Time: 136 Minutes
Uma Thurman as The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo (Black Mamba)
David Carradine as Bill (Snake Charmer)
Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth)
Vivica A. Fox as Vernita Green (Copperhead)
Michael Madsen as Budd (Sidewinder)
Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver
Julie Dreyfus as Sofie Fatale
Sonny Chiba as Hattori Hanzo
Gordon Liu as Pai Mei
Director: Quentin Tarantino
The Bride (Uma Thurman) picks up where she left off in volume one with her quest to finish the hit list she has composed of all of the people who have wronged her, including ex-boyfriend Bill (David Carradine), who tried to have her killed four years ago during her wedding to another man. Leaving several dead in her wake, she eventually tracks down Bill in Mexico. Using skills she has learned during her assassin career, she attempts to finish what she set out to do in the first place.
Directly after watching Kill Bill Volume 1, I decided to watch the second half of the story that same day. I always remembered it being a solid enough but underwhelming follow up to Volume 1, and it seemed to be a reaction that I’ve seen from multiple people. I definitely think it is a better movie when I saw it again not too long ago. This movie swapped out the over the top action flick with a western-esque revenge, and that’ll either make you like it more than the first movie, or like it less. Personally I now consider it to be the better of the two movies.
Kill Bill Volume 2 is a very different movie compared to the first one. It is much slower paced movie, there isn’t nearly the same amount of the blood and gore and it’s more longer and drawn out at 2 hours and 20 minutes instead of an hour and 50 minutes. It is a lot more dialogue focussed, and given that this is Tarantino’s strongest suit, he excels at it. While it is jarring seeing the difference between the two movies (especially after watching one after the other), there’s a lot more going on with the story. Volume 2 leans in heavier with the Western genre conventions. This movie works a lot better with me on a rewatch than the first time I saw it. I won’t deny that the first volume is way more entertaining, it’s one of the most stylish and iconic movies ever made. However, writing wise I’d say that the second movie is better. With that said, I still don’t think that the writing is anything compared to most of his other movies. While it has some great moments of dialogue, some of the dialogue scenes feel drawn out and unnecessary. The biggest example is a scene between The Bride and a character played by Michael Parks, the scene could’ve just been a couple minutes long but Parks has this long monologue and it really felt self indulgent (really a lot of the movies do). I know a lot of people want a Kill Bill 3 but honestly I thought they ended the story perfectly here.
Uma Thurman is once again excellent as The Bride, this is her career defining role. With this movie being more low-key, story-focussed and less action orientated, she gets a lot more to do here acting-wise. Other supporting players teased in the previous movie also get to do a lot more here. We finally get to actually see David Carradine as Bill and he definitely lived up to all the build up, he was perfect for what the movie needed and he particularly shines in the third act. Not to mention the actual much anticipated confrontation between him and The Bride doesn’t go the way that you’d initially expect it to. The other remaining people that The Bride is after played by Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah also play their roles very well.
Quentin Tarantino’s direction was once again great and like the story, it was a much more lowkey, less over the top action and not nearly as stylish as the previous movie. There aren’t as many insane and over the top moments. However, it is very well directed, the western influences are definitely a lot more present here. If you felt that Tarantino was way too indulgent with the way he directed Volume 1, Volume 2 is probably going to be more up your alley. The action itself is good, even if there weren’t many of them. The highlight was a fight between Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah, which is the most flashy of all the fight scenes, very over the top and entertaining.
Kill Bill Vol 2 worked way better than I initially gave it credit. It fills in much of the story depth that was missing from the first half, the writing and direction was great as to be expected, the cast was great (with Uma Thurman once again leading excellently) and I’d consider it to be better than the first volume. People are generally split on which of the movies is better. I’ll say that if you really liked Volume 1, you’re going to want to watch Volume 2 for the story at the very least. Maybe you might like it even more than the first movie.