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Kill Bill Vol. 2 Review

By Shawn McKenzie 05/16/2004

I am so glad that Quentin Tarantino split up his fourth film, Kill Bill, into two parts, because it made the overall project highly enjoyable.  While Vol. 1 was the set-up and most of the action, Vol. 2 is the layout of the story.  While not as violent, it is equally as satisfying.


I am going to write this synopsis with the assumption that you have seen the first movie, so if you haven’t, I’d skip this paragraph (it also contains some minor spoilers of this movie.)  When we left off in our story, The Bride, a.k.a. Black Mamba, a.k.a. Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman), had already killed two of the four members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS.)  Her ultimate goal was to kill Bill, a.k.a. Snake Charmer (David Carradine), the leader of the DiVAS, a group she used to be a member of in her past.  She also used to be lovers with Bill, and he is the father of her daughter B.B. (Perla Haney-Jardine), whom she was pregnant with at the beginning of the movie, but thought she had lost during her four years of being in a coma.  The first movie showed her fights out of order, but this one shows them in the correct order, with two major flashbacks.  The first flashback is to her wedding (actually, it was the rehearsal) to Tommy Plympton (Chris Nelson), a used record store owner in El Paso that Beatrix (going under the alias “Arlene”) met after deciding to quit the DiVAS.  Right before her last assignment to take out a rival named Lisa Wong, she found out that she was pregnant and decided that she didn’t want to put her baby in harm’s way.  Her abandonment ticked off Bill, and after finding out that she was alive (she had pretended that she had been killed), he sent the other DiVAS to kill her and her wedding party at the Two Pines Wedding Chapel, including the Reverend Harmony (Bo Svenson), the Reverend’s wife (Jeannie Epper), and the chapel’s organ player, Rufus (Samuel L. Jackson.)  While they did kill everyone else, they just put her in a coma (her escape from that was covered in the first movie.)  Back in the present, her next target was Bill’s little brother, Budd, a.k.a. Sidewinder (Michael Madson), a member of the DiVAS who is now living in a trailer park near Barstow, CA, and working as a bouncer at a strip club called the My-Oh-My Club for Larry Gomez (Larry Bishop.)  Budd gets the upper hand of Beatrix, and ends up burying her in a grave marked as “Paula Schultz.”  While in the grave, she has a flashback to her martial arts training at the hands of Pai Mei (Gordon Liu.)  He taught her the “five point palm-exploding heart technique,” a move that kills a person after they take five steps following the application of the move to their chest.  After escaping the grave, she has another run-in with Elle Driver, a.k.a. California Mountain Snake (Daryl Hannah), who had been making a deal with Budd to acquire Beatrix’s custom-made Hattori Hanzo sword.  Beatrix escapes that confrontation too (I won’t say how or if she kills Budd and Elle), and then sees a Mexican pimp named Esteban Vihaio (Michael Parks, who also played Sheriff Earl McGraw, the officer investigating the Two Pines Massacre), a friend of Bill’s mother, who tells Beatrix where Bill is.  She finally finds Bill, meets B.B. for the first time, and…well, I think that you can guess the rest (it does involve her Hattori Hanzo sword, fashioned for her in the first movie.)


The first movie was a cartoonishly violent masterpiece that was mainly action, but not a lot of character development.  Sure, we knew that Beatrix wanted to kill Bill, and that she used to be a member of the DiVAS, but we only saw small amounts of the Two Pines Massacre and very little explanation of why she left Bill originally.  Most of the back-story we saw in the first one involved the two DiVAS killed by Beatrix in the movie, Vernita Green, a.k.a. Copperhead (Vivica A. Fox), and O-Ren Ishii, a.k.a. Cottonmouth (Lucy Liu.)  Since the movie was mostly action and not as much talking, we didn’t get the famous Tarantino-speak of his past movies, flush with pop culture references.


Everything missing from the first movie is in this one.  The character development is there, along with the Tarantino-speak.  It’s like the two movies were two perfect pieces of a cool movie puzzle.  The best part was near the end when Bill compares Superman to Beatrix and the human condition.


There are still flashes of cheesy violent fun.  Beatrix’s training by Pai Mai is straight out of a Shaw Brothers martial arts flick from ‘70s.  Also, her fight with Elle produces one of the grossest ends of either film.

As I was saying, I’m glad that Tarantino split the two Kill Bill movies apart, and as a TV critic, I could tolerate the wait (unlike some of my fellow critics.)  As cool as both parts were, I think that if he had released one big movie, we wouldn’t have gotten the entire fun experience, and it actually might have bored me (though I doubt that.)  He does wrap up the story in Vol. 2, but he plans to make a third installment involving Vernita Green’s daughter, Nikki (Ambrosia Kelley), as she grows up and vows her revenge on Beatrix.  It will be in 10-15 years and involve Kelley as an adult (hopefully the actress will be up for it.)  I can’t wait to see it, after I’ve seen the Special Edition DVD installments of the first two volumes a million times!

Thanks to Century Theatres for letting me see this film.  Visit them at www.centurytheatres.com to find the location near you.

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