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Guest Russell Lucas

Kill Bill Volume 2

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Alan wrote:

: Spoilers, people, spoilers!

Speaking of which, the "Spoilers Ahead!" graphic (which I have never liked as much as just stating SPOILERS in simple text) looks rather murky on this board, like a rubber stamp with too much ink. Think it could be cleaned up?

Getting back to Kill Bill, I find myself wondering what happened to Jules when he, like The Bride, tried to leave the life of a hit-man. Did Marcellus let him go? Or did Marcellus try to hold on to him, as Bill (sort of) held on to The Bride? (At any rate, by killing The Bride's new friends and almost-killing The Bride herself, Bill may not have been "holding on" to her, but he certainly wasn't letting her go!)

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We went the right way, but being ahead of that geek curve would also have been cool.

Well... would your daughter have appreciated having the same name as a woman whose body is sold to sex criminals while she's in a coma? I'm not so sure....

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Guest Russell Lucas

Well, I wouldn't have given her that name after the film came out-- I'd be a freakish fanboy then. Besides, I'd rather accentuate the positive. She would have had the same name as one of the most beloved children's book authors of all-time...and the same name as the bloody bride who went on the raging rampage of death.

Edited by Russell Lucas

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spoilers1.gif

If this was one film, you could trim five or so minutes by getting rid of Budd at his job.  It tells us about who he is now, but it's not terribly essential.

Man, that was the one moment of pure brilliance that this movie had to offer.

How about cutting the totally useless exchange between Uma and the Mexican pimp...

Oh, also, I thought Beatty would have been great just based on his pimp-daddy persona and his rumored phone habits, that would have played well in Vol 1. Why would he drop out due to not wanting to learn martial arts? Cos I can't remember anytime in the two movies that Bill had to actually fight, minus the anti-climactic 2 sword swings at the end.

Edited by SoNowThen

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Guest Russell Lucas

Well, it's instrumental that the closest thing Bill has to a father is willing to give him up.

When even a pimp thinks you have it coming...

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spoilers1.gif

Why would he drop out due to not wanting to learn martial arts? Cos I can't remember anytime in the two movies that Bill had to actually fight, minus the anti-climactic 2 sword swings at the end.

Well, there is one fight of Bill's that was shot, but wasn't in the film. A short shot from it is in the original trailer, and I assume it'll be in the Director's Cut if/when it is released. When Bill goes to convince Pai Mei to accept the Bride, he runs into a former adversary (played by Michael Jai White) and takes him out. That's why he's all bloody and messed up when he returns to the jeep, and why the Bride asks him if he just had a fight when she sees him. It was meant to help establish Bill's deadliness, though Tarantino obviously felt it didn't need to be in the finish product.

Here's a little bit about the scene from one of Harry Knowles' set visits. (Note: Contains fanboy-isms galore, spoilers, bad grammar, and lots of swearing... but what else would you expect?)

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Alan wrote:

: Two reasons I can think of.

Yes, those are two very Formal reasons, and they are reasons I had already thought of, and it would not surprise me at all if Tarantino were playing with these Forms just as he plays with other Forms in the course of making his films.

But beyond that? Any MEANINGFUL sense in which this is a "spoiler"?

I mean, once the film has had a big opening weekend and all (during which many if not most reviews have already mentioned her name anyway), is there any point to treating the character's name as a "spoiler"? Would going into the films knowing the character's name spoil the experience the same way that going into the films knowing who dies, when, and how would spoil the experience?

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Yes, those are two very Formal reasons, and they are reasons I had already thought of, and it would not surprise me at all if Tarantino were playing with these Forms just as he plays with other Forms in the course of making his films.

Yeah, it seems to be more hucksterism. The fabricated drama of it smacks with the kind of drama we get from The Man With No Name. We don't know his name, the people he is killing don't know his name. Nobody knows his name. He rolls in off the desert as a cypher or a mystery, something "wholly other" (to make a bad theological connection).

But, we feel like we come to know him over the course of the trilogy, so in some sense we get an "in" with him that the others in the storylines don't. It personalizes the story for us I suppose. For all of us young kids watching those Eastwood films, he almost becomes a sort of father figure.

I think the same thing is happening in Kill Bill, and Tarantino layers over the "bleeping" thing for a few reasons. It is cool and lends a hipness to the overall character, which for Tarantino is reason enough. It makes The Bride herself into a mystery we are longing to get resolution to. It is artificial, but it is resolution nonetheless. When I first heard her name I didn't even realize it was said, and my immediate reaction was that it wasn't a big deal.

spoilers1.gif

But it is a big deal in the same way that the first time we see her daughter is a big deal. There the film flops from this titanic spaghetti funk action flick to this story about a mother getting her child back.

