ninth symphony films - movie reviews

KILL BILL VOL. 2 (2004)

DIRECTOR  -  quentin tarantino

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  chop socky

LENGTH  -  137 minutes

RELEASED  -  16 april 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  miramax pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  kill bill

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $32,500,000
kill bill vol. 2 - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from kill bill. vol 2 at

buy the dvd from kill bill vol. 2 at

the bride continues her vengeance quest against her ex-boss, bill, and his associates.

at the film's first test screening in austin, texas the audience gave the film a five minute standing ovation.


picture from kill bill vol. 2

picture from kill bill vol. 2

picture from kill bill vol. 2

picture from kill bill vol. 2


four out of four possible stars

It could be argued that fifty percent of the appeal of a Quentin Tarantino film is the way he employs music in each of his scenes, multiplying by a hundred the intensity of whatever's happening on screen with a few choice lyrics or beats of a song. And since he seems to have a secure handle on creating more than his share of memorable characters, the fact that his dialogue is usually equally as surprising virtually guarantees that viewing one of his films is an experience like no other. And in the twist of fate (known as Harvey Weinstein) that divided the "Kill Bill" saga into two parts, with Kill Bill Vol. 2 Tarantino has created a film as equally stunning as the first volume, yet entirely different in tone and execution.

Whereas One was seemingly a two hour homage to a dozen different Asian martial arts films, Two is influenced by that tradition, but is more dependent on the characters rather than the samurai sword wielding fight sequences and musically choreographed blocking. Jumping backward and forward in time in multiple scenes, Tarantino allows the story to unfold in a nearly linear manner, but gives the audience bits of story from the characters' pasts shot in vastly varying tones. From the Hong Kong "crazy-zoom" (popular in the 1970's) used for a segment concerning Thurman's early fight training with a martial arts master (named "Hattori Hanzo," played hilariously yet adeptly by Sonny Chiba) to a stark, black & white scene in a remote location near El Paso, Texas that details the massacre that nearly took The Bride's life.

The bulk of feature films currently in the marketplace are so depressingly mediocre that to see a film infused with as much originality and creativity as Kill Bill Vol. 2 is more than a breath of fresh air. It's like parachuting from a plane flying at thirty-thousand feet. It's a wild ride and it's not something you'll be likely to forget the moment you leave the theater, like most of the films littering the multiplexes currently.

The advertising and marketing of this film seems to have suggested that Volume 2 can be viewed with ease by audience members who haven't seen the first volume, and while that is true in most respects, seeing the first volume prior to screening the second is advisable. The two films are so different in tone that they might seem like completely separate entities, but the story really does pick up in the middle at the start of the second film. If you're to appreciate the characters and the reasons behind the things they do, you really have to see the whole enchilada.

While it might have seemed harsh of producer Weinstein to force Tarantino to chop the film in two halves, the end result might have been very different had story been released as one film. The film has been split into two with such elegance that one might suspect that Tarantino had two volumes in his sights at the onset of writing the script - or somewhere down the line before Weinstein's "ultimatum." Of course, beyond Tarantino's insight regarding character, story, ambience, and dialogue (his superior talents really do encompass the entire spectrum of filmmaking), his casting choices represent some of his best abilities.

Is there anyone else who could have portrayed "The Bride" better than Uma Thurman? Bravely allowing herself to be cast in a role form whom audience sympathy might waver at times, Thurman exudes that Tarantino brand of "cool" resulting from the highly specific rhythm with which Quentin writes his dialogue and the manacle hold with which he grips his story. David Carradine, playing Thurman's nemesis "Bill," easily rivals Thurman's performance for most entertaining, with the tenor of his voice and his cadence of delivery making his character gripping from his first scene. Daryl Hannah, in yet another eye-catching performance gives a performance makes an excellent case for making audience members believe she hasn't lost her dramatic edge. Michael Madsen also gives an understated yet intense performance as Bill's younger brother, making a good case for the idea that nobody can cast a film like Quentin Tarantino.

Viewers who have enjoyed Tarantino's movies of the past will see his brand of filmmaking printed all over this film and will recognize it as yet another unique addition to a style of filmmaking that is practically a genre in and of itself. Viewers might see a set of rather narcissistic characters in the cast of Vol. 2, but it's difficult to dismiss the film based on the fact that the people in it don't always seem innocent or completely likeable. The characters in this film might have little respect for human life, but that is usually the case in Tarantino's films and that's one of the things that will make you totter on the edge of your seat, squeezing the life out of your bucket of popcorn, barely catching your breath as you wait for what's going to happen next.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - 2005 - ninth symphony films - photographs miramax pictures 2004
home | archive | ratings | links | about | contact