Okay, a while ago I had said that Battle Royale was the greatest action movie ever made... And at the time it was. And, it held that honor all the way up until last Friday when Kill Bill volume 1 was released. Now, I still believe that BR is an incredible and incredibly bloody piece of cinematic art (and it will always have a special place in my heart), but it is missing one thing that Kill Bill has in spades: snappy Tarantino-esque dialogue.
Kill Bill is just ripe with witty banter. And violence. Lots of violence. The opening scene alone will blow your mind away (just like it did to Uma's character). Then there's that now famous non-stop 20+ minute scene that's nothing but unrelenting, samurai sword swinging violence. At least 89 people are killed or massively wounded in that 20 minute span alone (that would be Sophia, O-Ren Ishii, and 87 out of her "Crazy 88" foot soldiers). Plus, another thing that raises KB above BR is its plot. Yes, KB indeed does do have one, as much as critics try to make fun of it by saying that there is naught a plot in sight. KB's plot is fairly simple, and it's my all time favorite kind of plot. KB is all about revenge. But once again, as I am wont to do, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's start back at the beginning. In fact, let me take you even further back than the start of the actual movie.
As I recall, it was close to two years ago that Quentin Tarantino's script to his about-to-be-filmed 4th movie was leaked to the entire internet. And it was quite the download (it was 336 pages long, where most scripts are between 90 - 120 pages... about a page per minute of finished film is the rule of thumb). It took me an afternoon to get through it, but I was in love with it from the very first page, and the time just flew by. Quentin actually wrote out every single direction for how every sword was to swing. He wrote how every character would sneer, wrinkle their noses, or glare in complete detail. He was beyond descriptive. It wasn't a screenplay, it was more like a novelization. It was great.
I followed the production of the actual movie like a hawk... Eh, I had nothing better to do. From its nearly year-long filming calendar to post-production, all the way to the track listings for the soundtrack (which rocked my little world! "Bang bang, he shot me down. Bang bang, I hit the ground..." I can never look at that song the same way again). I was a Kill Bill junkie by the time the movie actually came out.
So, you ask, what the fuck is it all about then? Well, I already told you above, dingleberry. It's about REVENGE. See, Uma Thurman's character, known as *BLEEP*, is nine months pregnant and about to marry some guy in a rinky dink Texas chapel out in the middle of nowhere, when her old lover/employer, Bill, busts in with her old coworkers (the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, aka the DiVAS) and shoots the shit out of the place. The DiVAS kill almost everybody in the joint and then beat the living shit out of Uma's bride. Then Bill puts a bullet in her head. However, that bullet didn't do its job. All it did was put the Bride in a coma. A nice 4 year coma. After the Bride wakes up, she steals Buck's truck (the glorious Pussy Wagon) and starts tracking down all of the fuckers who did her wrong. It's a good thing for the Bride that she was Bill's star pupil when it came to killing things, 'cause the people that she wants to revenge herself upon are the world's top assassins (did you think they used that whole DiVAS name cause it sounded cool?).
Then we get about an hour and a half of nothing but Uma getting medieval on people's asses. What more could you possibly want out of a movie?!
Now, I could get all IMDB on you and start naming all the Honk Kong and samurai references and homages that Tarantino was making throughout the course of Kill Bill... but that would be pretentious and asinine of me. I would sound like a complete gloryhound assfucker who just likes to quote old movies and point out every style and angle a certain shot was made to emulate. That and there's no way anybody, other than Tarantino himself, could name them all. There are so many homages to classic B-movies and 70s chop socky flicks that it will make your head spin! I am already gizzing my pants thinking about the whole training sequence with Pai Mei coming up in volume 2!... But I digress.
