Kill Bill vol. 1

PLOT:

The Bride (Thurman) is introduced to the audience in a blood-spattered wedding gown immediately after a violent massacre at an El Paso wedding chapel. She attempts to tell her would-be killer, Bill (Carradine), that she is pregnant with his baby, but he shoots her in the side of her head. The Bride is left for dead.

Four years and six months later, The Bride arrives at the house of Jeannie Bell, aka Vernita Green (Fox), code-namedCopperhead” of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Green opens the door with a smile, only to have The Bride engage her in a vicious fight, destroying her living room. Vernita’s four-year-old daughter, Nikki, arrives home from school, abruptly pausing the fight until she is sent to her room. In the kitchen over coffee, Vernita appeals to The Bride, apologizing for betraying her and asking for mercy on behalf of her family. The Bride coldly refuses, and the two agree to a knife fight later that evening. Green suddenly attempts to shoot The Bride with a gun concealed in a box of Kaboom cereal; she misses, and The Bride kills her by throwing a knife into her chest. Nikki witnesses the fight, and The Bride tells her that she is sorry for killing her mother in front of her, that her mother “had it coming” and that if the young girl wishes to avenge her death when she grows up, The Bride will be waiting. The Bride then leaves in a customized yellow pick-up truck, emblazoned with the words “Pussy Wagon”.

A flashback to the events after the wedding reveals that the comatose Bride is the only survivor of the wedding chapel massacre. Deadly Viper Elle Driver (Hannah), code-named “California Mountain Snake”, the one-eyed assassin who has replaced The Bride as Bill’s lover, slips into the hospital ward intending to inject poison into The Bride’s intravenous line. She is stopped at the last second by a phone call from Bill, who believes The Bride deserves a more honorable death.

The Bride wakes up from her coma four years later and is horrified to discover she is no longer pregnant. She escapes from the hospital after killing a sleazy orderly named Buck who has been selling sexual access to her body as she lay comatose, and one of Buck’s customers. She steals Buck’s customized truck, (the aforementioned “Pussy Wagon”), and hides in the back seat as she slowly works her legs out of atrophy.

The Bride narrates an anime short depicting the back story to another Deadly Viper, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), code-named Cottonmouth. After witnessing her parents’ sadistic murder at the hands of a paedophiliac Japanese crime lord, O-Ren earns her revenge, becomes an assassin and eventually rises to the top of the Yakuza. The segment introduces her personal bodyguard Gogo Yubari (Kuriyama), her friend and lawyer Sofie Fatale (another protege of Bill, played by Julie Dreyfus), and Johnny Mo (Gordon Liu), leader of O-Ren’s personal army, the Crazy 88.

The Bride travels to Okinawa to obtain a katana from Hattori Hanzō (Sonny Chiba), a renowned swordsmith, who has retired to the life of a sushi chef. Though Hanzō has taken a blood oath to never make another sword, The Bride is able to convince him of the merit of her mission after she alludes to Bill, and he forges for her the best sword he has ever created.

The Bride tracks O-Ren to a hangout called the “House of Blue Leaves”, where a band (The 5,6,7,8’s) is performing. The Bride arrives wearing a yellow motorcycle jump suit (a homage to Bruce Lee movies), taking Fatale hostage and cutting off Fatale’s arm in public to lure O-Ren from her dinner. O-Ren sends Yubari, Mo, and dozens of the Crazy 88 to deal with The Bride. She dispatches them all in a bloody sword fight, then turns her attention to O-Ren, climaxing in a dramatic duel in a snowy garden (which borrows from the Japanese sexploitation film Sex & Fury). After crossing swords several times, O-Ren is scalped by The Bride with her Hanzō sword, a wound that kills her.

The Bride then tortures Fatale, via dismemberment, for the locations of the remaining Deadly Vipers. She then tells Fatale to tell Bill that she is looking for him before dumping her at a hospital. The film ends with Bill talking with Fatale at the hospital, revealing that The Bride’s daughter is, unbeknownst to her, still alive.

REVIEW:

I’ve long been a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work, so as you can guess, I was not disappointed with this entry into his repertoire.

The story is simple, yet complex. Bride gets shot, goes into a come for 4 yrs, wakes up and wants revenge. Yet, I’ve read quite a few reviews saying that if she was in a come for 4 yrs, she wouldn’t be able to get up and start kicking ass. Good grief, some people need to remember that this is just a movie, not real life.

Uma Thurman proves she can handle a leading role with her portrayal of the Bride. That was inspired casting.

Daryll Hannah appears here in  the same way John Travolta did in Pulp Fiction.Tarantino seems to like finding forgotten stars and giving them another shot at stardom. Hannah can hold her own as the Bride’s arch- nemesis.

The always gorgeous Lucy Liu returns to her evil Ally McBealways in her role as O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth). The climactic fight scene she has with Uma is poetry in motion.

Speaking of fight scenes, the big one with the Crazy 88s is reminiscent of a final stage in a video game where enemies come at you almost non-stop until you finally reach the final boss. I loved it!

I have to say that the anime sequences were a stroke of genius and a change of pace. Not to mention they were enjoyable to watch.

All the issues I had wth this film were minor and resolved in vol 2, so let me just say that this is an enjoyable, over the top, film that never takes itself too seriously (even if some people that watched it have). I highly recommend it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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2 Responses to “Kill Bill vol. 1”

  1. […] they’d have found some way to incorporate that into this somewhere. Heck, the thins is in Kill Bill vol. 1, and they did try to get the original Hornet to appear, but scheduling conflicts kept him out. If […]

  2. […] There is a look and feel to this film that may seem very familiar to those that have seen Kill Bill, vol. I. That is, aside from both starring Lucy Liu, this film had Quentin Tarantino’s touch on it. […]

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