Kill Bill

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Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 film poster
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Produced by Lawrence Bender
Written by Character of
The Bride:

Uma Thurman
Screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino
Starring Uma Thurman
Lucy Liu
Daryl Hannah
Vivica A. Fox
Julie Dreyfus
Chiaki Kuriyama
David Carradine
Music by RZA
Cinematography Robert Richardson
Editing by Sally Menke
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) October 10, 2003
Running time 111 min.
Language English
Japanese
Cantonese
French
Budget $55 million USD(for both volumes)
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Kill Bill is the fourth film by writer-director Quentin Tarantino. Originally conceived as one film, it was released in two separate volumes (in Fall 2003 and Spring 2004) due to its running time of approximately four hours. The movie is an ambitious, epic-length revenge drama, with homages to earlier film genres, such as Hong Kong martial arts movies and Italian "Spaghetti Westerns"; an extensive use of popular music and pop culture references; and deliberately over-the-top bloodletting. Stars of the films include Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Julie Dreyfus, Michael Parks, Sonny Chiba, Gordon Liu and Samuel L. Jackson.

Contents

[edit] Plot

Describing the narrative flow of the movie is complicated; Kill Bill is divided into two volumes with five "chapters" each, and the chapters are not presented in chronological order (see the Structure section below). Unlike Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, which consists of three separate but interrelated stories, Kill Bill is one story, told with extensive use of non-linear and non-chronological story segments , as well as a few asides relating the backgrounds of secondary characters.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Kill Bill is the story of a professional assassin, initially identified only as "The Bride" who works for a man named Bill. Discovering she is pregnant with Bill's child, and despairing of the life the little girl will lead if raised by her father, she arranges her own disappearance. Bill hunts her down, and on the day before she is to be married to an El Paso record-store owner, he directs the massacre of the entire wedding party. After she is tortured by the five wedding-party assassins, Bill shoots The Bride in the head. Miraculously, she survives, emerging from a coma four years later, her memory of the incident intact. She travels to Okinawa where she persuades a famous sword maker to make her what turns out to be his finest sword. She then makes a numbered "death list" of the assassins, ending with the name "Bill."

The Bride slays the first two assassins in a straightforward, if spectacular, manner. The third, Bill's brother Budd, defeats her by relying on firepower rather than swordsmanship, and buries her alive in a Barstow cemetery. He in turn is killed by a black mamba planted by Elle, the fourth name on the death list. Calling on her martial arts training, The Bride escapes from the grave and once again travels to Budd's trailer, where she meets and defeats Elle, leaving her blinded in Budd's trailer along with the poisonous snake.

Only Bill's name remains on The Bride's list, but when she arrives at his hacienda she is shocked to discover that her daughter, whom she assumed had died in utero in the wedding massacre, was actually delivered while her mother was comatose, and is being raised by Bill. After a family evening together that is emotional yet tense, The Bride and Bill fight, and Bill is killed. She takes her daughter, and they begin their new life together.

Spoilers end here.

[edit] Structure

Kill Bill is divided into ten chapters, with five chapters per volume. As is common in Tarantino films, they are not arranged in chronological order.

Cinematic order:

  • Chapter One: (2)
  • Chapter Two: The blood-splattered BRIDE
  • Chapter Three: The Origin of O-Ren
  • Chapter Four: The MAN From OKINAWA
  • Chapter Five: Showdown at House of Blue Leaves
  • Chapter Six: Massacre at Two Pines
  • Chapter Seven: The lonely grave of Paula Schultz
  • Chapter Eight: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
  • Chapter Nine: ELLE and I
  • Last Chapter: Face to Face

Chronological order:

  • Chapter Three: The Origin of O-Ren
  • Chapter Eight: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
  • Chapter Six: Massacre at Two Pines
  • Chapter Two: The blood-splattered BRIDE
  • Chapter Four: The MAN From OKINAWA
  • Chapter Five: Showdown at House of Blue Leaves
  • Chapter One: (2)
  • Chapter Seven: The lonely grave of Paula Schultz
  • Chapter Nine: ELLE and I
  • Last Chapter: Face to Face

[edit] Volume 1 synopsis

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Note: In Volume One, the main character is referred to only as "The Bride." Her real name is edited out when spoken. Therefore, the character is referred to as "The Bride" in this volume's synopsis.

[edit] Prologue

The Bride (Thurman) is introduced to the audience in a blood-spattered wedding gown immediately after a violent showdown at a Texas wedding chapel. She attempts to tell her would-be killer, Bill, that she is pregnant with his baby, but he shoots her in the side of the head.

