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Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)

  Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Chia Hui Liu, Michael Madsen, Uma Thurman
Links: Kill Bill: Volume 2 on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 9.00 (2 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked equal 14th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) is also mentioned in em_fiction's review of Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), pearly's review of Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and timchuma's review of The Five Venoms (1978).

"In which we discover The Bride's real name" - a review by pearly

Somewhere towards the middle of Kill Bill: Volume 2, I got the sinking sensation that no matter how it ended, it would not be able to live up to the immenseness of the rest of the film, and indeed, the two films. This wasn't the first time I'd felt like this whilst watching a film, but it was one of the more pronounced.

Kill Bill: Volume 2 didn't end up as the disappointment that I thought it might, but the ending that we'd had to wait so many months for certainly wasn't blow-your-mind fantastic. To my mind, there wasn't anything in this second installment that could match the better sections of Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003). The Bride's (Uma Thurman) fight with Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) couldn't match the awesomeness of her fight with O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), and there was nothing like the anime section from the first.

Regardless of whether Quentin Tarantino had decided he wanted it split into two films, or whether he was coerced (I'm not getting into that argument), I am still sitting firmly in the "it woulda been better as one" camp. The introductory speech to camera by Thurman at the start of Volume 2 didn't grate on me as much as I know it did others, even though I'd re-watched Volume 1 earlier the same day so that I wouldn't need a re-cap. What bothered me more was that it felt a little more deflated than the first film, and it might have had enough oomph so as to be better as one cohesive unit.

It also felt a little as though Tarantino had more time with this second one, and that he'd done that thing that people sometimes do where he'd messed with it more than he should've, just cos he could, and not cos it made the resulting film better. Some of the sections were so over-the-top, and they were meant to be, but they'd tipped the scales slightly into being too overdone. The character of Pai Mei (Chia Hui Liu), whilst admittedly having a hilarious beard, seemed particularly cartoonish, especially when compared to the equivalent character of Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba) from Volume 1.

Look, Kill Bill: Volume 2 wasn't terrible. It was still more fun to watch than lots of the other crap out there, but it didn't quite live up to its predecessor. I can't recall as many of the "cool" Tarantinoesque bits that there were in the first (the row of sunglasses on the windscreen, the "Pussy Wagon", etc.), and the wow factor had somewhat worn off for me. What does this amount to? A respectable yet slightly lower rating than Volume 1 from me.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 31 May 2004

"Two down, two more and then finally: Bill" - a review by em_fiction

It's been a while since my first review of Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003). At last, we reach the conclusion of The Bride's quest for vengeance.

Chronologically, we left off from the last film at Vernita Green's house. Next on the list: Budd. Let's forget chronology though, Vol. 1 left us at Chapter 5: "Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves". O-Ren (Lucy Liu) and Vernita (Vivica A. Fox) are finished, now The Bride (Uma Thurman) is up to Budd (Michael Madsen), Elle (Daryl Hannah) and of course, Bill (David Carradine). The film starts with the black-and-white massacre at the El Paso wedding chapel; the event that triggered The Bride's rampage. We then continue The Bride's journey to Budd, Bill's brother, living in a trailer located in the middle of nowhere. This also leads her to Elle, and soon after that The Bride makes her way to her destination: Bill.

Again, Quentin Tarantino demonstrates his visual style and love of genre. There's a chapter in there called "The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei", which takes place out in the isolated regions of China, where Pai Mei (Chia Hui Liu), an unfriendly, stern kung-fu master who almost only exists in myths, reluctantly trains The Bride to become the deadly warrior she is. If I had to pick a favourite chapter, that'd be it, and I'm sure a lot of others would agree. The entire chapter is obviously homage to classic kung-fu films, perhaps even the whole martial arts genre itself, like in the original Kickboxer (1989), one of my favourite Jean-Claude Van Damme films, where the lead protagonist moves to Thailand to be trained by a harsh master and prepare for the ultimate kickboxing tournament.

There really isn't much else I can say about Vol. 2 except that it was an absolutely awesome experience. Vol. 1 had the Crazy 88 battle as the 'highlight' if you like, but in Vol. 2, the 'highlight' is pretty much evenly pervaded throughout the entire film. There was also plenty of suspense and excitement that kept me well on the edge of my seat. Tarantino throws in a hatful of homages here and there, including some very funky old-school credits, and they all blend and flux to create this fun-filled, exciting cinematic explosion of genre.

The main thing I liked more about this volume was the change to less action and more dialogue. Don't get me wrong, there's still a decent amount of cathartic violence to keep you satisfied (The chapter "Elle and I" has probably one of the coolest fights I've ever seen in any film), but we're also engaged in a lot of conversations. Tarantino, probably best known for his revolutionary dialogue in Pulp Fiction (1994), delivers more of his witty, entertaining dialogue, taking Vol. 2 that extra step it needed from Vol. 1.

The acting — perfect. Uma Thurman again, looking hotter than ever, continues The Bride's rampage, knocking everything out of her way to get to her final target. David Carradine delivers Bill's smart dialogue with a wise but brash tone (the Superman monologue was pure gold) as he settles the score with The Bride. Michael Madsen has more than a hint of Mr. Blonde in his enactment of Budd, and Daryl Hannah flawlessly makes Elle Driver the biggest bitch to ever walk the planet.

As much as I enjoyed Vol. 1, it was only Vol. 2 that left me with complete satisfication. I think I needed the closure of Vol. 2 to be able to give that extra point for the perfect score. In a nutshell: it was great. Once both volumes are released together in some sort of awesome mega super boxset, I'll be sure to have it resting on my bookshelf.

em_fiction gives this movie 10 out of 10.
Review created on Sun 25 Apr 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 9.00
Lowest rating: 8 (by pearly)
Highest rating: 10 (by em_fiction)
 
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