Kill Bill vol. 2

PLOT:

Volume 2 opens with “The Massacre at Two Pines”, taking place a few minutes before the events that open the first volume. Bill tracks down The Bride and her friends as they are gathered for her wedding rehearsal. He is polite and mild-mannered, and even consents to The Bride introducing him as her father to the groom. The Bride begs Bill in private to be able to move on past her assassin life, and again Bill seemingly consents. She takes her place at the altar as the other four Deadly Vipers arrive at the chapel, weapons in tow, and kill everyone at the rehearsal.

In the present, Bill ventures to the California desert to talk to his brother Budd, code-named “Sidewinder” (Michael Madsen), another former Deadly Viper. Bill warns him that The Bride will come for him next. Budd, now an overweight alcoholic, has put his assassin days behind him; he lives in a trailer and works as a bouncer at a local strip club, abused by the management.

The Bride arrives at Budd’s trailer that night seeking revenge. Anticipating her entry, Budd shoots her in the chest with rock salt the moment she opens his door, then injects her with a sedative. Budd calls Elle Driver and offers to sell her The Bride’s Hanzō sword for $1,000,000. Budd then gives The Bride a “Texas funeral”, burying her alive with a flashlight in someone else’s grave.

As she lies in her grave, The Bride remembers her early training in China, when Bill took her to the temple of legendary martial arts master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), an example of the elderly martial arts master stock character, who used cruelty as a tool for discipline and obedience. Pai Mei could perform a fatal attack called the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which is so secret that he has not even taught it to Bill. Although, according to Bill, he “hates Caucasians, despises Americans, and has nothing but contempt for women”, he takes The Bride in, and molds her into a formidable fighter. He brutally trains her and she eventually gains his silent respect. In the present, The Bride calls on Pai Mei’s training to break out of the coffin and claw her way up to freedom.

The Bride arrives back at Budd’s trailer to see Elle Driver arriving. Elle hands Budd a suitcase containing his money for the sword; the suitcase also contains a hidden black mamba, the deadly snake that shares The Bride’s code name. The snake bites Budd in the face, and while he lies paralyzed and dying, Elle explains she regretted The Bride’s demise at Budd’s hands, and that The Bride deserved a better end. After Budd succumbs to the venom, Elle calls Bill and tells him that The Bride killed Budd, that she then killed The Bride and the location of the final resting place of Beatrix Kiddo — revealing The Bride’s real name for the first time (several characters previously called her “Kiddo”, a common pet name in America; previous utterances of her first name, Beatrix, by Bill, Vernita, and O-Ren were bleeped out). As Elle leaves Budd’s trailer, Beatrix, who was watching them from a nearby ridge, attacks her with a flying kick. Elle uses Beatrix’s own sword against her, but Beatrix finds Budd’s Hattori Hanzō sword in his golf bag, which Budd had told Bill he had pawned. As they stand off against each for their final combat, Beatrix asks Elle why Pai Mei (who also taught Elle) snatched out her eye. Elle tells her that she called Pai Mei a “miserable old fool” and he plucked out her eye. In revenge, she poisoned and killed the elderly master. The two charge each other, clash, and Beatrix plucks out Elle’s remaining eye, crushes it underfoot and departs, leaving the blinded Elle to writhe in the trailer with the same black mamba that killed Budd. Elle’s fate is left unknown; in the credits, while all the other members of The Bride’s “Death List Five” are listed as dead, her status is marked merely as “?”.

Beatrix travels to Mexico and visits Esteban Vihaio (Michael Parks), an old pimp who raised Bill from childhood. He forthrightly tells her Bill’s whereabouts, explaining to a puzzled Beatrix that Bill would have wanted him to. When she finally finds Bill, she is shocked to find that B.B., her four-year-old daughter, is alive and apparently expecting her mother’s return. The family spends the evening together peacefully, and B.B. falls asleep watching the chambara film Shogun Assassin in her mother’s arms.

With B.B. safely in bed, Beatrix confronts Bill. Bill shoots her with a dart filled with truth serum; Beatrix is forced to reveal that, when she discovered her pregnancy and decided not to abort, she thereafter had to put her unborn daughter’s future above Bill.

The estranged couple sit down at a table outside, and when Beatrix insists that she complete her unfinished business, Bill draws his sword to attack her. Beatrix dodges his attack and draws her own sword, but Bill succeeds in disarming her. He thrusts to stab her with his sword, but she catches it in her Hanzo sheath and disables Bill with the “Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique”, taught to her without Bill’s or the audience’s knowledge. Bill, defeated, says a tender goodbye and takes five silent steps to his death. Beatrix sheds a few tears at the death of her former lover, and returns to the house to collect her daughter.

Later, B.B. is watching cartoons in a motel while Beatrix sobs on the bathroom floor. As she collects herself and returns to watch cartoons with B.B., both of them smile as the film ends. The exit quote on the screen is: “The lioness has rejoined her cub. All is right in the jungle”.

REVIEW:

Sequels tend to be a 50/50 shot. Some tend to be inferior to their predecessor, and others will surpass them. Similar to the second and third films in The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises both Kill Bill films were shot at the same time. From what I’ve observed when this practice is done, the films tend to be of better quality, although, this isn’t as exciting as vol 1, but that has to do with the story being a bit more talk centered and no so much about assassinations.

In this film we learn that the Bride’s name is Beatrix. The first time I saw this, I went back to the DVD of the first film and notices that the while her name is bleeped out, you can read that they are saying Beatrix. Something I never noticed.

David Carradine was apparently a fairly prominent martial arts actor during the 70s. This role seems like it was written with him in mind, which it probably was.

Pai Mei was a nice addition to the story. Not only did he tie up some loose ends in terms of Beatrix’s training, but provided some comic relief as well, especially with the beard.

We finally get a fight between Uma Thurman and Daryll Hannah in this one and boy is it worth the wait!

The ending scene with Bill and Beatrix drags on a bit for my taste. They could have cut out a lot of the talking. It just got a bit monotonous. I’m not saying it doesn’t add anything to the story, but I just feel that they could have done it in another way than to have them sitting down talking things out with a couple of gunshots fired and then the final sword fight and resulting Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. It makes you wonder why she just didn’t do that as soon as B.B. went to bed?

If you have the choice of vol 1 or 2, I say go with 1. There is more action and it is more enjoyable. That is not to say that vol 2 isn’t a good film, its just more dramatic in parts, not to mention if you don’t see the first film, you may be lost in this one. Having said all that, I do like this film a lot, but it is a step down from its predecessor. In other words it suffers from the sequel disease, but not a major case. Go ahead and watch both films, you’ll enjoy yourself .

4 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: