Here is an another She said-He said format about Quentin Tarantino’s Kill films (2003). Here is the Bonnie’s “review” of Kill Bill 1.
Okay, first the disclaimer: me reviewing Kill Bill is sort of like JPFmovies reviewing Mary Poppins. This is not my kind of movie. It’s too much of a bloodbath (did I say one bloodbath? better make that plural) and even director Quentin Tarantino admits that the movie has NO moral.
On the other hand, as JPFmovies keeps pointing out, this film does belong in the genre of “girl power.” Well, that’s nice.
Here are all the things I hate about Kill Bill:
- the violence
- David Carradine playing a jerk, instead of someone who has learned something from the meditative side of his art (as he did in the original Kung Fu series)
- The portrayal of martial arts as being all about violence (okay, plus determination, but I’m still not seeing any ethics or values here)
- Um, did I mention how much violence there is in this movie? Kill Bill is so violent that the word “violent” is really sort of tame to describe it. NOT ONLY THAT, but the violence in Kill Bill is almost all the fake cartoon “let’s scatter blood all over the place and call it art” violence that I’ve come to expect from Quentin Tarantino. Even the anime violence in this film (and JPFmovies, if you want to use the anime scene or any other horrific violence, you can find that clip yourself, thank you!) is way way way too much for me.
And yet I do appreciate Kill Bill v 1 for some of what it does:
- Uma Thurman’s portrayal of one woman’s ability to use sheer grit and determination to pull herself out of a coma and to keep going no matter how badly the odds are stacked against her
- The Hittori Hanzo scene with Sonny Chiba (might as well just include that as a clip – see below)
- The scene with Lucy Liu, for several reasons. First, as I mentioned in the Hero review, I like the cinematography of this scene. The snow, the blue light, the starting/stopping of the sound track to match the action, the wood fountain piece that keeps filling up and emptying itself out prosaically as if there were no swordfight going on right next to it. Second, I like the moment when Uma has been injured and says to Lucy Liu, “Come at me with everything you’ve got.” Why? At that moment, it’s not her grit and determination I admire. It’s her character’s ability to see her one chance and simply go for it. Because the fact is that her one chance to get out of that swordfight alive is precisely for her opponent to come at her with everything she’s got. Uma (I refuse to call her character The Bride just because she begins the movie in a wedding dress) at that point is supposed to be exhausted from the fight with Liu’s Crazy 88 bodyguards, and she’s just been injured. Does she have the energy to even bridge the gap to reach Liu and attack her? No. So she marshals the energy she does have, instructs Liu to do the work of bridging the gap, and watches for the opening that must be there if she can spot it fast enough to use her last reservoir of strength to exploit it. There’s something about that moment. It’s that “all you have to do is do this right just this one time, and by the way, this one chance is all you get” feeling. Doesn’t that give you chills? Am I the only one who finds that not only is this scene, in its cinematography, reminiscent of many of the scenes of Hero, but it also exactly parallels Miyamoto Musashi’s response to his injury in his fight with Inshon in the Japanese television series recreation of Musashi’s life.
- Finally, I respect Tarantino’s desire to pay homage to the Hong Kong action films that shaped him as a filmmaker. I just wish he could have found a less bloody way to do so. After all, they did.
There’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 for you, JPFmovies – I dare you to review Kill Bill Vol. 2 and find a bit more redemption of Tarantino in it for me. Uma doesn’t need to redeem herself – training for and filming a martial arts movie three months after having a baby, while still nursing and trying to lose her pregnancy weight, is enough to leave me in awe of her for all time. Tarantino, on the other hand, still has some explaining to do!!