Kill Bill Volume 1 review by Dawna Wood
From The Quentin Tarantino Archives
Revealing Tarantino's Cutting Edge
A Critical Review of Kill Bill: Volume 1, by Dawna Wood
No unauthorized reprinting, publishing or other use allowed without permission
First off, allow me to clarify something before I get in over my head about Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003, Miramax): I have never had an extreme liking for samurai swords, Uma Thurman, and watching as blood spills by the gallons in an unfathomable 7- something minute long sequence. That is until I endured the one hundred and eleven minute run of Volume 1, which was in all aspects, the kind of movie that I wouldn't like under normal circumstances. Yet I just can't seem to keep quiet about it.
Back in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction days, an idea remained stewing in QT's mind. A story of one woman's brutal, merciless revenge that he was determined to bring to the screen just the way he liked it to be. Combining all his favorite aspects of yesteryear samurai programs and rugged Western flicks with the same Tarantinian humor that made old QT famous for in Pulp Fiction, he collaborated again with Thurman to design a two-part masterpiece. He used his own techniques, filling the lens full of material Hollywood tossed out years ago and fashioned himself the blood-red world of The Bride.
The movie starts out with a bang. Literally. Kiddo/Black Mamba/The Bride (Uma Thurman) is gunned down in the head by former boss Bill (David Carradine) at her wedding, taking the bullet after taking a few bruises from his international team of assassins, which she was once a part of. After lying in a slumbering coma for four years, she frantically awakens recalling what happened to her, and discovers the pregnancy she had been endowed with four years ago is no more. Armed with a legendary Hattori Hanzo sword, she steps back out into the world to seek revenge for herself and the daughter she should have had. Even if it means knocking every single head off of O-Ren Ishii's (Lucy Liu) Crazy 88 bodyguard army, and passing on Vernita Green's (Vivica A. Fox) moonlight knife fight in exchange for some talk over coffee.
If the flickering back and forth from black-and-white footage to Japanese anime to modern-day color can't keep you awake, then the mind-blowing crew efforts and tongue-piercing dialogue will. The RZA packs in a dynamite score, jazzing up each transition and Bernerd Hermann supplies a lasting effect through his sharp "Twisted Nerve" as well as a memorable appearance by The 5, 6, 7, 8's. Throughout the dense cold-blooded murder of this feature lies the heart of a pulsating screenplay that hums louder than the Pussy Wagon. Revenge is never a straight line, according to Hattori Hanzo, it's a forest. And sorting through the forest of today's quote-unquote films, it is easy to spot the bright yellow jacket donned by Thurman in this fourth film by Quentin Tarantino, an unmistakable highlight to the graduating class of 2003 movies and the best of them all.