[edit] Chapter 1: "(2)"

Four years later, The Bride arrives at the house of Vernita Green (Fox), codenamed "Copperhead" and now calling herself Jeannie Bell, to exact revenge on one of the assassins who attacked her and her friends at the wedding chapel. Vernita and the Bride engage in a brutal fight that destroys much of the family room, but the fight comes to a halt when Vernita's four year old daughter, Nikkia (Nikki) Bell, arrives home from preschool. The kid arrives home to a living room full of broken glass. The Bride asks what her name is. Vernita says her name is Nikki, and the Bride introduces herself (her name is bleeped out) and goes on to ask Nikki her age. Nikki says she's four to which The Bride goes on to say that she had a daughter that would be about the same age had she been alive. Vernita orders Nikki to go to her room while she and The Bride go to the kitchen. She also offers her some coffee. Vernita supposes it's too late for an apology and The Bride agrees. The Bride does not want to slay Vernita in front of her daughter, but assures Vernita that this is no excuse to prance her around before her to avoid what is coming for her; she also reveals that she lost her own daughter during the wedding chapel attack. The pair make arrangements to meet under cover of darkness to finish their duel to the death, but Vernita attempts to kill the Bride by surprise with a gun concealed in a cereal box. The Bride kills her by throwing a knife hidden in her pocket and stabbing her in chest, belatedly realizing that Nikki witnessed the murder. It is the first time in her journey that she seems to feel at least some regret over a murder, since her killings are, in part, motivated by the death of her daughter. She tells Nikki that she's sorry for killing her mom but she had it coming for a long time; and if the young girl wishes to avenge Vernita's death when she grows up, she (the Bride) will be waiting. The Bride then enters a yellow pick up truck. As she enters, she checks off Vernita Green's name off her "Death Five List". Vernita was the second name on the list, following O-Ren Ishii (whose name has already been crossed off). As she pulls away, the lettering on the truck can be seen as "The Pussy Wagon".

[edit] Chapter 2: "The Blood-Spattered Bride"

A flashback after the massacre at the wedding chapel reveals more about the true extent of the massacre. A local lawman Sheriff Earl McGraw (Parks), discovers that the comatose Bride is the only survivor of the massacre carried out by a group of trained assassins after she reflexively spits blood in his eye. Elle Driver, a.k.a. California Mountain Snake, the member of the assassination squad that has replaced the Bride as Bill's lover, slips into the hospital ward by disguising herself as a nurse; she intends to finish the job by injecting poison into the Bride's IV, in what she considers a gesture of respect by allowing the Bride to die in her sleep. She is stopped at the last second by Bill, who believes the Bride deserves a more honorable death. Driver, who wears an eye patch in her right eye, has an extreme hatred for the Bride and states that for her own sake to never wake up. While in the hospital, The Bride's unconscious body is apparently raped first by an unscrupulous orderly named Buck, and then by men who pay Buck for the opportunity.

When the Bride wakes up from her coma four years later, she is intensely disoriented and filled with rage at the memory of the wedding massacre. She hears a trucker being led into the room by Buck and pretends to still be comatose, learning that Buck has been selling access to her body without hesitation, due to the fact that her reproductive system was so severely damaged that she is no longer capable of carrying a child. She severely injures (or possibly kills) the trucker who has come to rape her, and crushes Buck's skull; she assumes Buck is working for Bill. Four years of sleep has however ravaged her body; she is unable to use her lower limbs when she emerges from the coma and must use her upper body (which somehow has retained enough strength to wield her body weight and enable her to overpower two grown men). Wheeling herself out to the parking garage of the hospital, she steals Buck's truck, The Pussy Wagon, and hides in the back seat as she slowly works her limbs out of atrophy.

