“Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey”
I thought about whether or not I should create one single post for both volumes of Kill Bill or split them up and I obviously decided on the latter. The movie was actually split into two volumes after production wrapped up due to the original having a length of over four hours and the second volume was released mere months after the first one was. I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any significant differences or anything I liked better or didn’t like about the second installment. Volume 2 packs just as much of a punch as the first one and arguably might even be the better half of the two.
The continuation of this epic story just seemed a bit more involved than the first one. This could be due to the appearance of Bill himself (David Carradine), some flashbacks in which we learn some background on our leading character, or even The Bride’s real name being revealed (Beatrix Kiddo). Don’t get me wrong, if you read my post on the first one, I really enjoyed it but of course, it left me wanting more. And boy, did Volume 2 give me more. It was a perfect succession in which everything came together and we are left to truly enjoy the story of the movie, and not just the style.
In my first “review” of Kill Bill I commented a lot about the unique style of the movie and how that was the main spotlight of the film. It was a visually fun and quirky nod to the many 1970’s kung fu movies that Tarantino admires. I talked a little bit about how the story took the backseat to the styling of the movie and this is where I believe Volume 2 wins as the better of the two. Perhaps in the first volume we just were not able to get involved with the story because of the limitation of time but in the second half we are able to and that makes for a better movie.
My favorite part of the movie had to be when Beatrix (Uma Thurman) finds herself trapped in a coffin six feet under ground. As the audience we feel hopelessness for her (even though we know she will survive, we can’t figure out how). We are then rescued by a flashback in which we witness Beatrix under the training of a great martial arts master, Pai Mei. We see Pai Mei punch a hole in a slab of wood a mere three inches away from it and ask Beatrix “Can you do that?” “I can, but not that close” “Then you can’t do it.” We then observe Beatrix attempting to punch a hole in the wood over and over again but actually see her do it. Flash forward to present time to in the coffin and suddenly we know the answer. Bloodied knuckles and all, Beatrix is able to punch through the top of the coffin and climb out. This was just a brilliant use of flashback in my opinion and really gave depth to Beatrix that in the first volume we did not have.
This movie just brought in a lot more emotion and depth to all of the characters. We finally get to meet Bill, who in the first one we only heard a few voice overs of and he is just as crazy as we expect but we also get the sense that his love for Beatrix really took a toll on him. Carradine plays him wonderfully and I read somewhere that if another actor had gotten the part that Tarantino wanted Bill to have more of a “James Bond” type of feel. I’m glad they went with Carradine as he gave a certain quality to Bill that truly brought him to life…not to mention that wonderful flute playing!
All in all, Volume 2 was a wonderful conclusion that might have even outshone the first one. It marks the start of a fantastic series of movies to be released by Tarantino that bring together real and unreal elements that definitely leave their mark in the world of film.