Quentin Tarantino’s latest ship, “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” has docked. Inside there lies the booty, super booty. In fact, the showing falls under the heading of “super,” in every way possible. The ticket price hardly quantifies the experience. I would have paid $20 to see it. (Well, thanks, Harvey Weinstein, I just did. And by the time I buy the CD and DVD for both Volume 1 and 2, I’ll have given another $80. But I would still feel pretty confident in the transaction.) This film ranks as excellent.
Just as in “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown,” Miramax’s pet pirate has done the job well. He has taken — from many other, particularly action, movies, few of which I know — and he has rebanded. This is proof that an audience can still appreciate — nay love — this super referential movie, while getting none of its references. Though a motley movie, it bears the token Tarantino HAR! “Vol. 2” carries all the attitude of his other films. Plus, it still has Uma (though not her yellow tracksuit) as ex-assassin avenger The Bride. She, by the way, kicks ass.
This time around “Kill Bill” forgoes the excessive violence of its predecessor. It runs without so many comic-panel kicks, and it focuses more on story by employing the old flashback set-up. The violence is present though, and as ever, cleverly. (Tarantino here seems not to be saying “Look at me!”–as in “Vol. 1”–but “Cool!”) The Bride versus the coffin, for example. The Bride versus California Mountain Snake (Daryl Hannah). Uma and home pregnancy test versus another assassin. Or The Bride versus Bill. And that surprise she saves for last, after telling us from the front end, “I’m gonna kill Bill.” (Bill is her ex-boss, ex-lover, father to her child, attempted murderer for those who missed the first volume.)
The Bride does not stop a train with her bare hands to rescue her child or anything. But she does go through hell. And when she finally gets to her daughter, violence becomes precious. They have unfinished business, and the stakes get pretty high. The way Bill — played with fantastic, rough edges by David Carradine — fixes a sandwich speaks with the tongues of devils and angels. He slices off crust with a butcher’s knife — an unnecessarily large instrument — with complete precision and care. Such ability to animate everything around him, even objects, makes watching a tense but super experience. (The background music, by the way, also gets tense and stays super. Go RZA, play on.)
The ending ends just about how you’d imagine it ending. It’s either Bill or The Bride, whose name Tarantino reveals without disappointment. (Beatrix Kiddo — a super name.) The going-through shows you enough cool stuff to make the trip too short. Quentin Tarantino, we forgive you for having two credit sequences. (That’s just cocky.) Please give us another hour of “Kill Bill.” I can take it.