[edit] Chapter 3: "The Origin of O-Ren"

In the back of the truck, the Bride introduces us to one of the Deadly Vipers, O-Ren Ishii (Liu). As she narrates, the events are shown in anime form to the audience. She reveals that O-Ren rose to the top of the Japanese crime world through her signature calm, intense violence, motivated by the murder of her family at the hands of Boss Matsumoto and Pretty Riki (Who Carradine states in the DVD commentary is a younger Bill). The animated sequence begins with the killing of her family by the mobsters, followed by her vengeance when killing Matsumoto, who besides a mobster was also a pedophile (she stabbed him in the chest with a katana as they had sex, asking him if he remembered her when he killed her parents); then her career as a highly paid assassin. Though O-Ren was working with Bill when she played her part in the wedding-chapel massacre, she is currently presiding over the Yakuza in Tokyo, Japan. She controls her organization fiercely and kills with no reluctance if either her American or Chinese-Japanese heritage are put into question, as experienced by Boss Tanaka, who had his head chopped off for his insolence. Other than that, she welcomes any suggestions the council might have. The segment also introduces her personal bodyguard Go-Go Yubari (a 17 year old deranged assassin who is shown briefly killing a man who wanted to "penetrate" her after asking if she liked Ferrari's), her friend Sofie Fatale, and Johnny-Mo, leader of O-Ren's personal army, the Crazy 88.

[edit] Chapter 4: "The Man From Okinawa"

The Bride boards a plane to Okinawa to get a katana, which she will use to achieve her revenge on the assassins. She discovers Hattori Hanzo (Chiba), a renowned sword-smith, who has retired from the business of death to work as a sushi chef. They speak briefly; she says a few Japanese words that she can speak and she orders a saki, but when he tells his assistant to get the saki, he says he's busy watching his soap-opera and they go on a funny banter as to after 30 years working for Honzo he should get the saki himself. Honzo apologizes for the incident and asks why she has come to Okinawa. She answers to meet a man whom she never met. He then asks who this man is, and she answers Hattori Honzo. If at first The Bride approaches him as a tourist, once she mentions his name, he knows she didn't come to see him by coincidence, as she can speak Japanese flawlessly. He asks what does she want with Hattori Honzo and she says she has big vermin to kill. Honzo then takes her to a small attic where he keeps his katanas and says that he no longer makes instruments of death. The Bride however, orders him to give (not sell) one of his swords. He then asks her why he should help her, and she says it is because of one of his former students. He then lowers his head in shame and writes Bill's name on a fogged window, and suggests her to practice for a month, as that is how long it will take him to make the sword. Though Hanzo has taken an oath to never make another sword, the Bride is able to convince him of the merit of her mission, and he forges for her the best sword he has ever created. If she is ever to meet God, then He will be cut. Satisfied, she takes her katana and begins her search for O-Ren.

[edit] Chapter 5: "Showdown at House of Blue Leaves"

The Bride tracks O-ren down at a hangout called the "House of Blue Leaves", an izakaya owned by a man her gang refers to as Charlie Brown because of his bald head and outfit that resemble the character. He is ordered by his wife to comply with their wishes as they do not want the same thing that happened to Boss Tanaka to happen to them. A band (The 5,6,7,8's) is performing and everyone seems to be having a good time. The Bride is at the establishment wearing a yellow motorcycle jump suit (a homage to Bruce Lee movies) waiting for the best time to move. She takes Sofie Fatale, O-Ren’s best friend, lawyer and another former protege of Bill, hostage to lure O-Ren from her dinner, calling her out publicly in Japanese. Although she did not harm The Bride personally, Sofie was present at the massacre as she took a phone call casually while the killings occurred, therefore The Bride cuts Sofie's arm off, causing everyone at the club to panic. O-Ren dispatches a few of her bodyguards to deal with the Bride, who procedes to wage a veritable war on dozens of Yakuza Henchmen (the "Crazy 88.") and Go Go Yubari, O-Ren's personal bodyguard. The Bride pleads with Go Go to walk away, but she refuses. This scene, one of the bloodiest in cinematic history, reveals the true extent of The Bride's lust for vengeance. After killing Go Go, the Bride makes her way towards O-Ren when sudden footsteps are heard, revealing dozens more of the Crazy 88's. The Bride, although outnumbered, is unfazed by the odds; as she takes down every single one of the henchman with little difficulty, much less pity or mercy, including Johnny Mo. The only one left alive is a younger member of the mob who tries to put up a fight and whose sword is cut piece by piece by The Bride's katana. She then grabs him and slaps him with her sword on his behind telling him to go home to his mother and not hang out with Yakuzas.

The Bride at last has a chance to kill one of the people who destroyed her new life when she reaches O-Ren. After a dramatic swordfight, during which O-Ren's contempt for the Bride's skills rapidly changes from a mockery to a quiet respect, the Bride succeeds in scalping O-Ren with her Hanzo blade, killing her. She also yells at the surviving 88's that the limbs they left behind are now hers and dumps the dismembered Sophie Fatale at a hospital after extracting information the Bride will use to track down the other assassins, starting with Vernita Green. On her plane back from Japan, she begins to write her "Death Five List", starting with O-Ren, then Vernita, then Budd, finally Elle Driver and Bill.

