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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)


Don’t eff with a chick that dresses like Bruce Lee. Especially if shes waving around a sword.

The Bride (Uma Thurman) was once part of a group of world-class female assassins until her employer, Bill (David Carradine), and other members of the group turn against her and have her shot. Five years later, she awakens from her coma. She heads off around the world seeking revenge with plans to kill each person involved, saving Bill for the grand finale.

Take it from Quentin Tarantino to take what is essentially a simple, and pretty standard revenge story and give it the style that harks back to the good old days of 70’s kung-fu action movies, spiced up with many other random styles that Quentin just feels like throwing in there.

What I loved most about this flick was how the fighting, action, and blood were filled with so much energy and were better than half of the shit I’ve seen in the past 10 years, that I wanted more of it. Right from the beginning we get a nice little fight between The Bride and her second target on her list and it seems goofy because of all of the swooshing you hear when they move, but it’s so vicious and so brutal that it’s hard to laugh especially when these chicks are very close to just gutting the other person out. It’s a very minor scene but it’s one that starts the film off on the right foot and the action just keeps getting better by getting more vicious, more violent, and a hell of a lot more bloody. The blood is insane in this flick and it may be a bit ridiculous how Tarantino just makes every single kill have blood shoot out from these people, but it still gives this film this cool and deadly look that could only be achieved with an R-rating. Actually, it’s more of a very hard R-rating, one that only Tarantino can get because he’s the freakin’ man.

As we always get with Tarantino flicks, there are plenty of homages and influences seen here and they all work perfectly. The whole film is basically one big kung-fu movie that reminded me of the days when I would just sit home and watch all of these Bruce Lee flicks where he would be either taking on 50 dudes at once (no homo), or he would be getting kicked in the chest by one of Lew Alcindor’s big feet. I can definitely tell that Tarantino did the same thing when he was a little kiddy and his inspiration just runs throughout this whole flick with a giddy and original feel to it. However, it’s not just kung-fu movies that this flick seems to be harking back to, you get a bunch of blaxploitation homages, spaghetti western moments where the score is just over-powering, a random ass anime scene that may seem weird but is just as brutal as the rest of the flick, and even a little bit of nods to his own previous work such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. I don’t know how he does it but Tarantino is the master at taking everything he knows and loves about movies, and putting them all into one crazy and madly original flick.

There was only problem I had with this flick and it was one semi-cheap scene where we see Bill in the classic villain mold which is a bit unnecessary. I don’t really think I’m giving too much away talking about this scene but it shows one of Bill’s associates, Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), sneaking into The Bride’s hospital room about ready to poison her while she’s sleeping. However, at the last second Bill calls it all off, saying that she “deserves better than that”. I thought that this was kind of a cheat way just for the story to continue and to show the reason why The Bride continued to live on and basically cause havoc to everybody on the planet. Also, wouldn’t a real assassin know how ruthless she is? So why wouldn’t he just off her right then and there? Regardless though, it’s only one scene but it still was at least the only negative I could come up with.

Uma Thurman is the perfect choice as The Bride because she just fits that deadly and sexy look so well. Uma is tall, sexy, blond, sweet, great to look at, but she can also be very scary and look like she’ll be hugging you one second like a sweetheart and then chopping your head off the next like the vicious killer she actually is. It also helps that her story is very easy to get behind because the chick was practically left for dead by all of these people and who wouldn’t want to get some good old revenge? Tarantino knows how to make great characters for leading ladies and it’s definitely one of the rare occasions where I actually found myself scared of a female character in quite some time.

The film really only focuses on two villains here (Vivica A. Fox and Lucy Liu) and they are both very good at playing these evil roles, especially Liu who I think had her best performance ever in this flick. She plays O-Ren Ishii and is one of those samurai sword waving villains that you always see in the kung-fu movies and seem cheesy as hell but never do you take them as seriously as you take this chick. Liu plays this character very well because she’s very quiet a lot of the times and more or less let’s her killing do the speaking for her. It’s a shame that Liu hasn’t really gotten the right roles after this but I guess that’s what usually happens to you when your biggest blockbuster hit was Charlie’s Angels.

Consensus: Kill Bill: Volume 1 shows Tarantino in top-form with a style that is bloody, violent, vicious, and shows every single one of his influences in a way that not only shows what he loves but also creates a wholly original flick on its own. Definitely can’t wait to see Volume 2.

9/10=Full Price!!

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16 responses to “Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

  1. mettemk May 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

    What a coincidence! – I just watched this film the day before yesterday, and posted my review yesterday.
    I agree with you completely – even about the one scene you found negative, I too wondered why they did it that way. I mean, why did Bill send Elle if he didn’t want her to kill The Bride?
    But otherwise I absolutely love this movie already, and like you I can’t wait to see Vol. 2.

  2. Dave Enkosky May 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    This movie was such a blast to see in the theater when it came out.

  3. Tommy D May 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    This is another classic Tarantino style-over-substance film. I’ll admit that when I first saw it years ago, I wasn’t a huge fan. Then I became more well-rounded in the films I saw and the aspects I appreciated, and I liked this movie a lot more the second time. Nice review, Dan.

  4. Alex Withrow May 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Excellent review, I too love this flick. QT, man… that guy’s just got it. On another note, I come to this site multiple times a week, just waiting for a 10/10 review. Wonder when it will be?!

  5. Jaina May 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I really need to watch this again soon – your review has reminded me how much I loved it.

  6. Chip May 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Good review. I liked this film quite a bit. I agree on Lucy Liu.

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