Monday, December 9, 2013

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Being a fan of Quentin Tarantino I was pretty excited to see Kill Bill. There was a good strong buzz about the film. It sounded like a fun blast of Tarantino action with a strong Kung Fu film influence. But then I heard they were splitting the film into two parts, and I started to worry. Was this just going to be an extended cash grab from Miramax, or was there a reason to split the film?

The Bride (Uma Thurman) is leaving her life as part of team of super assassins behind. She’s going to get married, and have a wonderful new life in El Paso. But her old boss, Bill (David Carradine) has an issue with that. So he brings his assassin squad to Texas and proceeds to kill everyone in the chapel. The thing is, he didn’t do a great job, because The Bride survives – and now she’s really pissed off.

After escaping from the hospital where she lay in a coma for years, the Bride begins her systematic destruction of Bill and the assassins. In volume one she faces Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) a master of knife fighting, and now living the life of a suburban mom. But her killing skills are sharper than ever. The Bride must also face O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), the head of the Japanese crime gangs. She’s got an army of killers known as The Crazy 88 protecting her. And even if The Bride gets past them, Ishii is a master with the katana. But The Bride has a plan, to obtain a katana of her own from the master sword smith Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba). Will The Bride survive her encounters and finally Kill Bill?

Good Points:
  • Combines elements of Japanese pop culture together in a very exciting way
  • The pacing is perfect, building up to the confrontation with Ishii
  • The cast is have a great time

Bad Points:
  • Anyone who doesn’t enjoy the style of Japanese pop culture may find this film unwatchable
  • Foul mouthed and bloody as all hell
  • Very much style over substance

When it comes to pulp fiction, Kill Bill: Vol 1 really nails it. It is an over the top revenge story told using a myriad of styles and influences (primarily Japanese anime, manga, movies and television in this segment, but there are plenty of other influences in there too). It is done with a joy for the material and telling the story that the whole thing just flows. It is cool, old school, and yet modern all at once. Certainly one of my favorite films in Tarantino’s filmography.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 5
Sound: 5
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 4
Direction: 5
Entertainment: 5
Total:  5

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. None of Tarantino's films are for the squeamish or the easily offended. If you're neither, however, they are enormously entertaining. Kill Bill! is right up there with Pulp Fiction. Trivia: The band the's are singing in English -- really. The lyrics to "I'm Blue" is on

    1. I completely agree. I think "Pulp Fiction" is still my favorite of his, but "Kill Bill" comes in right behind it.

      Ah, J-pop loves doing this. So does J-rock. I was watching an anime series that had a full blown heavy metal opening credit song. I kept wondering why there were no subtitles for it... until the fourth episode when I realized that the whole song was in English. I never caught all the words, I should look them up. :)