In the last scene of this volume, Bill asks Sophie if The Bride knows that her daughter is alive, thus revealing the The Bride's child didn't die during the massacre at the chapel.

Spoilers end here.

[edit] Volume 2 synopsis



Kill Bill: Vol. 2

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Theatrical Poster
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Produced by Lawrence Bender
Written by Character of
The Bride:

Quentin Tarantino
Uma Thurman
Screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino
Starring Uma Thurman
David Carradine
Daryl Hannah
Michael Madsen
Michael Parks
Music by Robert Rodríguez
Cinematography Robert Richardson
Editing by Sally Menke
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) April 16, 2004
Running time 136 min.
Language English
Budget $55 million USD(for two volumes)
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Note: It is revealed in Volume 2 that The Bride's real name is Beatrix Kiddo. Therefore, "The Bride" is referred to as "Beatrix" in this Volume's synopsis.

[edit] Chapter Six: "Massacre at Two Pines"

Four years before the events that end Volume One, and a few minutes before the events that open the volume, The Bride and her friends are gathered for her wedding rehearsal. She discovers that Bill (Carradine) has tracked her down; the scene is given particular gravity because it is the first time the audience sees his face. She is nervous that he will react violently to the news that she is marrying someone else, but he is, for the moment, polite and mild-mannered, and he even consents to being introduced to the groom as Beatrix's father. Beatrix believes she has convinced Bill not to cause any trouble-- though she is aware that having him "give her away" at the wedding would be asking far too much of a scorned lover. She takes her place at the altar as the other four Deadly Vipers arrive at the chapel, weapons in tow, to kill everyone at the rehearsal.

[edit] Chapter Seven: "The Lonely Grave of Paula Schultz"

After Bill meets with Sofie Fatale at the end of Chapter Five, Bill ventures to the California desert to talk to his brother, Budd , aka "Sidewinder" (Madsen), another former Deadly Viper. Bill asks him to put aside their differences and warns him that The Bride (her name still bleeped out so far) will come for him next, since she had no difficulty taking out the 88 guys (as Budd puts it) to get to O-Ren with her Hanzo sword. Budd remembers that Hanzo had made the vow to never make another sword, but when Bill tells him that he made one for The Bride, he wonders if Bill just tends to bring revenge out from people. Budd, now overweight and alcoholic, has put his assassin days behind him and lives in a trailer in the middle of the desert. Budd informs Bill that he pawned his Hanzo sword, which upsets Bill, as it was priceless. Budd reflects that "that woman deserves her revenge...and we...deserve to die...but then again,...so does she." Budd now works as a bouncer at a local strip club and isn't respected (and certainly not feared) by his co-workers or his boss. He comes in late (again) and his boss, Larry, who has grown tired of his incompetence (and him not obeying his orders to not wear a cowboy hat at the club) is very angry (probably caused by him snorting cocaine a few minutes before Budd walked in the office). Budd explains that there isn't anyone at the bar, so he can't be much of a bouncer if there isn't anyone to bounce. That statement seems to irritate Larry even more as he asks Budd if he's trying to convice him that he's as useless as an asshole in his elbow. After acknowledging that he's finally convinced, Larry crosses his name off the work calendar for the remainder of the month, ordering Budd to go home and wait until he is called. Before he goes, Budd is told to unclog the toilet in the ladies bathroom; as if adding injury to insult.

As Bill had predicted, The Bride arrives at Budd's trailer to take his life. She waits under the trailer as he enters and looks behind him, then closing the door and putting a Johnny Cash record on. Budd shoots The Bride in the chest with rock salt the moment she opens his door and, for the first time in her quest for revenge, she fails. Budd kicks her sword away, and the Bride spits on him. He spits back then injects her with some sort of sleeping drug, making her unconscious. Budd then calls Elle Driver, who demands that The Bride "suffer to her last breath." He offers to sell her Beatrix's Hanzo sword for one million dollars. Elle agrees to meet him the next morning with cash. The Bride is thus saved from immediate death, but she is bound and buried alive by Budd (and a dwarf who says he's seen better pussy that her before) in the 'lonely grave of Paula Schultz.' Before nailing the box shut, Budd tells The Bride "this is for breaking my brother's heart."

