Impressions of the 4th film by Quentin Tarantino,
Kill Bill, followed by very lovely pix of Chiaki Kuriyama, with very little on.
First, everyone walking into the theater knows what's going to happen, Uma gets beat up, put in a coma, her husband killed and she's going to kill all the people responsible. Not only did pre-movie publicity make this clear, the movie jumps around and pretty much tells you she at least kills a few of them 1st installment. How we get there is the important thing.
No, it doesn't have near the snappy, realistic dialogue most Tarantino flicks have. In fact a lot of the dialog is along the lines of a badly written 70's TV action series. If the entire movie isn't just a bunch of fight scenes stitched together, the last half is near as dammit. The good thing is its realistic and well-done; this isn't the Matrix with hokey, artificial CGI cartoons that go on to the point of absurdity. Although there is some wire work, most is real and realistic and while not as impressive as the flat, repetitious Matrix effects, its more believable -outside of the Monty-Pythonesque blood gushers, where QT has taken hits for playing violence for laughs.
Pre-movie buzz suggested the violence was not extreme or disturbing because it was cartoony- mostly, its not. Its brutal and realistic. Even the cartoon violence is brutal and vicious. In the real action fights, people actually get injured, they don't just dance around each other pummelling and cutting and at the end someone dies- people get wounded, hurt, dismembered and THEN killed fighting. Some shrieking wounded people are left when you are done, just like when you really fight a room full of Yakuza. They aren't all just dead. They writhe around piteously and groan and scream in pain. Now that's the kind of realistic gore we need to see more of in today's cinema.
Visually, there are some great shots that stick with you. This is a much slicker film than any other Tarantino film, instead of the gritty, grungy universe his movies usually occupy. Lots of iconic frames and poster shots here.
Verbally, there's some funny lines, but some really corny ones too. None of the scenes are really classic. The best one was the Sonny Chiba as a sushi chef. But its no "Jules and Vincent talk about Amsterdam". Most of this stuff is so throw-away its not going to get the instant classic recognition of conversations in Rez Dogs or Pulp. It would be tough to parody this stuff because it reads like parody already.
Great actors its good to see again were Michael Parks, once again playing the taciturn, deliberate Texas lawman he portrayed in From Dusk Til Dawn, and Michael Bowen, in a scene where a comatose Uma gets some tongue action. "I'm Buck and I'm here to fuck!" is a pretty lame catchphrase, if that's what QT was going for.
Best film ever? Hardly, its not even the best Tarantino film. It's not as good as Jackie Brown, in plot, acting, dialogue or characterisations. It's hard to compare Pulp Fiction to anything, everyone has seen it so many times its like trying to compare a new record to Abbey Road- you've been so immersed in it for so long you can't look at it objectively anymore. I definitely would have to say it doesn't have the memorable, industry-and-art of cinema-affecting scenes Pulp did, and that was just about every scene in Pulp. It doesn't have the great feel and looseness of RezDogs either.
Another thing, after taking a lot of flack about how Pulp, and especially Rez Dogs, were men's movies, and changing a bit with Jackie Brown, which still had strong male roles. Vol. #1 is all girl power, with men mostly serving as chopping fodder.
The "House of Blue Leaves" scene, which I had heard was epic, was pretty short and nothing, other than the end was kind of funny I guess. It sure wasn't in the caliber of Maynard and Zed's violent end or the stand-offs in Pulp, Rez or True Romance.
Unless you are an anime fan, you don't have much to compare the anime segment to in the way of 'how good anime was it', but its seemed to about on par with most of the anime I personally am exposed to, which is all from the net. That mostly consists of sadistic violence and pornography, usually perverted fetish pornography like pedo-type young girls being disemboweled or fucked through the guts with tenticles, so gauging by that standard, the anime was great. I guess there wasn't a better way to present the scenes in the segment, without being redundant, but I could have done without the entire section myself. One of the guys has Bill's ring and superficially resembles him, so we'll be hearing more about that later you have to suppose.
Final analysis- it was entertaining, although you knew basically what was coming up. There was suspense -you wanted to see what happened next. It was fast moving, contrary to early buzz that claimed it had lulls and dead spots. To me, the best character was Lucy Liu's bodyguard. I don't know if it was the Japanese schoolgirl uniform or what but fucking ROWR I wanna see a movie just about her. She rocked. Anyway, it was worth the $8 and I'd buy the DVD, its worth seeing many times. Not QT's best, but 100x better than most of the shit passing for movies this year.
SPOILER= yes Tarantino fans, there IS a trunk scene!