Kill Bill: Volume 2

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring:  Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Gordon Liu

"[T]here are consequences for breaking the heart of a murderous bastard."
–Bill (David Carradine)

We continue our retro review series of the films of Quentin Tarantino with a look back at the 2004 film, Kill Bill: Volume 2.  In Volume 1, we saw the pregnant Bride a.k.a Black Mamba (Uma Thurman) gunned down by her former partners in crime: Bill (Carradine), O-Ren Ishii/Cottonmouth (Lucy Liu), Vernita Green/ Copperhead (Vivica A. Fox), Budd/Sidewinder (Michael Madsen) and Elle Driver/California Mountain Snake (Daryl Hannah).  After miraculously surviving a vicious beating and being shot in the head, Black Mamba went on a mission for revenge.  In Volume 1, we saw her defeat Cottonmouth and Copperhead.

Volume 2 picks up where the first film left off.  Black Mamba is still on a quest to kill Sidewinder, the California Mountain Snake and Bill.  Black Mamba sets her sights on Sidewinder first, but he is well-prepared.  As a shrewd assassin himself, he knows Black Mamba is coming to get him and he lies in wait and defeats Black Mamba.  Foolishly, however, he does not kill her, but instead locks her in a coffin and buries her alive.  Like many before him, he underestimates Black Mamba, and she proves to be more resourceful and resilient than anticipated and she escapes to continue her quest for vengeance.

In addition, via flashbacks, we are allowed a window into Black Mamba’s history.  Bill introduced her to legendary master of martial arts Pai Mei (Gordon Liu).  Through bone-breaking, excruciating training, Pai Mei turned Black Mamba into the most deadly assassin in the world. We also learn that Bill and Black Mamba were in love, and Black Mamba’s perceived betrayal unleashed Bill’s wrath.  As Black Mamba continues her journey, we are treated with a glimpse of the heart, the strength and the character of our vengeful anti-heroine.

Originally, Volumes 1 and 2 were slated to be one film.  But with the film running over 4 hours, the producers split the film into two volumes, and thank goodness they made that decision.  Kill Bill: Volume 2 is an impressive film, but it is completely different from its predecessor.   Had this been one long film, it would have seemed a bit schizophrenic.  Volume 2 is slower, and because it is more character driven and reveals the story behind the myth, there is less action.  As a result, it is not as intense as Volume 1 and suffers by comparison.

With that being said, the action sequences in the film will induce some “ooohs” and “aaaahs,” especially the fight between Black Mamba and the California Mountain Snake.  In addition, the dialogue remains snappy and laced with humor. Thurman and Carradine also deliver some emotional weight to the film.  Oddly enough, behind all of the revenge and murder, at its heart this film is a love story, gone terribly wrong.  However, when two assassins fall in love and break each other's hearts, it cannot be an ordinary love story with tissues, ice cream nights with girlfriends and angry bickering.  In Kill Bill, we see that there are consequences to breaking the heart of a murderous bastard.  

Kill Bill: Volume 2 earns a 0.03% rating.  Have a Bahama Mama wine cooler with this one.