[edit] Chapter Eight: "The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei"

The Bride and Pai Mei.
The Bride and Pai Mei.

As Beatrix lays in her grave, she remembers her early training in China. Her lover, leader, and would-be killer Bill took Beatrix to the temple of legendary martial arts master Pai Mei (an intentionally classic example of the elderly martial arts master stock character). He uses cruelty as a tool for discipline and obedience, as for he despises Caucasians, Japanese, Americans and women. However, he does take her under his wing. Her training was extremely rigorous, and she endured many hardships, but she becomes a formidable warrior under his tutelage.

Beatrix calls on this training to smash her way out of the coffin and claw her way up to freedom. Once she climbs out of the grave, she goes to a corner cafe and asks for water to a stunned waiter; as she literally just walked out of a grave from a cemetery.

[edit] Chapter Nine: "ELLE and I"

After escaping from a very unpleasant death, The Bride hikes back to Budd's isolated desert trailer in time to see Elle pulling up in her Trans Am and Budd standing in his doorway. While The Bride plans her next attack, Elle hands Budd a suitcase containing his money. Before he opens the case, he prepares some margaritas and Elle picks up the sword and says that being buried alive is a pretty bad way to die. He, however, knows that Driver had a more personal hatred towards the Bride and asks her if she felt regret for not killing The Bride herself or relief of not having to face her after all. Driver says she feels a bit of both. Budd knows that there has to be more that just that. She then says regret. He goes to open his case with the money, and sees the million dollars promised. The case, however, also contains a hidden black mamba, the deadly snake that gives rise to The Bride's codename. The snake bites Budd in the face. Elle lights up a cigarette and goes on to explain the instincts of a black mamba snake, stating that a bite to the face can kill someone within at most 20 minutes, and also answers his questions more throughly by saying that she felt more regret over relief because The Bride was killed by a miserable scrub like him when she deserved better. Budd finally dies preventing The Bride from exacting direct revenge on every assassin who wronged her. Elle calls Bill and says his brother is dead by a snake The Bride put in his trailer, but that she has killed her and whenever he feels like it, he can come to California and put some flowers in the grave of a Paula Schultz, as it is the final resting place of "Beatrix Kiddo". The scene then cuts to a kindengarten classroom as the teacher takes attendance and calls Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman as a full grown adult wearing pig-tails), who responds the call; therefore, revealing for the first time The Bride's real name. Elle prepares to leave; as she opens the door, Beatrix attacks her, kicking her back inside. The two fight ferociously in the enclosed space, with neither gaining a clear advantage until Elle manages to unsheathe Beatrix's Hanzo sword. Beatrix, however, discovers and uses Budd's Hanzo sword, which Budd had claimed to his brother that he had pawned for $250 in El Paso years ago. The sword has some engraving on it that reads: "To my brother Budd, the only man I ever loved; Bill"

The Bride vs. Elle.
The Bride vs. Elle.

As they fight, Elle reveals that it was Pai Mei who snatched out her right eye as punishment for her insolence when she called him a miserable old fool, and that Elle killed him for it when she poisoned his fish heads. Elle says that she will kill Beatrix with her own Honzo sword, which in the very near future will become hers. The Bride/Beatrix says with confidence: "Bitch, you don't have a future!" They prepare to fight and run into each other in the narrow hall in the trailer; holding each other with each other's sword. Just as her former master had done, Beatrix snatches out Elle's remaining eye and squishes it with her bare foot. Beatrix calmly collects her Hanzo sword and departs, leaving Elle blind, screaming in pain and alone (except for the still-hissing mamba) in the secluded trailer. Elle's fate is unknown (in the end credits, all Vipers names are crossed once on the screen, whereas Daryl Hannah's name has a question mark on it) as she was the only one of all the assassins who didn't die. However, due to the conditions she was left and since there was a black mamba (considered the deadliest snake in the world) still inside the trailer, it is highly unlikely she would survive for very long.

[edit] Last Chapter: "Face to Face"

Beatrix travels to Mexico to track down the final member of the assassins, and the only one she believes to be directly responsible for the death of her baby. To find Bill, Beatrix visits an old pimp named Esteban Vihaio (Parks), who raised Bill from childhood. He forthrightly tells her Bill's whereabouts, despite knowing her intentions, explaining to an incredulous Beatrix that Bill would have wanted him to.

The Bride vs. Bill.
The Bride vs. Bill.

