Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003)

Kill_bill_vol_one_ver

Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Cast: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Sonny Chiba

Synopsis: After getting fucked over on her wedding day by her ex-boss/lover and former colleagues, Uma Thurman decides to crack some skulls and cut some bitches.

Over the years, I have heard a lot of people say lots of different things about Quentin Tarantino. “He’s a genius,” said one friend. “He’s really creepy and he’d totally be in prison if he weren’t making movies,” said another. No matter what your opinion of the man, you have to admit that the guy knows cinema. I love that his movies are often love notes to his favorite films. Kill Bill Volume 1 is no exception to this. This film is a slick, stylish and brutal cultural mish-mash tribute to movies from the East with a smattering of spaghetti western thrown in for good measure (although that’s clearer in Kill Bill Volume 2).

The plot to the Kill Bill is really quite simple: assassins turn on another assassin on her wedding day, killing her friends and putting her in a coma. When she wakes up, she wants revenge and goes about getting it. That is all this movie is about. In a lot of ways, the film is a western take on Lady Snowblood, a Japanese film from the 70s in which a woman kills the gang that murdered her family, but it works remarkably well. Tarantino’s style is loud and in-your-face and lacks the subtlety that is more common in Asian cinema but Kill Bill Volume 1, for all its OTT hyper-realness, is never dull. The movie was a veritable feast for my bloodshot eyes. The color, the action, the cinematography all come together to paint a vivid and engaging picture. I especially applaud Tarantino’s use of anime halfway through the film which keeps the audience on its toes.

It’s not just the visual aspects of the film that impressed. The entire cast put in brilliant performances. I was especially impressed with Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah, although the latter’s appearance was more of a cameo. I think that everybody in this film just went with the flow and had a really fun time with their characters. It was good to see considering that some of the actors (*cough Uma Thurman *cough) haven’t really done anything good recently. I think it helped that Tarantino put together a script that was sharp and witty. The man has an enviable way with words and I liked all the language to do with swords clashing and how swords never get tired as it built up the tension for the final fight, even though we already knew the outcome.

I wouldn’t go as far to suggest that Kill Bill is Tarantino’s best film. Pulp Fiction clearly takes that title. However, this is probably the first film in which he had total creative license and just did whatever the fuck he wanted. By this point I’m sure he had built up such a good reputation that he was able to create his dream movie. Although not a movie that set the movie world alight, Kill Bill Volume 1 is a highly enjoyable romp that confirmed one thing: at his core, Tarantino is a man who understands movies and has impeccable taste and intuition.

High-lights:

  • Kick ass soundtrack. The hallmark of all Tarantino films.
  • Suburban knife fight with Vivica Fox….you can take the girl out the hood but you can’t take the hood out the girl….*finger snaps in z-formation.
  • Chiaki Kuriyama! If you haven’t seen her in Battle Royale then watch that movie right this second.
  • The fight scene between the bride and O-Ren Ishii was stunning and the decision to put it alongside salsa music was genius.

Downers:

  • Again with the feet, Tarantino? And these ones be crooked as fuck.
  • A little more character development for the bride would have been appreciated.

Summary:

Kill Bill Volume 1 is pure unadulterated fun. It grabs your attention right off the bat and holds it for a solid couple of hours. A great choice for smokers who like something visual but if you prefer a solid story and screenplay then this movie will also satisfy.

8.5/10

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11 Comments

Filed under Action/Adventure, Drama, Great, Thriller

11 responses to “Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003)

  1. Kill Bill is easily one of my all time favorite movies of all time. As far as The Bride’s development, Tarantino basically opted to leave basically ALL of it for Volume 2.

    What I thought was interesting was the fact that Tarantino was planning to make it all one, really long movie originally because Volumes 1 and 2 are so different in feel.

  2. Now THAT’S an awesome review of an awesome movie. Boom!

  3. theipc

    The first one is KICK ASS – the second one, not so much…

    Nice work!!

  4. I know a lot of people tend to like this one less than the second, but II’m totally the opposite. As crazy and as insane as it was, it was still trademark-Tarantino where he did whatever he wanted to, at any given moment, and it paid off big time. Good review.

  5. The character development part is handled in detail in Vol. 2 and since Vol. 1 & 2 are just one movie edited into two parts… Should that really be counted as a downer in this one considering there is enough development of The Bride & even more of O-ren Ishii to set it up nicely for the next part?

    By the way, brilliant review.

    • Thanks for your nice words. You’re right, had I watched Volume 1 and Volume 2 back to back I wouldn’t have listed the lack of character development as a downer because I would have gotten my fill. I was probably being a bit too picky here.

  6. Good review. Possibly my favorite Tarantino film. Maybe second… 🙂 I need to update the Top Five I did ages ago!

  7. Pingback: Jackie Brown (1997) | bakedmoviereviews

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