Kill Bill: volume II * * * *

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Director: Quentin Tarantino.
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino.
Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Gordon Liu, Michael Parks, Sid Haig, Larry Bishop, Bo Svenson, Samuel L. Jackson.

By releasing his film in two parts, Quentin Tarantino caused a bit of a stir. Questions were asked; Was it a producers money making scheme? Was it his inflated ego? But most importantly, Was it even going to work? The answer to all of the above is… Yes. And once again, the film geek had silenced the naysayers with a second part that’s as good as, if not better than the first.

Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) and O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) are out for the count but for the Bride (Thurman), there’s still unfinished business and three to go – the brooding brother Budd (Michael Madsen), the murderous one-eye Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), and of course, the top banana himself, Bill (David Carradine).

After the success of the first, it can be tricky to maintain the same level of quality. Wisely though, Tarantino changes the whole tone and mood this time. He doesn’t try to emulate the first. If anything he delivers the opposite. Where Volume 1 explored an eastern theme, Volume 2 is very much the western. It’s a clever structural device from Tarantino and my being a big spaghetti western fan this second installment just about shades it for me.
If the first one was his channeling of Akira Kurasawa and John Woo, this is his John Ford and Sergio Leone. This time around the characters are more fleshed out. We are given tons of backstory and the reasons for all the carnage we have witnessed. This is when it all comes together. The big reveal. What this lacks though, is some of the visual splendor from Vol. 1. There’s no scene that can quite match the climactic “The House Of The Blue Leaves” confrontation. What we get to make up for it, is an excellent modern spaghetti western complete with Ennio Morricone style music and a female frenzied fight between The Bride and Elle as well as the conscience ridden, snarling brother Budd and finally, the elusive Bill.

A third installment is now being discussed but if it doesn’t transpire (and maybe it shouldn’t) this is a fitting end to a marvellous double-feature from the imaginative mind of Tarantino.

Any film that has a martial arts move called ‘the five-point palm exploding heart technique’ is okay in my book.

Mark Walker

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