HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  Kill Bill: Volume 1 Revenge Is Sweet
Year: 2003
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Vivica A. Fox, Gordon Liu, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sonny Chiba, Julie Dreyfus, Michael Parks, Jun Kunimura, Kazuki Kitamura
Genre: Action, Thriller, Martial Arts, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 14 votes)
Review: A pregnant woman's wedding day is ruined when the snake-monickered Deadly Viper Assassination Squad turns up and massacres the entire party. However, the bride survives a bullet to the head, and awakens from a coma four years later with only one thing on her mind – revenge. She was once a member of the Squad, and swears to kill the quartet responsible for the death of her unborn child – and their boss, the mysterious Bill.

Quentin Tarantino has never made any secret of his influences and inspirations. The guy barely stops talking about them, and apart from a brief bit of controversy when it was discovered just how similar much of Reservoir Dogs was to Ringo Lam's City on Fire, these influences have only enhanced the reputation of his films. Kill Bill is his most obvious cinematic love letter yet – it is pure homage, and many of his trademarks are absent. The dialogue is sparse, and two brief allusions to Star Trek are the only pop-culture references; indeed the film barely seems to take place in the real world at all. Yet Kill Bill: Volume 1 remains a hugely entertaining blast of exploitation art, put together with love and wit and free from virtually all modern Hollywood conventions.

The first part of The Bride's quest – Uma Thurman's angel of vengeance is never given a name – leads her to Japan in search of O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), codename Cottenmouth, who now heads the Tokyo underworld. Whereas Volume 2 will evidently put the emphasis on kung-fu as The Bride hits China, it's Japanese sword-play and Yakuza flicks that influence here. As in the Babycart or Lady Snowblood movies of the 1970s, the blood sprays, fountain-like, from the severed limbs of Ishii's henchmen as Thurman slices her way to her quarry. Indeed, part of the spectacular, climatic tea house showdown is so relentlessly bloody that it switches to striking black & white to presumably make the scene a little more censor-friendly. This is a world away from Reservoir Dogs' ear-slicing and torture – Kill Bill's violence is ludicrous and often hilarious.

The exploitation influences are further revealed in such devices as wild camera zooms, over-dramatic musical stabs, a 10-minute anime flashback revealing O-Ren Ishii's origins, the presence of martial arts icons Sonny Chiba and Gordon Liu, and a score that runs the gamut from Japanese girl pop to Spaghetti Western twanging and Blaxploitation funk. But to his credit, Tarantino also brings an arresting visual style that many of his favourite films would have lacked. The cinematography is subtle and hardly the gaudy cartoon style one would have expected, and there are some genuinely beautiful moments – a sword fight silhouetted against a glowing blue backdrop, and a haunting confrontation in a snow-bound garden.

The director is still unwilling to let conventional structure get in the way of his storytelling, and the opening fight between The Bride and Vernita Green/Copperhead (Vivica A. Fox) is actually the last thing to happen chronologically. We barely see anything of Bill – we hear David Carradine's voice and see his hands, but never his face. Likewise, the other two members of the Squad – Michael Madsen's Budd/Sidewinder and Daryl Hannah's Elle Driver/California Mountain Snake – will figure more heavily in Volume 2 as The Bride makes her vengeful way to them. The cast adopt a suitably melodramatic tone, and the sight of a sword-wielding Uma Thurman, blooded and steely-eyed in her yellow Game of Death jumpsuit, easily usurps The Matrix's Trinity as the year's most iconic warrior princess.

So does Kill Bill: Volume 1 work as a film in its own right? The decision to split the picture in two has been a controversial one, and whatever Tarantino says, you know it was Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein's call. There is a big, violent climax and the appetite is whetted by a twist in the closing seconds, but it does all feel a little incomplete, a tad lop-sided. There is a lot of action but very little characterisation, and Tarantino's tendency to take his time with scenes means that not much actually happens. But the whole thing is divided into chapters anyway, and once Volume 2 arrives it'll probably seem like a moot point. One can hardly blame Weinstein for wanting to hedge his bets financially – a good third of the film is subtitled, and Tarantino's admirable unwillingness to dilute his vision has resulted in a movie that will feel deeply strange to mainstream cinemagoers. Kill Bill may divide audiences even more than Jackie Brown did, but this is nevertheless seriously enjoyable, audacious stuff.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 14773 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Quentin Tarantino  (1963 - )

American writer/director and one of the most iconic filmmakers of the 1990s. The former video store clerk made his debut in 1992 with the dazzling crime thriller Reservoir Dogs, which mixed razor sharp dialogue, powerhouse acting and brutal violence in controversial style. Sprawling black comedy thriller Pulp Fiction was one of 1994's biggest hits and resurrected John Travolta's career, much as 1997's Elmore Leonard adaptation Jackie Brown did for Pam Grier.

A five year gap preceeded Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Volume 2, a spectacular, ultra-violent martial arts homage. Tarantino also provided screenplays for True Romance, From Dusk Till Dawn and Natural Born Killers (subsequently disowned after Oliver Stone rewrote his script), and directed a quarter of the woeful Four Rooms. More recently, he helped out on Robert Rodriguez's Sin City then teamed up with him for double feature Grindhouse and began to prepare his long-promised World War II movie Inglourious Basterds, which he followed with racially charged Spaghetti Western homages Django Unchained and power play musings The Hateful Eight. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood was a radical rewriting of the Manson Family murders, in extreme bad taste that was somehow excused by many.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: