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Kill Bill: Vol. 1

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Rated: R
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: October 2003
Genres: Action, Martial-Arts, Thriller

*Also starring: Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Vivica Fox, Lucy Liu, Michael Jai White, Gordon Liu, Sonny Chiba, Julie Dreyfus, Samuel L. Jackson, Caitlin Keats

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Quentin Tarantino is a stylish celluloid craftsman. Telling a visual story isn't as important to him as toying with garish cinematic images, and he's besotted with the pain and perversity of violence. That's why this pulpy, self-indulgent film so closely resembles an intense video game.

Uma Thurman stars as The pregnant Bride, who is betrayed on her wedding day by the titular Bill (heard-but-barely-seen David Carradine) who kills everyone at the nuptials. Left for dead, miraculously, she recovers and vows revenge against Bill and his Assassination Squad. Not to be confused with "Charlie's Angels," they're Bill's butt-kickers. First, she slaughters the Viper (Viveca A. Fox), who has become a Pasadena housewife with a four year-old daughter. Then it's off to Tokyo to slice-and-dice O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), the white-robed yakuza gang leader, in a moonlit, snow-drenched Japanese garden. And the hitwoman has more names on her list.

Obviously influenced by Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, Tarantino has fashioned a vengeance-propelled, chop-socky eastern filled with pop culture references lifted from Japanese, Italian and Hong-Kong B-films as well as American TV. Originally shot as one movie, it's been divided in half with a cliffhanger, and Vol. 2 is scheduled for a February release. This serial concept is not without precedent. In the early 1970s, Richard Lester's "The Three Musketeers" was bifurcated, as opposed to the back-to-back shooting of "Lord of the Rings" and "Matrix."

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" is an action-packed, excessive 8, but don't buy a ticket unless you're ready to be drenched in a bloodbath. It's recommended for fighting enthusiasts and die-hard film-buffs who will appreciate the audacious allusions.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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