Tag Archives: Michael Parks

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) Review

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Uma Thurman as the Bride
Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii
David Carradine as Bill
Vivica A. Fox as Vernita Green
Michael Madsen as Budd
Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver
Julie Dreyfus as Sofie Fatale
Sonny Chiba as Hattori Hanzo
Chiaki Kuriyama as Gogo Yubari
Gordon Liu as Johnny Mo
Michael Parks as Earl McGraw
Director: Quentin Tarantino

A former assassin, known simply as The Bride (Uma Thurman), wakes from a coma four years after her jealous ex-lover Bill (David Carradine) attempts to murder her on her wedding day. Fueled by an insatiable desire for revenge, she vows to get even with every person who contributed to the loss of her unborn child, her entire wedding party, and four years of her life. After devising a hit list, The Bride sets off on her quest, enduring unspeakable injury and unscrupulous enemies.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I’ve been meaning to rewatch the Quentin Tarantino movies I haven’t seen more than once, and I started that with Kill Bill. I remember liking Kill Bill when I first saw it, although I liked the first part a lot more than the second. I don’t remember it being among my favourites of Tarantino’s movies, it was entertaining but that’s all it was for me. I’ve watched it again, and while I still don’t consider it among his best work, I do appreciate it much more now.

Kill Bill is split into two parts and you can feel that for sure, however Volume 1 still works as its own movie. This is a very different film from Tarantino, while the plot of Kill Bill involves revenge (which seems to be in line with some of his other movies), many of the things that happen here is nothing like he’s done before. Volume 1 seemed to be a mashup of anime, martial arts movies and western genres, and the combinations work really well. It’s split up into chapters and not necessarily told in chronological order, yet somehow it works. The pacing is pretty good and fast paced, keeping you engaged throughout the entire hour and 50 minutes runtime. He uses a lot of visual storytelling, and saved much of the big heavy exposition scenes for Volume 2. Now with that being said, with the lack of a lot of dialogue comes with some of the issues of parts of the story being empty, which is something that Volume 2 makes up for thankfully. Some of the chapters also are better than others, the one where The Bride is getting a sword wasn’t as engaging as the other sections of the movie, even though it was necessary for the plot. On the whole it’s really entertaining.

The cast do well in their roles and Tarantino wrote them as being very memorable and fleshing a lot of them out, even with only brief moments for characterisation. It’s really Uma Thurman who’s the standout of the entire movie, she was great as the lead character of The Bride, giving the best performance of her career. She was very convincing as her character, as well as the action. As great as this movie was, it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective without Thurman. Lucy Liu also works really well as one of the people that The Bride is after, who plays a large part in the second half of the movie. Vivica A. Fox also does well in the one chapter that she appears in. There are also some brief appearances by David Carradine, Daryl Hannah and Michael Madsen as characters who would play a much larger part in Volume 2 and they are also good in their screentime here.

As to be expected, Quentin Tarantino’s direction is great. As I said earlier, this is a very different film from him, and that’s especially the case with his directing style. Kill Bill Volume 1 is probably his most stylish film, and considering the films that he’s made with the likes of Pulp Fiction and such, that really is saying a lot. It attempts many different styles, there’s even a bit where one of the chapter was a straight up anime and it somehow worked with the whole film. People don’t really think of Tarantino as the action movie kind of director (aside from this movie, the closest thing to an action movie he’s made was Django Unchained almost a decade later) but he handled the action scenes really well. The most standout of the fight sequences was with The Bride against multiple enemies at once, it’s truly something to watch. As it’s a Tarantino movie, you can expect it to get really bloody, and Kill Bill Volume 1 is definitely among his most violent movies. I’m talking about decapitations, limbs being severed and geysers of blood. The aforementioned Crazy 88 fight was so bloody and gory that a black and white filter was put on and I’m pretty sure that it was so that the movie could get a rating less than a NC-17 (yet the black and white stylistically worked incredibly well). So if you have a pretty weak stomach, the Kill Bill movies are definitely not for you. Tarantino is one of the strongest examples of directors who’s use of music is generally iconic and works perfectly, Kill Bill showcases that very well.

Kill Bill Volume 1 was better than I remembered. Quentin Tarantino blended the genres really well, the film was really entertaining overall, and the cast (especially Uma Thurman) were great. It’s still not as great to me as say Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction or Inglourious Basterds but it remains a standout of his movies.