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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 Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

KILL BILL: VOLUME 1, from Disney's Miramax subsidiary, has been called the most violent film ever released in the United States by a major studio. It is the fourth film by renowned director Quentin Tarantino, whose sole claim to fame is his great and influential PULP FICTION, which inspired a generation of young filmmakers to push the limits of on-screen gore. A GQ-like movie, KILL BILL: VOLUME 1 scores style points with every blood-splattered frame. Limbs and heads exist only to be chopped off, thus providing a colorful red stream as in a water fountain. The result is a movie that is an impressive exercise in style but little more.

Tarantino's script is relatively plot-free. The movie plays as one long homage to Asian martial arts films, and the plot serves only to provide excuses for the action set pieces, which are undeniably as elegant as they are horrific. If you've ever thought that you didn't like a movie because it was too violent, KILL BILL: VOLUME 1 isn't the movie for you.

The story concerns a character known only as The Bride (Uma Thurman), who is working down her kill list in order to avenge the death of her unborn baby. The group she is fighting goes by the name of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. The movie is broken up into chapters with names like "The Blood Splattered Bride."

In the opening fight sequence with knives -- swords are actually the preferred weapons in the movie -- the bride battles Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) to the death in Vernita's living room. They interrupt their slicefest briefly when Vernita's little girl arrives on the school bus. After the girl is in her room, the adults continue their annihilation episode, destroying the contents of the house in the process.

The movie sags badly in a long hyperviolent anime episode in the middle but picks back up when it switches back to live action as the bride single-handedly battles and defeats O-Ren Ishi (Lucy Liu) and her hundred warriors.

So why do they call it VOLUME 1? Because they decided to chop the movie into two parts and make more money in the process. Viewers will have to buy tickets to VOLUME 2 to be able to see the ending. The story, or lack thereof, is definitely not one that needs more than one motion picture to tell.

So what is the rating for the movie? NC-17, right? Oh no, the MPAA again shows that they have no spine or sense, giving the movie an R rating. But if the film had contained explicit sex (something that is natural) rather than extreme violence (which isn't normal or natural), the MPAA probably would have had no problem in slapping an NC-17 on the film.

KILL BILL: VOLUME 1 runs 1:33. It is rated R for "strong bloody violence, language and some sexual content" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave it ***, saying that it was crazy but it worked. He remarked that the script felt like it was written by a teenager because of its strange logic, which he understood. He especially liked the action and Thurman's performance, and he looks forward to VOLUME 2.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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