An adrenaline-driven coaster-ride through gratingly bold and captivating martial-arts extravaganza

Do I think this movie is absolutely brilliant? Yes. Do I think this is the all time greatest movie ever, or even a top 50? Nope. I find the dichotomy between people who hate this movie and those that think it’s the greatest film ever made is interesting. Even more interesting is the apparent split between fans of Volumes 1 and 2. Like the thread says, I think most of it’s a matter of those who prefer style to substance. For my past, Volume 1 destroys Volume 2, but I concede that everyone has their own tastes and experiences and that no one pinion has any more weight than the other. Two scenes in particular really make this movie brilliant in my opinion, and both are fairly subtle in their portrayal but fascinating by their tone and the cinematic elements that come together to carry them off:

1.) The scene where Oren and the Crazy 88 enter the House of the Blue Leaves. Absolutely magical. The score, the pacing, the atmosphere….simply magnificent. The slow motion pull away and the obvious hierarchy of characters, Lucy Liu was absolutely made for that part and that part was made for that scene. The beautiful and menacing Gogo Yubari and the goofy 88s trailing behind. You can also feel the tension the owners feel at having such esteemed guests but one’s who admittedly exude as much fear as they do respect. Add to this the nameless, faceless people dancing who are oblivious to the regality (and lethality) of Oren’s entourage.

2.) Oren is called out by Kiddo who subsequently whacks off Sophie’s arm in a highly symbolic gesture. Words can’t describe how moving that scene is. The score is superb and the timing is nothing short of perfect. I especially love the way the crowd pauses after the arm slicing…like they’re all stunned or still convincing themselves it rally happened…then all rush out screaming. Kiddo makes a slow, deliberate plod through the panicked crowd, a march to destiny filmed from several perspectives that combine holistically to give the segment a life of it’s own.

One aspect of this movie that puzzles me is the emphasis it’s critics make of the gore. For my part the gore was so outlandish it’s hard for me to see how anyone could take it seriously, and that was part of the appeal. Buckets of blood spraying 15 feet in the air is so beyond the realm of reality how could you possibly take it seriously? For my part it was borderline comical and really brought out the flavor of the scenes, rather than being their focus. And regardless of what you think of Tarrentino as a director, the man is bar none the best at matching musical scores to a scene in the business. A few other noteworthy scenes…

*The end-fight between Oren and Kiddo….marvelous stuff. The backdrop of the snow and the water, the smooth silence interrupted by the fountain, again, a great accompanying score. Fine piece of film craftsmanship.

*Kiddo’s overhead film shot while walking to the bathroom of the House of the Blue Leaves. Simply amazing. 5,6,7,8s performing live is just quirky yet proper enough to really add some depth and the unique filming make this a scene to behold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *