View Full Version : Review of KILL BILL: VOL. 1

Mark Dujsik
10-16-2003, 04:10 AM
"Quentin Tarantino is a joyous filmmaker, one whose love of film is clear in every frame of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and one whose euphoria is absolutely infectious. Despite what many might think, this is his first real piece of pulp fiction. Tarantino's homage to martial arts action films of the '60s and '70s is a sweat-soaked, blood-drenched samurai Western that expertly balances the absurd and the poignant—entertainment and art. It's camp that transcends campiness. Everything we've come to expect from Tarantino—dark humor, postmodern self-awareness, outstanding dialogue, and chronologically disconnected storytelling—flows throughout the film. There's nothing much to the story here, only a simple revenge tale with its roots in exploitative female empowerment flicks, but Tarantino goes for broke and pulls out all the stops. As an action film, it follows the simple but vital rule of continuously topping what has come before it and gives us an invigorating extended climactic battle where blood squirts and sprays, limbs are hacked off here and there, and it all achieves a kind of beauty of form. In an inexplicable case of irrationality, this is only the first part of a longer, already complete film, and it's only in this studio-sanctioned gaffe that Kill Bill: Vol. 1 unfortunately falters."

Mark's Full Review (http://mark-reviews-movies.tripod.com/reviews/K/killbill1.htm)

Chris Knipp
10-26-2003, 12:42 AM
I completely agree, Mark: you've got it! Tarantino indeed is a "joyous filmmaker," who's particularly celebratory in Kill Bill. I'm just startled by all the fuss on this site about splitting Kill Bill into two parts. Surprise, surprise: the big studios are out to make money! Did anybody think Tarantino was a small time art film director, a selfless Sundance queen? I mean, really! Why don't we just accept this stuff the way it is issued to us, as we have accepted series and sequels and prequels all along? I haven't seen anybody making a big fuss because the Lord of the Rings comes in three parts. It was made all at once too.

Phillip French in the Observer has a good take on the movie http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Critic_Review/Observer_Film_of_the_week/0,4267,1061915,00.html . I agree with him in thinking Kill Bill is somewhat solemn. The idea that it's meant to be funny and that that's disgusting is another red herring on other Kill Bill threads on this site. The seriousness of revenge permeates the piece, while the violence is distanced throughout by stylization and by the simple fact that it's all not only illusion, but allusion as well.

I'm not a martial arts movie buff, so the finer details of the references are somewhat lost on me. But I understand the idea of putting together a movie -- or any artwork -- out of references, and that that can be a joyous thing. What I particularly enjoyed is that Tarantino is referencing his own work, particularly Pulp Fiction, as well as his pulp movie idols. It's all great fun, but I guess you just get it or you don't. And you don't have to get it. But must people condemn the movie because they don't get it? Hey, I don't "get" stuff like The Bridges of Madison County.

The only real question about the splitting up of Kill Bill into two parts is this: will it work? Will people come out to see Vol. 2? And judging by the reaction to Vol. 2, I think they will. For those of us who enjoyed Vol. 1 and have a little patience, it's kind of fun to see Vol. 1 end and know we're going to be able to come back and see the rest of it later. And this is simply one of the most basic movie experiences, like the Perils of Pauline. If nobody comes out to see Vol. 2 and it dies at the box office, then, and only then, can you say it was a "mistake" to split the movie up. I say it's part of the pulp effect, and in keeping with Tarantino's style of weirdly chopping up his blocks of scenes, and makes perfect sense.

My take, emphasizing the links with Pulp Fiction: http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/viewtopic.php?t=166

10-26-2003, 02:36 PM
Because Volume I was so graphic with gore, I really don't mind taking it all in in two outings. Seeing both Volume I and II at the same time just would be too much for me to bare - it's too serious for me to be really funny in tone. This movie is more seriously martial arts/horror with comical interludes than a parody - Mr. Taratino hasn't really found that balance between fine humor and drama that television series like Charmed or Buffy: The Vampire Slayer have been able to achieve under the supervision of Jess Whedon. But I did enjoy Volume I even though it really played out more sadistic than I prefer in the movies I've seen.