"Kill Bill: Vol. 1" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Quentin Tarantino has proven three times already that he is an excellent filmmaker. He knows exactly what he is doing in terms of story, directing, screenwriting, and crafting these pictures he directs into his own image. In his fourth studio film, "Kill Bill: Vol. 1", this is probably Tarantino having the most fun making a movie, which showcases his love for the Samurai genre that was made famous in Japan. He delivers a top-notch Samurai film that will have the viewers on the edge of their seat and loving every second of what they witness on the screen.
The movie opens on a Black & White shot of a young Bride (Uma Thurman) covered in blood. We then see a man's hand wipe the blood off of her face, before blowing her brains out. Fast forward four years later, and we find out that she survived, but her fiancé and unborn child didn't. It is revealed that she was part of a gang of hitmen ran by a man named Bill (David Carradine), who is responsible for the wedding massacre years earlier. Because of that, The Bride (whose name is never revealed in the film), escapes the hospital, and is going to hunt down the members of the Deadly Sniper Assassination Squad.
The first member she hunts down is in Tokyo, who goes by the name of O'Ren-Ishii (Lucy Liu). She is the leader of a crime syndicate, including hitmen known as the Crazy 88. This proves no simple task for The Bride, as she must take down all of these henchmen before getting a shot at O'Ren-Ishii. What ensues for the next two hours is a massive blood bath that is fueled by both hatred and revenge.
Tarantino said this movie came to him after him and Thurman really hit it off on the set of his second film, "Pulp Fiction". He said they both love classic samurai films, and would compare their favorites throughout the filming. Because of that, he wrote this film with Thurman in the role of the main character, and I think this role suits her perfectly. It capitalizes on every single one of her strengths, and she is just shown as being a badass female warrior.
She has this charm that is very flattering and sexy, in a way, but can also show off how badass she is. She is probably one of the most famous female warriors in film, and the things she goes through and has to deal with just shows how powerful and strong she is. It is honestly refreshing to see this in a heavily male-dominated genre, and it opened the door for many films to start including powerful and strong female protagonists.
The story moves at a very nice pace, and takes inspiration from his previous work on "Pulp Fiction" to make the story non-linear. There are many times where the story jumps around throughout the runtime, and shows events that happen after the core plot line for this film. How Tarantino does it, however, is flawless and he really does pull it off very well. He also devotes a huge time frame for the fight sequences in the film, especially the climatic fight between The Bride and the Crazy 88. How he directs these scenes is so wonderful and overtly violent that it really works in this film's climate.
From the graphic dismemberment of body parts and the infamous spraying blood, this is definitely Tarantino at his most graphic and wild in terms of violence in his films. He had to turn part of the Crazy 88 segment into Black & White due to the MPAA giving this film a NC-17 rating due to the gore and violence. However, I like to see it as more of an artistic choice, in that it reflects back on the old genre with films like "Seven Samurai". No matter how you choose to see it, there is no doubt that it is very beautifully shot.
The movie concludes on a major cliff hanger, with Part 2 coming out the year after. Tarantino intends for both parts to be treated as one film, but I think this part is much different and stronger than the part that follows it. While commentary on Part 2 will be reserved for my review on that film, this film just does everything right to honor the classic genre and to make a compelling and fun film that fans of this genre, as well as fans of Tarantino, will all love and enjoy.