August 7th, 2012

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Tarantino/Rodriguez: Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2

I usually consider the two volumes to be one really long movie. But since I'm hoping to squish 'em both in today, I might as well try and separate out their write ups. Shouldn't be a surprise that this made my top 100. I am an action junkie afterall, and this has some of the best ever put together action sequences. It set a pretty \m/ high bar.

The last time I saw both together, was for my annual Singles Awareness Day Blood and Booze, when I watch violent movies and get drunk. My drinking game was "every time they say Bill's name". You know, for a guy whose name is in the title, except for a couple key scenes they don't address or refer to him by name very often. Maybe I should have drunk for body count instead.

Kill Bill Vol 1
You know how every year there's the one movie that you know that EVERYBODY saw? The one you can just bring up in conversation with a group, and next thing you know an hour's gone by and everyone's been fully engaged because they all saw it? The Dark Knight, Avatar, LOTR, all recent examples. In the fall of 2004, it was Kill Bill. Or at least that was true for most circles I ran in. You couldnt go two days wandering the halls of MIT without hearing someone whistle Elle-style.

I first heard about it from some hallmates, the same ones who I followed to Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I'm fairly sure there was a Kill Bill trailer before the movie, so that could have been partly to blame. This was still before I was really following current cinema, but I remember a friend enthusiastically exclaiming his excitement, anticipating the stylistic violence that this flick is so well known for today. I could not wait.

And of course, the movie did not disappoint. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. Such intense and crisp fight scenes. Such creativity between all the different styles. This is the movie that introduced me to Quentin Tarantino and sparked an obsession. Although I do hafta admit that I had a misconception of what his films were. At the time, I loved him for the blood and the action and the ruthlessness and the blood. Had I better understood that its the dark pulp that is his signature, not the flashy sequences, I don't know that I would have been so quick to put this man on such a high pedestal. Don't get me wrong, now that I know his work so intimately, I do think this man is deserving of those idolatrous tendancies. It's just for reasons other than what I initially thought.

Kill Bill Vol 2
I will admit to having some slight disappointment when first seeing this. I expected it to be bigger, badder, and more explosive than the first. Without the proper Tarantino context, what you get could be a bit of a let down. However, knowing his ouvre the way I do now, Vol 2 is a return to form. The flash of the first flick is a fantastic branching out. The second is more of that gritty pulpy goodness that he does best.

What I also couldn't have picked up on at the time is that it is a tribute to a certain brand of samurai films. Every homage felt strange to a movie n00b, and while I may not understand the specifics behind each reference, I absolutely respect Tarantino's film knowledge.

We picked up on a lot of secrets and questions in the first film, and all of them were addressed here. But those couple months waiting for those answers were brutal. What was The Bride's name? What happened to her baby? Who really is Bill? What will the fight scenes with the other Dead Vipers look like? Is there enough corn syrup and red food coloring in the world to make this movie?