My thoughts on Kill Bill are this: it should have been one movie. One very long movie, but one movie nonetheless and that Volume 1 makes Volume 2 pale in comparison.
I don’t know if Tarantino can ever top that House of Blue Leaves scene. It has so much good in it and so much going on that everything after it looks not as good as it is. (Poor Volume 2, although I will say that the Bill monologue at the end is some fantastic stuff.)
I’ve only taken screencaps from Volume 1 (you don’t want to see how the caps from Volume 2 turned out; it was bad, bad, bad) but Tarantino took an age-old theme of vengeance upon those who have wronged a person. He twisted it into something original with heavy doses of nostalgia and the usual tips of the hat to his favorite flicks.
Kill Bill is really Tarantino’s love letter of sorts to kung fu and samurai cinema with a dash of spaghetti westerns thrown in.
I would say that Kill Bill is actually my favorite of all Tarantino flicks, something I know that borders on heresy in some quarters, but it’s the perfect blend of homage and originality. The Bride might be up there with Ellen Ripley in terms of my favorite female action characters ever.
It’s a colorful and stylized two volume set that runs at a smooth pace. Oddly enough, it is the House of Blue Leaves scene that ends Volume 1 that, as I said before, does Volume 2 some heavy injustice. The Bride’s final interaction and showdown with Bill, muted and as somewhat anticlimactic as it is, is pitch perfect.
The usual Tarantino fare is there, from the close ups to the crazy foot fetishism, but he upped his game with Kill Bill. Everything is bigger, brighter and bloodier. The soundtrack, a medium in which Tarantino had demonstrated remarkable adeptness at picking out catchy forgotten gems to paste into his movies, was even better than his previous three film efforts. If you saw Volume 1, you can at least pick out the strains of Twisted Nerve (the song Elle Driver whistles in the hospital) and place it in reference to the movie.
Unlike, perhaps, Inglourious Basterds, Kill Bill offers no apologies or questions for the long trail of severed limbs and hacked up bodies left in the Bride’s wake; it’s a mission justified for which the reward is offered up in the last scene of Volume 2.
There is nothing to question about it; it is the story of one woman who sets out to punish those who wronged her in an uber-violent fashion. And when she’s done … she’s done. But along the way, Tarantino makes everything interesting and captivating even at its most brutal.
Given everything that’s effectively smashed into the movie, all the pop culture references, nods to various styles of cinema, musical cues and plain Tarantino oddities, it’s funny that Kill Bill works as well as it does, but it works very well.