Cover Art and Menu: 8/10
The cover is just as simple and bold as the first volume. It’s just right for this film so I have no complaints. It reminds me of a few Japanese DVD’s we have watched from the sixties and seventies. They have a similarly bright and colorful but basic design that draws attention to usually just the lead character and some kind of hint at what the movie is about. The Bride in her black leather garb holding her sword as if she were ready to battle it out with someone does the trick. I’m glad they followed the theme but didn’t mimic the exact colors and design of Volume 1. They are a nice set, but don’t need to be an exact pair to look good on our shelf.
Extras & Features: 7/10
- Deleted Scene – An abandoned fight scene between Bill and an old rival. It’s fully polished off and looks very nice, but I can see why they might have left it out of the final cut. It does give more away about who Bill is and just how powerful he is physically when a lot of the story is based on what kind of emotional hold he has over people.
- Behind The Scenes– This is like one of those TV specials that you do not want to watch before you see the movie. It shows the whole story and some key moments as Tarantino, Hannah, and Thurman discuss elements of making the movie. It’s pretty good, but as always I would like for it to be longer.
- Kill Bill Vol 2 Premiere – Chingon Performance – Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Desperado) wrote much of the music for Kill Bill Volume 2 and this is a performance of he and his band with Tarantino watching on. It’s similar to the brief video of The 5, 6, 7, 8’s that was on Volume 1 DVD.
The Movie: 9/10:
I’m sure you have read other reviews of this movie by now. Most reviews compare Volume 1 to Volume 2, how original. Some reviewers compare The Kill Bill two movie set to other Tarantino offerings, boring. There are those camps of folks out there who like to analyze these movies until they fall apart, unnecessary.
I think I’ll take a different approach. Let’s assume for a minute that I have a split personality. I have two distinct persons living in my head. (not surprising to most people who know me:) One is a film freak extremist who absorbs every frame, every line, every movie with great appreciation and passion. The other is the boring movie goer who mindlessly watches movies for pure entertainment value and doesn’t usually “get it” if the story is deeper than Dumb and Dumber. Let’s hear what they have to say about Kill Bill Volume 2. See if you can figure out which personality needs to pull out the old Hattori Hanzo sword and perform some much needed Tarantino style surgery and remove my excess emotional baggage.
Mystery personality One: Tarantino is a God. A woman bent on revenge for her wedding day massacre is pure story telling bliss. The bride is vicious, murderous, and intensely devoted to her cause of taking the lives of the five people who have wronged her. Tarantino takes us back to her beginnings with Bill, to learn just why she is both as deadly skillful as she is, and as emotionally connected to this group of assassins. So connected in fact they all have some kind of sympathetic understanding of why she’s hell bent on chopping them to bits, or whatever fate they finally enjoy. A movie with such a gutsy story and intoxicating physical confrontations takes you on a journey that goes beyond where our leading lady travels within her world. It makes you throw your shallow sensitivities away and let the gory, vengeful goodness wash over you.
We know why she’s out for revenge. We know who’s on the list. Now we get to see her either succeed or fail on her mission to kill Bill, the man behind the massacre that started it all. Ultimately that is what the story is about. There aren’t any smoke and mirrors here. This is a woman who has had her own share of a shady past, but in the time we have gotten to know her we sympathize with her cause and root for her to accomplish her goal. We are not drawn into any diversions or side stories that explain her personality or why these people are the way they are. We know they have a past together and because he orchestrated her death years before (but failed) Bill on the top of her hit list. Whatever she needs to do to see him draw his last breath is where this story will take us. There are no distractions. Every other person she exacts her revenge on is just one step closer to Bill. Every scene explains something that we need to know about Beatrix and/or Bill. This is what makes Kill Bill, and Tarantino for that matter, so brilliant. Straight forward human drama with amazing visual style, music, and an experience worth remembering.
Kill Bill Volume 2 serves us more up-close and personal battles between these violence prone characters. We get a showdown between Elle and Beatrix that rivals any one-on-one fight scene in movie history. I’ll leave you to watch that one for yourself to get the full effect. Words can’t describe it properly. Beatrix faces her own mortality a few times, of course, and it ain’t pretty. Tarantino doesn’t shy away from the grit, the dust, the dirt, the blood, and the sweat that these people must endure throughout their encounters with one another. This kind of detail combined with stunning close ups and a slower paced edit of conversations brings us to a more intimate level with these characters. You might even hate to see them go when it’s their turn.
