Review Of “Kill Bill — Vol. 1”

I am not a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. I’m one of the few people who didn’t like “Reservoir Dogs”, I just thought “Pulp Fiction” was good, not great, and I didn’t even bother to go see, “Jackie Brown”. But, I do have to admit I wanted to see, “Kill Bill Volume 1” because there has been a huge positive buzz around this movie and because I’m a big a fan of martial arts flicks.

So did the movie live up to the hype? For the most part, yes. As is the case with most martial arts movies, the plot was fairly simple. Uma Thurman’s character, the Bride, is left for dead along with the rest of her wedding party by Bill & the “Deadly Viper Assassination Squad”. After waking up from a coma, the Bride seeks revenge.

It does take you a little while to find all of this out because the sequencing of the movie is by design a bit odd and disjointed and I thought the pacing of the movie wasn’t terrific either. The movie starts with a fight, has a big fight near the end, and has a little animated brawl in the middle, but I was starting to get a bit edgy at one point and wondering when we’d get some more action.

Part of the problem was that Tarantino has some pointless scenes in the movie that could have just as easily ended up on the cutting room floor without hurting the flow of the movie. We have scenes with a sheriff looking over the bride’s wedding party, a long almost pointless sequence where Thurman gets a sword, and an aggravating scene that cuts back and forth between Thurman on a plane and Lucy Liu and her gang driving down the street that made me think back to the dance scene in “Matrix 2” — Ok, Ok, it wasn’t as bad as that, but it was still annoying.

All these minor irritations aside, the action was outstanding. The initial knife fight scene between Thurman and Vivicia A Fox was solid and the anime brawl between Liu’s father and some mobsters wasn’t bad either although it wasn’t as fulfilling as a live fight. However, the climax of the movie, the big brawl at the end was as good as anything I’ve ever seen in a martial arts flick.

That is extraordinarily high praise, especially considering that almost all of the credit has to be given Tarantino since Uma Thurman sure isn’t Jet Li — heck, she isn’t even half of Cynthia Rothrock. So to pull off a scene where Thurman fights off a room full of attackers a la Bruce Lee and actually makes it LOOK INCREDIBLE is a feat of film making to be admired. As a matter of fact, I think the way Tarantino shows martial arts sequences in this movie will be copied the same way the action scenes in “The Matrix” now are in the movie industry — it was that good.

There’s a lot more I could say, but if you’ve read this far, you have the gist of it. Overall, this is an entertainingly campy movie with fantastic action in it and given that I tend to underrate Tarantino films, I think many people may enjoy this movie even more than I did. Despite the little flaws I mentioned earlier and the fact that there is no ending to the movie (look out for part 2 coming next year), this movie still deserves a big thumbs up.

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