Stunningly choreographed fight scenes, impeccably selected music, beautiful cinematography and everything that could ever be referred to as “Tarantinoesque” form the meat of Tarantino's newest, Kill Bill Volume 1 . It's an epic, explosive, audacious, horrifically gory revenge-driven action film guaranteed to make viewers squeal ooh and ahh while wetting their seats, and then leave the theatre shouting death threats at Miramax for making them wait for part two.
Uma Thurman (known only as The Bride or by her codename Black Mamba) is about to get married in a hokey little chapel when her boss, aided by a team of assasins, kills everyone in the wedding party and leaves the poor pregnant bride for dead. Awakening from a coma four years later, Uma sets out to negate anyone and everyone who had a hand in doin' her wrong. On her death list are all of the members of the assassin outfit she used to run with, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and its leader, the unseen and infamous Bill, voiced by David Carradine. By the end of the movie, she's about halfway done, having vanquished Copperhead (Vivica A. Fox) and O-ren Ishii (Lucy Liu). The Copperhead sequence is one of the most brilliantly edited and seamless in the entire film, though the fight between Uma and O-ren's army of black-clad swordsmen-and-women in the House of Blue Leaves sequence might well top it on merit of sheer magnitude alone. Also watch for Chiaki Kuriyama's scene-stealing minor character Go-Go Yubari (Chiaki_Kuriyama)
Yes, Kill Bill Vol. 1 is being touted as the goriest mainstream film ever, but the majority of violence is stylized to the point of comic book fare. Even with all of the severed body parts flying around, I found a scene where something stabs through someone's foot to be the most disturbing.
Is Mr. Tarantino being terribly self-indulgent, drawing inspiration from awful kung-fu movies and spaghetti westerns that no intelligent movie-goer would categorize as “good”? Yes. Is Kill Bill Vol. 1 really just a vehicle for Tarantino's self-indulgence? Yes. Does this fact make it anything other than pure cinematic genius? Absolutely not. While admittedly not as character-driven as Jackie Brown and unfortunately not endowed with the acerbic wit Pulp Fiction offered, Kill Bill Vol. 1 manages to uphold its position as an excellent film purely on merit of style alone, and leaves us shivering in anticipation of the second half.
Five out of five stars
Reviewed by Emily Eaton