Matt The Snapper’s review published on Letterboxd:
Tarantino Rewatch #4A:
Kill Bill is one movie. Though I will not be cataloging it as “The Whole Bloody Affair” because that’s not how it was released.
During Pulp Fiction, Tarantino and Uma Thurman planned a story about a bride getting revenge on some assassins for attempting to kill her. This would later become easily Tarantino’s most ambitious film he has ever made, being essentially a four-hour epic revenge story. Though there were many bumps in the road such as Miramax forcing Tarantino to cut the film in two parts (even though Lord of the Rings proved people can watch more than three hour films), a car accident involving Thurman that caused Tarantino and her to have a falling out for years (though the two have rekindled) and of course Harvey Weinstein being the monster he is.
With all that said while not as strong as Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown, Kill Bill just allows Tarantino to just make a full blown action movie. Brightly colored, over the top bloodbaths, great acting (particularly in Vol. 2) and of course Uma Thurman just being a plain badass which is always fun to watch. The story of course is pretty simple. The Bride gets revenge on the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad lead by Bill for ruining her wedding, killing her fiancé and her unborn baby, as well as putting her in a four year coma. But much like many iconic action films, where it lacks in plot is redeemed in action and character.
If we are going to look at this as two separates films, I would say Vol. 1 is not only the first half of the overall film, but pretty much action-focused. Volume 1 focuses on The Bride waking up from her coma, killing the first two of five people on her list. First is O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth) played by Lucy Liu who is just having a ton of fun playing an over the top crime boss that also has a fantastic origin portrayed in an anime scene done by Production IG. Basically that is the big highlight of the first part just seeing The Bride partake in martial arts battle with swords and blood. The second is Vernita Green (Copperhead) played by Vivica A. Fox who in the film non linear narrative is shown first. It’s this scene that I think is the best because it shows how bitter and jaded the Bride is as even though Green has regretted what she has done and has moved on with a family on her own, the Bride doesn’t care as she kills her anyways. It’s then followed by Green’s daughter witnessing the murder and the Bride acknowledging this will probably lead to her getting revenge in the near future.
My only major issue with the film is that since Vol. 1 is so action-focused there does seem to be a lack of emotional stakes aside from the Green scene that I mentioned before. Plus, I found some of Tarantino’s trademark dialogue to be severely lacking in this part but that’s just me. So as it’s own, Kill Bill Volume 1 is a very action focused wonder to behold but does lack in some departments. This review however, is not done as it will be continued in Volume 2. Stay tuned.
Also, love that man who dresses up as Charlie Brown.