Go to contents

Full of Mischief, Kill Bill Volume 2 Is Buoyant

Posted May. 11, 2004 22:33,   


Does “Kill Bill Vol.1.” remind you of a cool action movie? Then “Kill Bill Vol.2,” opening on May 15, will be very dull and boring for you. You will have to wait for about 20 minutes to encounter the first awkward action scene. It is far different from the first movie, filled with death-or-life battles. When killing enemies, expedients are often used such as using a poison snake, digging out eyes, or burying enemies alive. You could almost call these acts dogfights or hit-or-miss fights. There are no refreshing scenes with seas of flowing blood, either.

But it is yet early to be disappointed. Quentin Tarantino does not fail to carry the intact core message of the original movie to his sequel. That is the unbearable mischievousness. The heroine of the movie is neither the sword of Hatori Hanzo, nor the Five Meridian Attack – in which one can make the enemy’s heart explode by pressing the five meridians with fingers--handed down from the master, Pai Mei--nor the bride played by Uma Thurman, with a burning desire for revenge. Mightier than any other weapon or sword is the spoken word. One should realize that the movie is not much about action after seeing that the bride, seeking revenge, is wearing a laced skirt.

One-eyed killer Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) reads a memo in front of dying Budd (Michael Madsen), poisoned by a snakebite. “Just one bite from a Cobra will mark a period in your life. Don’t you love this phrase, mark a period? I always wanted to use that.”

Tarantino carries this whole variety talk show movie into one that looks very much like a Greek tragedy. Bill, confronted with the bride and a big battle in front of him, starts to spill his ideas of heroes and death-life philosophy, mentioning Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and such. Tarantino’s “petty philosophy” and third-class humanism fill up the movie when the action is intentionally lacking. The director shows irony and humor by portraying the characters who share sentimental and deep thoughts--or at least pretending to—before behaving outrageous and violent afterwards.

The bride walks on the path of revenge as in the last movie. After Bill’s younger brother, Budd, buried her alive, the movie goes back to her harsh-training days with Pai Mei (Liu Chia Hui), the absolute master of Kung Fu. Finally, she barely survived and faced Bill right in front of her eyes. However, The bride is torn and confused between maternal love and vengeance after seeing her daughter alive who she thought had been dead by shooting when the bride had been pregnant.

If the volume one was an example of creative editing of Samurai films, then volume two gives the Macaroni Western movie a new form. A person-to-person duel in the wild, extreme close-ups, and psychological exaggerations of people with music. These elements of the western films – i.e. those of Sergio Leone - are often found in this movie.

Hong Kong movie production company Shaw Brothers is a good textbook for him as well. Tarantino directly borrowed the frivolous and self-praising character of the villain Pai Mei, a partner to the hero Liu Jia Hui, from the movie “Hong Hui Gwan” and transferred it to Liu Jia Hui. That way, he lightly crossed the border between his admiration for Liu and creating an irony. David Carradine, who was a hero of the popular TV series “Kung Fu” in the 70s, is changed into a villain, Bill, in the same context. “Kill Bill Vol. 2” is for audiences over 18 years old.

Seung-Jae Lee sjda@donga.com