Kill Bill 1
Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a 2003 American martial arts film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Uma Thurman as the Bride, who swears revenge on a team of assassins (Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, and Vivica A. Fox) and their leader, Bill (David Carradine), after they try to kill her. Her journey takes her to Tokyo, where she battles the yakuza.
Kill Bill 1
Years later, the Bride, having survived the attack, goes to the home of Vernita Green, planning to kill her. Both women were members of the Deadly Vipers, a now-disbanded group of assassins led by Bill. Vernita now leads a normal suburban family life. The women engage in a knife fight, which is interrupted for the benefit of Vernita's young daughter Nikki, just before she arrives home from school. The Bride agrees to meet Vernita at night to settle the matter, but when Vernita tries to shoot the Bride with a pistol hidden in a box of cereal, the Bride throws a knife into Vernita's chest, killing her. After the Bride pulls the knife out of Vernita's chest, Nikki sees her mother's lifeless body. The Bride expresses regret at what Nikki has seen but insists that Vernita deserved it. She offers Nikki a chance to avenge her mother's death when she grows up, should she choose to do so.
Years earlier, the cops investigate the massacre at the wedding chapel. The sheriff discovers that the Bride is alive but comatose. In the hospital, Deadly Viper Elle Driver prepares to assassinate the Bride via lethal injection, but Bill aborts the mission at the last moment. Although Elle vehemently disagrees, Bill considers it dishonorable to kill the defenseless Bride. Awakening from her coma, the Bride is horrified to find that she is no longer pregnant. She first kills a man who intends to rape her while she is unconscious, then a hospital worker who has raped her and has been selling her body while she was comatose. She takes the hospital worker's truck and teaches herself to walk again. Resolving to kill Bill and the other Deadly Vipers, the Bride picks her first target: O-Ren Ishii, now the leader of the Tokyo yakuza.
After witnessing the yakuza murder her parents when she was a child, O-Ren took vengeance on the yakuza boss and replaced him after training as an elite assassin. The Bride travels to Okinawa, Japan, to obtain a sword from legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzō, who has sworn never to forge a sword again. After learning that her target is Bill, his former student, he relents and spends a month crafting his finest sword for her. The Bride tracks O-Ren to the House of Blue Leaves, a Tokyo restaurant, and publicly amputates the arm of her assistant, Sofie Fatale. She defeats the Crazy 88, O-Ren's squad of elite fighters, and kills her bodyguard, schoolgirl Gogo Yubari. O-Ren and the Bride duel in the restaurant's Japanese garden; the Bride kills O-Ren by slicing off the top of her head. After torturing Sofie for information about Bill and the other Deadly Vipers, the Bride leaves her alive as a threat before going to kill Vernita. Bill finds Sofie and asks her if the Bride knows that her daughter is alive.
The Guardian wrote that Kill Bill's plot shares similarities with the 1973 Japanese film Lady Snowblood, in which a woman kills off the gang who murdered her family, and observed that like how Lady Snowblood used stills and illustration for "parts of the narrative that were too expensive to film", Kill Bill similarly used "Japanese-style animation to break up the narrative". The plot also resembles the 1968 French film The Bride Wore Black, in which a bride seeks revenge on five gang members and strikes them off a list as she kills them.
While being so relentlessly exposed to a filmmaker's idiosyncratic turn-ons can be tedious and off-putting, the undeniable passion that drives Kill Bill is fascinating, even, strange to say it, endearing. Mr. Tarantino is an irrepressible showoff, recklessly flaunting his formal skills as a choreographer of high-concept violence, but he is also an unabashed cinephile, and the sincerity of his enthusiasm gives this messy, uneven spectacle an odd, feverish integrity.
A sequel, Kill Bill: Volume 2, was released in April 2004. It continues the Bride's quest to kill Bill and the remaining members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Volume 2 was also a critical and commercial success, earning over $150 million.
"Kill Bill, Volume 1" shows Quentin Tarantino so effortlessly and brilliantly in command of his technique that he reminds me of a virtuoso violinist racing through "Flight of the Bumble Bee" -- or maybe an accordion prodigy setting a speed record for "Lady of Spain." I mean that as a sincere compliment. The movie is not about anything at all except the skill and humor of its making. It's kind of brilliant.
