Apr 212004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

“Kill Bill Vol. 2”

When we last saw The Bride (Uma Thurman), she had managed to

cross off two of the names on her “to kill” list of baddies who had

done her wrong and was on her way to knock off the remaining three:

Bud, Elle, and, of course, Bill.

Though “Vol. 2” begins where its predecessor left off, it may

take some getting used to. The two films are so incredibly

different. I have a tough time believing the claim that they

started out as one movie.

“Vol. 1” was a frenetically-paced action extravaganza packed

with geysers of blood and little plot, while “Vol. 2” is a much

more deliberate, character-driven, introspective film that focuses

more on story than stabbings.

I can’t decide which volume I like better, but I love the

masterpiece they create together. Director Quentin Tarantino’s

signature dialogue, though absent in “Vol. 1,” makes a thankful

return in “Vol. 2.”

Albeit some of the witty monologues are a little long-winded,

most are pure Tarantino brilliance whether it is the analogy of a

dying pet fish, an analytical rant on superheroes, or a hilariously

malicious rundown about a poisonous snake.

Although the dialogue is much heavier in the second chapter, the

action is still rather amazing. Only one fight scene rivals those

from “Vol. 1,” but in my opinion, tops them. That would be the

trailer trash duel between The Bride and Elle Driver (Daryl

Hannah). It has such an electrifying, knock-down-drag-out ferocity

and is easily one of the greatest fight scenes ever put on

film.

Some grueling training sequences and a horrifying live burial

scene also help to give visually entertaining reprieve from all the

talking. The action is still quite graphic, but it doesn’t stray

into excess like in “Vol. 1.” “Vol. 2” is more about the blood

coursing through the character’s veins and less about watching it

spurt out of them.

A few scenes seemed destined for the cutting room floor, but the

characters that inhabit “Kill Bill” are so fun and interesting that

they’re never too boring to watch. I still would have liked to have

gotten to know the Elle Driver character a little better, but

overall, “Vol. 2” does a much more thorough job of fleshing out The

Bride’s nemeses than “Vol. 1” did.

Never before has a film character endured as much mental,

emotional or physical anguish as The Bride and Uma Thurman does

masterful work with the role. Keith Carradine is a commanding

screen presence as Bill and the remainder of the cast have likewise

never been better.

“Vol. 2” has a very un-Tarantinoesque stream of sweetness

running through it, most notably in its final act, that may

surprise and delight those who thought “Vol. 1” heartless and

mean-spirited. The body count has been significantly lowered, but

“Vol. 1” is just as enthralling, if not more so, than its

predecessor. “Kill Bill” as a whole is the type of movie that has

the power to create film buffs for generations to come.

4 out of 4

“The Punisher”

Although it would be pretty easy to rip this film-adaptation of

the Marvel comic book apart, I liked it way too much to justify

doing such a thing. The plot, strikingly similar to “Kill Bill,”

centers on a recently retired FBI agent named Frank Castle (Thomas

Jane) who, after being left for dead, vows to revenge the murder of

his entire family. John Travolta plays the head honcho who ordered

the massacre and Rebecca Romijin-Stamos plays a kind neighbor who

tries to help Frank deal with his inner turmoil.

The movie relies a little too heavily on coincidences and

Frank’s adoption of a monotone way of speaking sounds a little too

“Batman” for a “real-life,” but enjoyment of this film depends on

the audience acknowledging it as a comic book movie; a genre

allotted a higher level of cheesiness than most.

“The Punisher” is often brutal and cruel in its depiction of

vengeful violence, though, so this is not a comic book movie for

the kiddies.

3 out of 4

 

“Kill Bill: Vol. 2”

R

2 hours 17 minutes

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Holiday Twin Drive-In

“The Punisher”

R

2 hours 4 minutes

Carmike 10 and Cinemark 16

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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