Edited by Guest

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Somewhat by coincidence, I found myself reading a number of reviews by women critics. A few were positive, but all of the really interesting and provocative ones were negative:

Gadget Girl of MovieHole

MaryAnn Johanson of Flick Filosopher

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post

I can find some interesting and provocative positive reviews, but none by women critics.

Edited by SDG

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Guest Russell Lucas

I'm pretty sure Morricone's "L'Arena" is a perfect piece of music. It takes me to places previously accessible only through Bach and/or The Flaming Lips.

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Here's an interesting interpretation from Jeffrey Wells' column today:

"You're probably sick of hearing about KILL BILL by now, but I have a take on it that seems stunningly obvious to me, but that I haven't seen echoed in any of the reviews. Mainly that it's all a metaphor for what divorce does to a family.

"I understand Quentin was raised by his single parent mother, and though I don't know the details of his childhood, a lot of what it seemed he was saying in KB resonated with me, being a child of divorce myself.

"You have a family, in this case the DiVAS. Bill is the dad, of course, and in this case the Bride is the mom. Vernita Green, O'Ren Ishii, Budd, and Elle Driver each represent a different way that kids deal with divorce.

"The act of Bill killing the Bride is, in his own words, 'masochistic.' This wasn't an idle dialogue choice, rather it underscores the fact that Bill is doing this because he loves her, and because he's unable to handle it in some way.

"The Bride clearly loves Bill, even when she's sitting opposite him at that table just before their final confrontation, and one can sense genuine affection between them. They may have to kill each other, they may feel the need to destroy each other, but that not only doesn't mean they don't love each other; it stems from the fact that they love each other, and that the love is unhealthy.

"Bill is trying to kill the Bride who has fractured his family, and each of the kids is dealing with it in a different way. O'Ren Ishii is the classic overachiever, blocking out the trauma by throwing herself into her work. Vernita Green tries to recreate the idyllic family she's lost by starting over with her own husband and child. Budd blames everyone, most of all himself, and retreats into guilt and self-loathing. Elle Driver is the child who tries to gain favor with one parent by attacking the other.

"Maybe I'm just projecting, but for whatever reason, the movie really seemed to be more than just a 'mix tape' or a simple revenge flick. If you do see it again, perhaps this little angle will help you see it with fresh eyes, and enjoy the experience a little more." -- Joseph McDonald Houston, Texas.

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Guest Russell Lucas

I dunno. There's definitely the broken proxy-family dynamic, just as there is in something like Boogie Nights, but the "kids" similarly represent the various genres of pulp films Tarantino's riffing on: the kung-fu fighter, the blaxploitation knife-fighter, the assassin and the cowboy.

He's also got this recurring theme of goodfellas or thieves on the cusp of escaping into normal life. Jules turns away from the biz and Butch wants to get away after not fixing the fight. The Bride is the fullest expression of that theme, and there's definitely a conflation of the father/lover role in Bill as regards Kiddo.

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Just for the record, I do not believe a mere reference to The Bride's child can be a spoiler, since the existence of said child was already established in Vol. 1.

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Guest Russell Lucas

Well, the last line of Volume One is, "One more thing, Sophie. Does she know that her daughter is alive?"

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Exactly. One of the best last lines in recent memory. That was one of many things that sent me out of the first film on a high. It had me anticipating Vol. 2 far more than I would have expected (and truth be told, when we finally do see the child in Vol. 2, the moment doesn't QUITE live up to my expectations -- but I won't really know what I make of the whole thing until I have seen both films again). When I came out of Vol. 1, I found myself marvelling at the thought that this had once been a one-film project -- the story seemed tailor-made for a cliffhanger, two-movie structure.

Alan wrote:

: And you're assuming folks saw Vol. 1.

But of course. If you haven't seen Vol. 1, then you have no business reading the Vol. 2 thread and expecting it to be free of spoilers for the first film, any more than a person who has not seen The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones has any business expecting the Episode III thread to be free of spoilers for those films.

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Alan wrote:

: That is a teaser -- that doesn't mean that Bill has her.

Well that was certainly how I interpreted the line in Vol. 1. It seemed the most obvious interpretation. Bill's an in-control guy. He knows the child is alive. It stands to reason that he, therefore, has the child in his custody. Therefore, this too is not a spoiler.

At any rate, SoNowThen's post never said that Bill had the child to begin with, so that is not really the issue at hand anyway.

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A few thoughts:

Possibly the best performances I've seen from Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah -- especially Madsen.