His story is a distillation of the universe of martial arts movies, elevated to a trancelike mastery of the material. Tarantino is in the Zone. His story engine is revenge. In the opening scene, Bill kills all of the other members of a bridal party, and leaves The Bride (Uma Thurman) for dead. She survives for years in a coma and is awakened by a mosquito's buzz. Is QT thinking of Emily Dickinson, who heard a fly buzz when she died? I am reminded of Manny Farber's definition of the auteur theory: "A bunch of guys standing around trying to catch someone shoving art up into the crevices of dreck." The Bride is no Emily Dickinson. She reverses the paralysis in her legs by "focusing." Then she vows vengeance on the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and as "Volume 1" concludes, she is about half-finished. She has wiped out Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) and O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), and in "Volume 2" will presumably kill Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), Budd (Michael Madsen) and of course Bill (David Carradine). If you think I have given away plot details, you think there can be doubt about whether the heroine survives the first half of a two-part action movie, and should seek help.
The movie is all storytelling and no story. The motivations have no psychological depth or resonance, but are simply plot markers. The characters consist of their characteristics. Lurking beneath everything, as it did with "Pulp Fiction," is the suggestion of a parallel universe in which all of this makes sense in the same way that a superhero's origin story makes sense. There is a sequence here (well, it's more like a third of the movie) where The Bride single-handedly wipes out O-Ren and her entire team, including the Crazy 88 Fighters, and we are reminded of Neo fighting the clones of Agent Smith in "The Matrix Reloaded," except the Crazy 88 Fighters are individual human beings, I think. Do they get their name from the Crazy 88 blackjack games on the Web, or from Episode 88 of the action anime "Tokyo Crazy Paradise," or should I seek help? The Bride defeats the 88 superb fighters (plus various bodyguards and specialists) despite her weakened state and recently paralyzed legs because she is a better fighter than all of the others put together. Is that because of the level of her skill, the power of her focus, or the depth of her need for vengeance? Skill, focus and need have nothing to do with it: She wins because she kills everybody without getting killed herself. You can sense Tarantino grinning a little as each fresh victim, filled with foolish bravado, steps forward to be slaughtered. Someone has to win in a fight to the finish, and as far as the martial arts genre is concerned, it might as well be the heroine. (All of the major characters except Bill are women, the men having been emasculated right out of the picture.) "Kill Bill, Volume 1" is not the kind of movie that inspires discussion of the acting, but what Thurman, Fox and Liu accomplish here is arguably more difficult than playing the nuanced heroine of a Sundance thumb-sucker. There must be presence, physical grace, strength, personality and the ability to look serious while doing ridiculous things. The tone is set in an opening scene, where The Bride lies near death and a hand rubs at the blood on her cheek, which will not come off because it is clearly congealed makeup. This scene further benefits from being shot in black and white; for QT, all shots in a sense are references to other shots -- not particular shots from other movies, but archetypal shots in our collective moviegoing memories.
Before she arrives in Tokyo, The Bride stops off to obtain a sword from Hattori Hanzo ("special guest star" Sonny Chiba). He has been retired for years, and is done with killing. But she persuades him, and he manufactures a sword that does not inspire his modesty: "This my finest sword. If in your journey you should encounter God, God will be cut." Later the sword must face the skill of Go Go Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama), O-Ren's teenage bodyguard and perhaps a major in medieval studies, since her weapon of choice is the mace and chain. This is in the comic book tradition by which characters are defined by their weapons.
To see O-Ren's God-slicer and Go-Go's mace clashing in a field of dead and dying men is to understand how women have taken over for men in action movies. Strange, since women are not nearly as good at killing as men are. Maybe they're cast because the liberal media wants to see them succeed. The movie's women warriors reminds me of Ruby Rich's defense of Russ Meyer as a feminist filmmaker (his women initiate all the sex and do all the killing).
Beatrix Kiddo arrives at the location of the second member of her Death List Five, Vernita Green. The two engage in a hand-to-hand fight, destroying Vernita's living room. The fight is stopped due to the arrival of Vernita's daughter, Nikkia Bell, who is introduced to Beatrix and is told to go to her room. The two former assassins take a coffee break, during which Vernita apologizes for her doings in the past, and asks for mercy. When Beatrix refuses to forgive, Vernita attempts to shoot her with a hidden gun in a Kaboom cereal box, only for Beatrix to dodge the bullet and throw a knife which kills Vernita. Nikkia witnesses her mother's death, and is told by Beatrix that if one day Nikkia will want to avenge her mother's death, she will be waiting. Beatrix then leaves in a yellow pick-up truck. 041b061a72