Kill Bill is all about Quentin Tarantino making the ultimate exploitation movie. He doesn't even apologize for it. He doesn't try to quell the critics who lambaste him for making a paper-thin story that does nothing but glorify violence. He actually agrees with them. That was the plan from the beginning. Get over it. Quentin made the perfect revenge movie, the perfect gore and violence-fest. The man should be worshipped! The style and artistry that went into Kill Bill is mind numbing! Every scene has its own flavor and feel to it. From the suburban coziness of Vernita Green's family's home, to Hattori Hanzo's broken down and dusty sushi shop, to the entire House of Blue Leaves dance club and Japanese garden (which, I would guess 'cause it was in Japan, they'd only call a regular "garden"). Every new stage is fresh and fun to look at. Plus it's cool to see just about every set get completely trashed as Uma fights her way through it.
There are only two things that I have to complain about in regards to Kill Bill. And they're pretty minor and understandable. Number one is that they actually cut Kill Bill in half. That sucks that I have to wait another 4 months to see the end of it. Granted, the breather is appreciated. Volume 1 is really intense, but that's what an intermission is for. You know, a break halfway through the movie to give the audience time to piss and buy more JuJu Beads and popcorn. Four months is just unacceptable, especially when Kill Bill was originally one movie (and never meant to be a movie and a sequel like Back to the Future II and III...God I loved those flicks!). And it was meant to be a single movie up until 4 months before its release. That is like the crappiest last minute desicion I've ever heard of! Fuck you, studio execs... And your fucking bean counters!
The only other thing that I didn't like about the movie is something that only somebody who read the script would miss. "Yuki's Revenge" is not and was not filmed. See, in the screenplay, the Bride goes to get revenge on one of her ex-coworkers, O-Ren Ishii, and comes face to face with one of her bodyguards, the badass GoGo Yubari. The problem with the final movie is that it leaves out what happens to GoGo's sister, the psycho Yuki Yubari. See, originally, both the Yubari's were protecting their mistress O-Ren, but Yuki had a cold and left the House of Blue Leaves just before Uma's character arrived. The entire next chapter then took place right after Uma left Vernita Green's house. Remember the ice cream truck that was in the background after the bride got in the Pussy Wagon and drove away? That was Yuki watching her. "Yuki's Revenge" was the best part of the original script. It was the only time that somebody was taking vengeance back out on the Bride. Plus, Yuki gets all coked up on one of Bill's special crazy drugs and goes balls out of her mind in an attempt to get revenge for her sister's death. It was so fucking intense, and that was only on paper! But unfortunately it was edited out of the story before filming even began because of the runtime (back when the project was only going to be a single movie). Now, the world will never hear or see that deranged and drugged up schoolgirl ask the Bride if she is pretty right before emptying an AK47 at her and her Pussy Wagon from 10 yards away.
Final Thought: If I were in Uma's body (after doing the obvious), I'd have gotten Tarantino to give me a foot-double for the "Move the piggies" scene. Christ! Her toes are longer than my fingers!
Goddammit, Rossman! SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THE GODDAMN SCRIPT!!! Jeesus! I swear to Satan that I am this fucking close to shoving a hot poker into each of the Rossman's eye sockets in order to get the fucker to stop reading movie scripts before seeing movies, and THEN bitch and moan for hours on end about the minute differences between written and filmed movie.
He just wouldn't stop! I'd be really getting into the movie, but then the Rossman would turn to me and blurt out rather loudly, "You know, there were originally two truckers in that hospital room scene. And the reason the Bride got all scared at first was because she thought Buck's footsteps were really Bills." SHUT UP!!! I don't give a fucking piece of goat shit!!! The movie is the goddamn movie, fool! That's all that I give a crap about!!!! Stop telling me that the Bride really went to the bank to check out her safe deposit box before flying to China! I don't want to know that that psycho Japanese schoolgirl was supposed to have an even psychoer younger sister!!!! I -- DON'T -- GIVE -- A -- FUCK!!!!! Just watch the goddman movie!!!!
- - - - - - - - - - - - -- - *^_^*
Ummmm, this is the Rossman here. Carl hasn't stopped smiling since we left the theater. I think he really like Kill Bill, but I can't get a definitive answer from him. I mean, I know he's really into "pain" and "revenge" himself, so that's a pretty safe assumption, but until he stops grinning like an idiot and actually writes a review, I'll just leave that smiley face up as his critique.