Performances are of course top end from beginning to end. Thurman, Carradine, and Madsen are all fantastic. Even Daryl Hannah is exquisite as the villainous Elle Driver. As she reads from her little notebook of facts, her lines are delivered with the exact right amount of some hybrid smart ass sincerity to make her that much more interesting. I would have to say that they are all given such freedom to be creative and support by Tarantino on the set and during the process of making these movies that they respond with some of the best performances of their careers.
Music, as always, plays an integral part in the emotional tone of the movie. With Robert Rodriguez (yes Director of Dusk Til Dawn, Spy Kids, Desperado, etc.) at the helm of an original score the flavor of the music is spicy enough to keep that heart pounding intensity, but at times subtle enough not to overpower the real star of the story, the story.
I’m thrilled to be the half of this reviewer who sees Kill Bill Vols 1/2 as an exceptional film experience. It just wets the appetite for more Mr. T to come. (That’s T as in Tarantino in the nerdy ex-video store lackey, not Mr. T the big bad ass A Team dude with lots of gold around his neck and a Mohawk 🙂
Mystery personality Two: Tarantino is getting boring. What’s the difference between Vol 1 and 2? Not much. This woman is on a mission of revenge and she kills people along the way. There’s more blood in Vol 1, but there’s still a bunch of sword stuff and Kung Fu references that only people like Tarantino who obsess over those old Kung Fu movies understand. They could have cut both movies in half and stuck them together to make one movie and save us all a lot of time and money.
People think Tarantino is a movie making God because of films like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Pulp Fiction was interesting because of the thing with moving time around, or whatever. Reservoir Dogs got so much attention because of the ear scene. So, what’s the catch for Kill Bill? Uma Thurman maybe? Or the whole ‘make it into two movies’ hook could be it. There’s not much more that makes it stand out amongst all the other so-so movies that hit the ground running every year.
It’s so obvious that the psychological weight of a woman wronged by a group of people goes beyond the simplistic welding of a sword and hunting them down like prey. Her hurt and anguish is reflected in her own bouts with death and her constant internal struggle with her own past. Her pain and memories are suffocating, as is her experience being buried alive. However, she triumphs over that episode and moves on, bloodied and damaged, like a sword flung in the middle of battle. She is still strong and has the will to survive. Every step, every glance, every word has hidden meanings that make the story a little to complicated for most people.
I just like good movies that are fun to watch and Kill Bill Vol 2 is basically Vol 1 again but with different people getting killed. That’s kind of a waste of money if you ask me. I think we’ve all had enough of Tarantino’s dark brooding style. It’s time for him to make a movie that is more fun, more enjoyable and not so bleak and bloody.
Video & Audio By Ascully:
Fans of Tarantino’s epic Kill Bill series have been waiting for what seems like forever for an HD version of both movies. Disney has finally given us exactly that, a HD version of Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2, but not much more. The fabled “Whole Bloody Affair” version which combines a fully uncut Volume 1 (end fight scene in color) and Volume 2 stuck together is still not available anywhere in the world. Rumor has it that the Weinstein’s own that particular cut. Most fans are holding out for it despite the fact that it has never being announced officially.
So, how does Disney’s Blu-Ray release of Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2 hold up? They are excellent. The DVD’s from a few years ago were pretty poor with a bad case of edge enhancement and some muddy blacks. This isn’t the case with the HD version. It looks pristine as though the movie was filmed yesterday on the highest quality camera you can imagine. Audio is upgraded using a uncompressed PCM soundtrack that has to be heard to be believed.
Overall both volumes of Kill Bill on Blu-Ray disc are a sound investment, unless of course you are holding out for that fabled super duper version that, in my opinion, will never arrive.
This is a mega movie, there’s not doubt about it. I love it from start to finish. Just remember that no matter how great a movie is there is something to be said for pumping up the Blu-ray with enough good stuff to make it worth a purchase. Kill Bill Volume 2 alone is a fantastic reason to buy the disc, but COME ON PEOPLE, this is Tarantino we are talking about. Those of us who love and appreciate the man, the legend, deserve lots and lots of extras these days. This particular DVD doesn’t have much tagging along with it, but there will be a full on special edition DVD or Blu-Ray someday with Volumes 1 and 2 and hopefully that’s where they will redeem themselves for us true fans with a mountain of extras. I hope. For just around 15 or 16 bucks this is a good bargain if you can’t wait for the next version to surface. Or if you just want the movies without all the bells and whistles, these two basic discs are the way to go.
Overall Score 8/10