out of 4
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Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
Quentin Tarantino is a stylish celluloid craftsman. Telling a visual
story isn't as important to him as toying with garish cinematic images, and
he's besotted with the pain and perversity of violence. That's why this pulpy,
self-indulgent film so closely resembles an intense video game.
Uma Thurman stars as The pregnant Bride, who is betrayed on her wedding
day by the titular Bill (heard-but-barely-seen David Carradine) who kills
everyone at the nuptials. Left for dead, miraculously, she recovers and vows
revenge against Bill and his Assassination Squad. Not to be confused with
"Charlie's Angels," they're Bill's butt-kickers. First, she slaughters the
Viper (Viveca A. Fox), who has become a Pasadena housewife with a four year-old
daughter. Then it's off to Tokyo to slice-and-dice O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), the
white-robed yakuza gang leader, in a moonlit, snow-drenched Japanese garden.
And the hitwoman has more names on her list.
Obviously influenced by Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, Tarantino has
fashioned a vengeance-propelled, chop-socky eastern filled with pop culture
references lifted from Japanese, Italian and Hong-Kong B-films as well as
American TV. Originally shot as one movie, it's been divided in half with a
cliffhanger, and Vol. 2 is scheduled for a February release. This serial
concept is not without precedent. In the early 1970s, Richard Lester's "The
Three Musketeers" was bifurcated, as opposed to the back-to-back shooting of
"Lord of the Rings" and "Matrix."
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" is an
action-packed, excessive 8, but don't buy a ticket unless you're ready to be
drenched in a bloodbath. It's recommended for fighting enthusiasts and die-hard
film-buffs who will appreciate the audacious allusions.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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