll find a few goodies on this single-disc effort, including a solid making-of featurette, a short clip of David Carradine fighting Michael Jai White in a deleted flashback sequence, and a live performance by Robert Rodriguez’s band, Chingon.