When she finally finds Bill, she is shocked to find that Bill is not alone: B.B., their four-year-old daughter and the catalyst for Beatrix's bloody revenge, is alive and apparently expecting her mother's return. For the first time in her entire quest, Beatrix is overcome with emotion. The family spends the evening together peacefully, and B.B. falls asleep watching the chambara film Shogun Assassin in her mother's arms.

With B.B. safely in bed, Beatrix confronts Bill, who explains he has some unanswered questions for her. Bill immobilizes her and shoots her with a dart filled with self-made truth serum, which he calls 'The Undisputed Truth'. Beatrix is forced to reveal why she abandoned her life with Bill as an assassin; Bill and the audience finally learn that she decided upon becoming pregnant that she must put her unborn daughter's future above Bill. Bill deprecates her attempts to find a "normal" life, calling into question if she will truly save her daughter's future by taking her away from and killing Bill. For the first time, Beatrix and Bill's motives are clear, and it seems that the two had equal reason for their killings-- the loss that came with their assumed loss of a loved one.

Beatrix and B.B.
Beatrix and B.B.

The tension between their lingering feelings for one another and their desire to kill one another finally comes to a head when Bill draws his sword and attacks Beatrix. She disables Bill using the fatal Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique, taught to her without Bill's or the audience's knowledge by Pai Mei. Bill, defeated, says a tender goodbye, and walks unsteadily away, collapses, and dies in silence. Beatrix sheds a few tears at the death of her lover, and returns to the house to collect her daughter. The final scene shows Beatrix on the floor of a hotel bathroom, overcome with conflicting emotions, alternately laughing, crying, and repeatedly whispering, "Thank you." As the movie ends, the two ride off to start their new life together.

Spoilers end here.

[edit] The Bride and Superman

One of the most memorable dialogue found in Kill Bill is the comparison between The Bride and Superman. While the truth serum works its way through The Bride's bloodstream, Bill reveals that he is a major comic book fan, especially Superman. But unlike Batman or Spider-Man, Superman didn't become Superman, but was born and has always been Superman. He has to put on a costume to become Clark Kent to blend with the rest of humanity; and Clark Kent is an unsure of himself coward who is the complete opposite of Superman. Beatrix doesn't follow Bill's logic and asks if he is comparing her to a super-hero. He says he is really calling her a natural born killer; because she had always been Beatrix Kiddo, her true self, a killer for hire; whereas Arlene Plimpton (her fake name and identity), the happily married woman would be the disguise she would use to hide her true identity.

[edit] Budget and box office

The production budget for Kill Bill (volumes I and II combined) was US$60 million.[1][2] This does not include marketing and distribution costs.

Kill Bill: Volume I was released in the United States on October 10, 2003. Its US gross box office receipts were US$70,099,000; its box office receipts for the rest of the world came to US$110,850,000, for a total of US$180,949,000.[3]

Kill Bill: Volume II was released in the United States on April 16, 2004. Its US gross box office receipts were US$66,208,000; its box office receipts for the rest of the world came to US$85,951,000, for a total of US$152,159,000.[4]

[edit] Acclaim and criticism

Much-anticipated by fans and critics (it appeared after a six-year hiatus of Tarantino movies), Kill Bill generated a tremendous amount of discussion. Reaction by film critics was largely positive, though by no means unanimous. Both volumes did well at the box office.

[edit] A movie in two volumes

Though released as two movies, the film differs from multi-part "franchise" series like Star Wars. The short duration between the releases of the two volumes, the film's internal structure, and the history of its development all strongly imply that Kill Bill be regarded as one movie. The cast of Vol. 1 are even credited at the end of Vol. 2. The dual-release strategy, ostensibly due to the film’s length, has been criticized as an attempt by Miramax to sell two tickets to one movie.[5]

The two-volume format also amplified what some saw as a structural problem with the film: most of the action occurs in the first half, while most of the dialogue and plot are conveyed in the second. Thus, the two volumes are noticeably different in style and tone, leaving some viewers enamored of one volume but disappointed by the other. Of Volume 2, Sean O’Connell of Filmcritic.com writes, "The drop-off in energy, style, and coherence from...Volume 1 to its bloated, disinteresting counterpart is so drastic and extreme that you can hardly believe they come from the same director, let alone conclude the same storyline."[6] Other critics preferred Volume 2: "...Characters actually talk to one another here rather than the stilted samurai movie-speak of the first film," wrote Jeffery M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid.[7]

[edit] Violence

Much criticism concerned the amount and presentation of bloodshed and general mayhem, especially found in the first volume. One critic referred to the first volume as a “cocktail party in an abattoir”.[8] The violence is not just incidental to the film’s narrative; hyperbolic violence is a conscious part of the story's aesthetic.

