Kill Bill: Vol 2 is a good movie ... a respectable movie. Tarantino is playful without purpose in a long string of miniature cinematic essays on style. And then there's also a story.Tarantino flexed some serious style muscle with Kill Bill: Vol 2. We start out in black and white and parade through the Tarantino list of cool things to do with a camera that pay homage to karate films, 70's exploitation films and of course, obscure R&B.
But I don't want to see an homage. I want to see Tarantino. That's why I loved Reservoir Dogs. It was pure Tarantino.
Now, I don't want to show no disrespect, but this film doesn't show the genius of Pulp Fiction. And is a much more quiet, tightly focused story that develops The Bride's (Uma Thurman) past and her relationship with Bill (David Carradine).
Uma Thurman is good in this role and she's the STAR of the film but Darryl Hannah is practically one half of the film with an enormous amount of screen time. Hannah plays Elle Driver, the arch-nemesis of the assassin known as The Bride. I don't know where Hannah kept herself for a few years but she's made a handful of great movies playing interesting, idiosyncratic characters over the past few years. She told me last year that it is enough for her to play a character that gets to wear unusual, freaky costumes.
The movie never felt like a whole, but a bunch of complementary pieces. I enjoyed watching the film and laughed when the screen suddenly became a stereotypical Karate movie.
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is subtle. Your best bet is to follow the objects, rather than the people, from scene to scene - the Hatori Hanzo swords particularly. Any prop the actor uses is not just a prop, but a fetish object and the props steal scene after scene. It's like Tarantino is using his actors just to carry stuff across the screen.
The best part of the film for my money was the speech Bill gave on his reading of Superman, not only as a genuine "other" with more veracity than Spiderman or Batman, but also his reading of Superman's use of the Clark Kent persona as his "costume" for assimilating into the human world and what the costume is saying about earthlings.Critics keep calling this film "cerebral" rather than "visceral." It is both, actually. And a little bit absurd. You should see it on a big screen, but sit back far enough to take in the whole screen in a single glance. It's just creepy to look up at a face 20 feet high.
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.