I’m so glad that I didn’t go to the cinema to see “Kill Bill”. I mean, I should like Quentin Tarantino’s films. I thought that “Reservoir Dogs” and “Jackie Brown” were superb and I sort of liked “Pulp Fiction”. Tarantino hadn’t done much for a while before “Kill Bill” so there was a high level of expectation before the film’s release.
What put me off the cinema release was the “Volume One” tag. I didn’t want to pay to sit through a film that I wasn’t going to like and that only took me halfway through the story. Now that the film has made it to TV in the UK, I’m disappointed to tell you that my suspicions were correct.
Major problem: Kill Bill Filler – (1) The faux anime sequence that gives you the back story of Lucy Liu’s character. Presumably the budget wouldn’t stretch to having piece done by a real Japanese anime studio, so we get some American guy’s version of what he thinks anime should look like. Wrong. Just to pile on the disappointment, it’s predictable and pointless, a complete waste of screen time. (2) Tarantino also drags us back to the blood-drenched chapel too many times. OK, The Bride’s been left for dead by a bunch of murderers, Quentin. We’ve got that. Can we move on please? (3) The Bride emerging from her coma, la la, drone drone, sexual perversion, violence, drag drag, shuffle shuffle, more violence, pimp my ride, drag drag, wiggle your toe, yawn, wake me up when it’s over. I’m not sure how long all this filler guff goes on for but I knew that I’d been watching for ALMOST 2 HOURS OH GOD THE PAIN by the time the credits rolled.
The action sequences are impressively staged but are too “stagey” to be exciting. In particular, the showdown with the Crazy 88 gang plays out like the climax of a TV Batman episode. The bride deals with wave upon wave of sword-wielding goons before reaching the “Boss Level” and despatching Lucy Liu’s character in a couple of minutes. After watching a Japanese schoolgirl and the entire Tokyo Branch of the Reservoir Dogs Fan Club line up to get slaughtered, I was expecting something more interesting and involving.
Tarantino’s dialogue is well written and well observed, and he has a knack for creating fully-formed characters in short order. Unfortunately in “Kill Bill” he has eschewed the intelligent side of his film making skills in favour of crude splatter, pointless-endless violence and more cheap TV/film references than you can throw a katana at. This is what happens when you let a film geek loose with a big budget and carte-blanche. It’s one of the few times that I’ve wished the Hollywood Suits had reined in a writer/director. “Kill Bill”? More like “Overkill, Bill”. You’ll have to look elsewhere to see a good example of Quentin Tarantino’s talent.
Finally, there’s the issue of the supposedly Star Trek Klingon proverb used in the opening titles. (A) “Revenge is a dish which is best served cold” is used in “Star Trek II” by Khan, a genetically-engineered human renegade, not by a Klingon. (B) the phrase “La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid” was originally coined by Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderios de LaClos in his classic novel, “Les Liasons Dangereuses”. If you’re going to use an over-quoted phrase, Quentin, at least acknowledge the correct author.