[edit] Style and substance

Much of the controversy over the film reflects the differing expectations of those who admire a movie for its style and craftsmanship against those who look primarily at story and substance; as a tribute film and revenge saga, the movie is at a disadvantage with the latter group. “You never forget that Kill Bill is an exercise in genre-sampling,” writes the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Caro.[9] However, the opinion that the movie appeals mainly to film buffs looking to spot obscure pop culture references is a minority view.[10][11] Most critics found it well-constructed, with tightly-edited action scenes, strong performances, often-clever dialogue, and an effectively exciting soundtrack which draws on an astonishing selection of (mostly post-1960) music.[12]

[edit] Awards

Each film was nominated at the Golden Globe Awards. Uma Thurman received a Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama nomination in 2004 and 2005 for her work in both Volumes 1 and 2. David Carradine received a Best Supporting Actor nomination in 2005 for his work in Kill Bill: Volume Two.

[edit] Releases

[edit] DVD release

Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 DVD pack (French version).
Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 DVD pack (French version).
Kill Bill Vol 1 Special Edition (Japanese version).
Kill Bill Vol 1 Special Edition (Japanese version).

In the United States Kill Bill: Volume 1 was released as a DVD on April 13, 2004 while Volume 2 was released August 10, 2004. As of March 2007, only the basic DVDs have been released, with almost no special features. No further DVD releases have been announced.

In a December 2005 interview, Tarantino addressed the lack of a special edition DVD for Kill Bill by stating "I've been holding off because I've been working on it for so long that I just wanted a year off from Kill Bill and then I'll do the big supplementary DVD package."[13]

The United States does not have a DVD boxed set of Kill Bill, though box sets of the two separate volumes are available in other countries, such as France and Japan. Upon the DVD release of Volume 2 in the US, however, Best Buy did offer an exclusive boxset slipcase to house the two individual releases together.[13][13]

There has been a planned release of a Blu-Ray version of Kill Bill set for later in 2007.[citation needed]

[edit] Sequels

Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly in April 2004 that he is planning a sequel:

Oh yeah, initially I was thinking this would be my Dollars Trilogy. I was going to do a new one every ten years. But I need at least fifteen years before I do this again.

I've already got the whole mythology: Sofie Fatale will get all of Bill's money. She'll raise Nikki, who'll take on The Bride. Nikki deserves her revenge every bit as much as The Bride deserved hers. I might even shoot a couple of scenes for it now so I can get the actresses while they're this age.

[edit] Prequels

Quentin Tarantino said at the 2006 Comic Con that, after the completion of Grind House, he wants to make two anime Kill Bill films. One will be an origin story about Bill and his mentors, and the other will be an original tale starring The Bride. The latter is most likely to be a prequel, but could also follow the rumored (sequel) plot reported in Entertainment Weekly in April 2004.[14][15]

[edit] Influences

[edit] Music

As with Tarantino's previous films, Kill Bill features an eclectic soundtrack comprising many musical genres, ranging from Country music to quotations from the Spaghetti Western film scores of Ennio Morricone. Original music for volumes one and two was provided by RZA and Tarantino's friend and collaborator Robert Rodriguez respectively. Volume 1 prominently features a performance by The 5.6.7.8's.

