Posted on 9/23/12 05:05 PM
Review Number: 8
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - Simple, straightforward, completely over-the-top but above all beautifully shot and superbly directed
Kill Bill is a combination of Tarantino's love for the 70's over-dramatized Kung-Fu movie era and story of revenge with rich dialog. Yes, this movie is violent, but in a cheesy way. This created some controversy and really had audiences stirred up, failing to realize it was supposed to be over the top without no sense of realism. Like I said, it was supposed to be a tribute more so than a gruesome action flick. With all cheesiness aside, I can understand how some people could feel a little woozy after seeing someone lose an arm and having 4 gallons of Kool-Aid red blood shoot out of the body like a whale's blow hole. What really makes this movie is Tarantino ability to make bad to mediocre actors seem like good ones, with a smart and hilarious dialog and a good storyline.
The story is something that was thought up in a few minutes. The Bride wants to kill people, and she does. As simple as that. "Kill Bill Volume One" really is just shallow characters killing each other. First, she battles some woman. I have no clue what her name is though. Then, we find some history of The Bride. After, we find that The Bride was somehow knocked out. I forgot why. When she wakes up, we experience more brutal torture of people. Then, she gets a sword and kills lots of other people. The End. There are various plot holes in the story, but we are really meant to ignore them unlike most movies. The movie also features a couple of classic Tarantino showdowns, including an unforgettable one with the Japanese infamous crime lord, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Lui.) Tarantino also puts his imagination at work again in his story telling by using some of his old techniques like jumping timelines and some new ones like adding Japanese animation for character backgrounds.
There is a lot here to appreciate, particularly the slick visuals. There's also a fairly effective combination of action and humor. I'm curious to see the second part, but I wasn't curious enough to actually see it in the theater after seeing this one. I'm disappointed overall.... I don't know if I should call myself a "Tarantino fan" but I have seen all his movies since "Pulp Fiction" in the theater and I enjoyed them. This one felt a bit flat, particularly because it was a step backward into a less story-oriented, more goofy and showy, style of film-making like what he was doing with "PF". All of the violence in "PF" and "Reservoir Dogs" however had a feeling of brutality that made it feel real despite the offbeat humor in the films. But in "Kill Bill" we reach the point of excess where the action itself becomes ridiculous and pointless, particularly in the ludicrous finale where this barbie doll type woman kills something like 50 armed men at the same time. A good director like Tarantino should be able to come up with better and more original ideas than he has done here.
This film's a sampling of the Tarantino 'fury,' short of the Tarantino customary fiery tongue. It celebrates the Tarantino trademark of avoiding the use of computer-generated CGI special effects. It's almost as if I'm watching a colorful and bloodied kabuki stage that's displaying a stunningly massive tournament of multi-layered kung-fu and female samura sword-fighting styles to dazzle the audience. It's examining how Tarantino catalogues the great stylistic elements of his favorite 'old-school' filmmakers and transforms them into a phenomenally creative and mesmerizing film. Yep, there's a great deal of captivatingly artistic boldness in this film. Powerfully portrayed and not to be easily forgotten. Violently brutal and gloriously gory without doubt, and yet so aesthetically operatic and astoundingly artful. The music and lyrics that accompany the scenes are astounding. Tarrantino is one of the masters of film history, takes his knowledge of film genres and improves on each one of them. He mixes all kinds of styles including Kung Fu, Japanese Samurai and Anime, Italian Spaghetti Westerns and the Black Exploitation films of the 70s and comes up with his own inventive hybrid.