Despite the constant references to the beauty of the bride, I just can't bring myself to believing that Uma's all that attractive -- but maybe that's just a personal thing. But that brings me to a more substantial quibble. The other thing we constantly hear about her is how good she is at assasinating people. She's the best. Well, in so far as she accomplishes killing everyone on her hit list, that point is proven. But we never get a real look at what makes her so special. I never felt she was given any real human core, just a series of stylish drapings.

I read good reviews about the Pai Mei chapter. I was severly disappointed. The cinematography was excellent, there was some of the best humor from the movie here, but ultimately I felt it didn't show us anything of any real importance. I studied a varient of Nin-Jitsu for two years and practiced the punching technique from the film. My sensei could do that and he was by no means on the level (as deadly, as skillful) we are told Uma's character is supposed to be. Not at all impressive. The foreshadowing of this and the five-fingered-punch-of-death-by-exploding-heart-after-taking-five-steps was in a word, painful.

Bill was a great character until the Superman speech. At that point he turned into an avatar for QT. I think QT can write some entertaining and occasionally meaningful monologues and I don't mind when he gives them to his characters. This time I felt it was banal and it just took me right out of the film.

Someone compared this to Jackie Brown (as being one of QT more dialog driven films) and made the note that this time the characters had nothing important to say -- I agree. Budd and, at times, Bill rose above this, but not enough to save the film.

I loved the soundtrack and the ending credit sequence.

I didn't like this nearly as much as Vol. 1. I'll take the over-the-top comic-book violence with a hint of meaningful story from Vol. 1 over this any day. I hope that doesn't make me shallow or vulgar...

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Despite the constant references to the beauty of the bride, I just can't bring myself to believing that Uma's all that attractive -- but maybe that's just a personal thing.

Yeah. The impressive beauty of Uma has never been...impressed upon me. She's someone who makes my celebrity crush list. But I assume it is just a personal preference issue. We seem to be alone, as I know a lot more guys who think Uma is *hot*.

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I read good reviews about the Pai Mei chapter. I was severly disappointed. The cinematography was excellent, there was some of the best humor from the movie here, but ultimately I felt it didn't show us anything of any real importance. I studied a varient of Nin-Jitsu for two years and practiced the punching technique from the film. My sensei could do that and he was by no means on the level (as deadly, as skillful) we are told Uma's character is supposed to be. Not at all impressive.

I'd have to disagree with you on this. Mind you, I've never studied martial arts, but as a viewer of many a martial arts movie, I thought it perfectly channelled the spirit and stereotypes of every old school martial arts movie I've seen. As for the whole "five fingered punch of death", those old school flicks are full of fight scenes in which characters declare what style or move they're about to unleash - "Drunken Mantis Lotus Blossum Kick", "Sword Of A Virgin", "Fist Of The Sleeping Dragon", etc. I just took the "five fingered punch" in that context.

However, I would agree with you on nearly everything else... biggrin.gif

Edited by opus

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opus:

I'd have to disagree with you on this. Mind you, I've never studied martial arts, but as a viewer of many a martial arts movie, I thought it perfectly channelled the spirit and stereotypes of every old school martial arts movie I've seen.

Ah, well, maybe it did. I just find it a bit anti-climactic to build up to a technique (punching through wood at close range -- not the five-fingered punch) that probably at least one in ten blackbelts could do. And, of course, as I'm no big fan of those "old school" martial arts movies, my reaction shouldn't be surprising.

Every once in a long while I'll watch one, as I'll occasionally watch a horror flick (I know, I know, there is much good to be said for some of this genre -- but most horror films really are just bad). Usually afterwards I ask myself, "Why did I just waste the last 90/+ minutes of my life?"

tongue.gif

But hey, I do still read comic books and lousy fantasy novels, so I really can't criticize too much.

As for the whole "five fingered punch of death", those old school flicks are full of fight scenes in which characters declare what style or move they're about to unleash - "Drunken Mantis Lotus Blossum Kick", "Sword Of A Virgin", "Fist Of The Sleeping Dragon", etc. I just took the "five fingered punch" in that context.

Yes, I'm aware of this. And it wasn't this style or move I was criticizing, but the way it was foreshadowed. I would have expected something a little less obvious or more creative from QT here.

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

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Ah, well, maybe it did. I just find it a bit anti-climactic to build up to a technique (punching through wood at close range -- not the five-fingered punch) that probably at least one in ten blackbelts could do.

Ahhh... I see what you're saying now. And looking back on the film, I too, was a bit underwhelmed by that particular scene. happy.gif

But I still think the Pai Mei sequence was probably the best part of the film, speaking solely as a fan of old-school kung fu flicks.

Edited by opus

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