[edit] Trivia

NECA action figure released 2004.
NECA action figure released 2004.
The Bride's boarding pass, showing her real name.
The Bride's boarding pass, showing her real name.
  • When Vernita Green shoots at the Bride, the gun is in a box of cereal named "Kaboom!" Tarantino is known for his love of discontinued cereal brands, as seen in his use of Fruit Brute cereal in previous films.
  • In the Showdown at House of Blue Leaves, before the fight scene when Beatrix Kiddo walks over a clear glass tiled floor, the phrase "FUCK U" forms the tread pattern on the soles of her sneakers.
  • The film also features an anime sequence explaining O-Ren's tragic backstory. It is directed by Kazuto Nakazawa, who also directed the Linkin Park video for "Breaking The Habit", with the animation studio Production I.G, producers of Ghost in the Shell and End of Evangelion among other works.
  • During Volume 1, The Bride's real name is bleeped out when characters say it. However, The Bride's real name is present on her boarding pass for her flights to Okinawa and Tokyo.
  • In the ending credits, Beatrix Kiddo is stated to have been "based on the character 'The Bride' by Q & U". Q & U represents the first initials of Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman, crediting their close collaboration on the character.
  • In Volume 1, before The Bride's real name is revealed, she and O-ren have a short conversation that hints at it. The words they exchange are "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids," a well-known phrase from the television commercials for an American breakfast cereal. "Kids" hints at "Kiddo" while "...bit, Trix..." hints at "Beatrix", hence the name "Beatrix Kiddo".
  • While the American cut of the movie shows the violent battle at the House of Blue Leaves in black-and-white, the Japanese cut shows it in color. The "Color Cut" of this film segment is highly sought after by fans, but has not been officially distributed outside Japan and Hong Kong.
  • The Crazy 88: in China, "88" is an auspicious number, much like 7 in the west. In Chinese the number 8 is pronounced "ba", 88 therefore in Chinese chatslang meaning "byebye". See 8 (number) for more on the luck factor associated with it. In Japan, it is most often associated with the 88-temple Shikoku pilgrimage.
  • In contrast to her murderous rampage in Volume 1, The Bride kills only one person in Volume 2, and not with her sword.
  • On September 15, 2006, the film made its United States commercial television debut on the TNT network. A TV-14 rating was achieved by deleting certain language and violence elements, including renaming the "Pussy Wagon" as the "Party Wagon" on the pickup's tailgate and even on Buck's keychain ("party" was also used to replace "fuck" in Buck's most memorable line). These edits required some computer-assisted trickery, both with the "party" changes and smoothing out lipsync to match the altered dialogue.
  • Just before their duel in Volume One, O-Ren tells The Bride, "I hope you've saved your energy. If you haven't, you might not last five minutes." In fact, the fight, from the time the two contenders' blades first touch as they approach each other, lasts exactly five minutes.
  • Gordon Liu, the actor who plays Johnny Mo and Pai Mei, fought the original Pei Mei in the 1980 martial arts film "Clan of the White Lotus".
  • In his trailer, Budd has the same gasoline used by Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs, both portrayed by Michael Madsen.

[edit] Cast

Actor Role Deadly Viper Assassination Squad name
Uma Thurman The Bride (Beatrix Kiddo, Arlene Machiavelli) Black Mamba
David Carradine Bill Snake Charmer
Vivica A. Fox Vernita Green (Jeanie Bell) Copperhead
Lucy Liu O-Ren Ishii Cottonmouth
Michael Madsen Budd Sidewinder
Daryl Hannah Elle Driver California Mountain Snake
Sonny Chiba Hattori Hanzō N/A
Chiaki Kuriyama Gogo Yubari
Julie Dreyfus Sofie Fatale
Samuel L. Jackson Rufus
Gordon Liu Pai Mei and Johnny Mo
Michael Parks Earl McGraw and Esteban Vihaio
Perla Haney-Jardine B.B. Kiddo
Helen Kim Karen Kim

[edit] References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ (2003), "Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Domestic Total Gross", Box Office Mojo, accessed 2006-09-13
  4. ^ (2004), "Kill Bill Vol. 2 - Domestic Total Gross", Box Office Mojo, Accessed Sep 13, 2006
  5. ^ O'Connell, Sean & Kipp, Jeremiah, (2003), "Kill Bill: Volume 1, A Film Review", Filmcritic.com, Accessed August 7, 2006
  6. ^ O'Connell, Sean & Kipp, Jeremiah, (2004), "Kill Bill: Volume 2, A Film Review", Filmcritic.com, Accessed August 7, 2006
  7. ^ [3]
  8. ^ Arendt, Paul, (2003), "Kill Bill Volume I Reviews", Rotten Tomatoes, Accessed August 7, 2006
  9. ^ Caro, Mark, (2003), "Movie review: 'Kill Bill, Vol. 1'", Chicago Tribune, Accessed Sep 13, 2006
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ [5]
  12. ^ [6]
  13. ^ a b c 1 ContactMusic.com Tarantino Brings Kill Bills Together ContactMusic.com, December 21, 2005, accessed August 7.006
  14. ^ Rodriguez and Tarantino Present Grindhouse!, Blake Wright on ComingSoon.net, July 22, 2006, accessed August 7, 2006
  15. ^ SDCC '06: Tarantino Confirms More Kill Bill!, Bloody-Disgusting.com, July 22, 2006, accessed August 7, 2006

[edit] External links

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