|Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003) USA|
Tragedy strikes the Bride (Uma Thurman) on her wedding day: The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS) attacks and slaughters the guests, the groom, and wounds the very pregnant Bride herself. Her former boss/lover Bill (David Carradine) finishes the bloodbath by shooting the Bride in the head. But despite his efforts, she isn't dead.
A few years later, the Bride wakes to find that she has been in a coma for a few years, and has been being used as a sex toy for rent. After recovering enough to move, the Bride gets a sword sharp enough to "cut God," and goes on a revenge spree against the people who wrecked her life and killed her baby, including Cottonmouth (Vivica A. Fox) and the deadly O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu).
Don't expect cinematic art in "Kill Bill Volume 1." If anything, this is cinematic pop art, a loving tribute to cheesy martial-arts flicks and westerns. Tarantino even inserts a stretch of anime detailing O-Ren's background. It's pure Tarantino, untainted by typical directing methods and immensely entertaining if you switch off your critical faculties, refrain from asking "How the heck could that happen?"
"Kill Bill" isn't for the weak of stomach; over 450 gallons of fake blood are used in both movies. But the blood usage is more "Monty Python" than "Braveheart"; it's so over-the-top that it's silly and sick rather than disturbing. So is the violence -- hacking dozens of people down without getting so much as a scrape is impossible, but it's sure fun to watch.
Tarantino throws out more one-liners than just about any other filmmaker around. The absurd "Trix is for kids" line aside, there are a number of great lines like "Those of you lucky enough to have your lives take them with you. However, leave the limbs you've lost. They belong to me now." The script teems with impossibilities, but they seem plausible enough in this alternate reality that Tarantino has cooked up. Call it Tarantinoland.
Uma Thurman, with her yellow tracksuit and katana, rules the screen as the Bride. Despite the Bride cutting down people by the dozen, it's impossible not to appreciate her. And the best supporting performances come from Liu as the ruthless O-Ren, Carradine in a brief but intense appearance, and the wonderful, underrated Chiaki Kuriyama as evil schoolgirl Go-Go Yubari.
It's silly, it's creepy, it's gaudy, and somehow it's vastly entertaining. Tarantino's special triumph in "Kill Bill Volume 1" is to somehow rope his vast store of movie homages into a gory, action-packed storyline, and one that is, at the very least, hard to forget.