After the Quentin Tarantino ode to kung fu chophouse films in Kill Bill Volume 1, Volume 2 shows us the substance behind the style. You see why a Hattori Hanzo sword is as prestigious as it is, you see how and why Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) lost her right eye, you even find out what the Bride’s (Uma Thurman) name is. But at the end of the day, this movie is about killing Bill, so you see Bill (David Carradine), in all his splendor and glory, and you see the relationship that the Bride and Bill share, both befo…e and after the massacre in the remote church.
OK, so for those geeks like me who have done the unadulterated Kill Bill film festival (using the uncut, gorier version of Volume 1 thank you very much), here’s my take on things:
- While the cut between Volume 1 and Volume 2 is a great point to leave them at, it seems to me that there were some re-shoots to make things a little tailored to a two-part theatrical release. For example, at the end of Volume 1, Bill is telling Sofie about the daughter, which is dropped in at the end of that part. I don’t think something like that is thrown in almost recklessly like it was in one continuous cut, unless there is some missing footage that we’ll see down the road that makes Bill more of a heel. Which leads me to my second thought:
- While QT has been known to play around with timelines quite a bit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some serious editing to make things a little more conventional chronologically. There seemed to be some confused opinions to how the relationship was between the Bride and Bill, and I think a more chronological cut may bring some emotional payload to it, so you can appreciate whatever thoughts the Bride had, not to mention just how much of a “murdering bastard” Bill is.
- As a complete film, I think it still runs a little long, with a couple of scenes that seemed to mimic other films. OK, the scene where the Bride survives an assassination attempt, that dark humor seemed to be freely lifted from Pulp Fiction in my mind. Add Jules, Vincent and Winston Wolf all trying to get a car cleaned, and tell me it doesn’t seem too repetitive.
So there are my random thoughts on both parts of the movie. As a standalone theatrical release however, Volume 2 clearly is phenomenal work, and the performances of Hannah and Madsen are excellent for supporting work. Thurman shows a great deal of emotional depth (she’s a pretty good crier) in the role as one conflicted and hurt by the actions of her former mentor, and what can you say about Carradine’s performance? Clearly his intangibles, like the starring role in Kung Fu, that make his performance something to watch, one that (along with Thurman’s) should have been given proper recognition this awards year. This film has held up as arguably the best of the year after being released in February, and Miramax releases the 2nd Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies to DVD, with the requisite double-dipping in the form of special editions to occur in the future.
As per Volume 1, there are Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks for this part. I enjoyed the soundtrack to this better than the first also, with really enveloping sounds during the burial scene, and creative use of the surrounds through the film that conveyed the film’s score. The fight scene with the Bride and Elle sounded great, and really put you in the middle of the trailer.
Much as I loved the movie, the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer was clearly a disappointment by Miramax’s usual good standard. It comes off as being very inconsistent, with some haloing and some fuzziness in images, but others come off as being sharp and full of detail. Hopefully this is not an issue when the Special Edition comes out.
And as per Volume 1 again, the extras are pretty sparse, in anticipation of loading everything onto a multi-disc special edition. The making of featurette for Volume 2 appears and is about a half hour long. In it, Tarantino explains how Volume 2 is set up, as well as some of the intent of Volume 1. Tarantino collaborator Robert Rodriguez performs his song that appeared at the end credits of Volume 2, and performs it during the Volume 2 premiere. The performance itself runs about 10 minutes. There is a 3 minute deleted scene where Bill and the Bride are attacked in a street, and it gives Carradine a chance to show off his skills Kane style, pretty neat.
Crappy transfer aside, with the video release of this film, and its subsequent re-release later this year, hopefully it can be revisited numerous times for enjoyment, as for my money this still stands as the best film of the year. Hopefully the extras will be substantial, as I’ll be more than happy to double dip on this one.
Special Features List
- Deleted scene: “Damoe”
- Behind-the-scenes featurette
- Film premiere footage including Chingon performance