Kill Bill Vol. 1

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

> > Apr 2004

Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Directed by Quentin Tarantino
By Chris GramlichKnowing what an insane film geek Quentin Tarantino is, one would expect the DVD of the first half of his genre-mashing, style-bending, revenge-driven kill-crazy rampage to be laden with intriguing deleted scenes, informative featurettes and, just maybe, non-stop commentary from Quentin Tarantino himself. (Tarantino, despite being an exhaustive and enthusiastic speaker, has yet to do a commentary for a film he actually directed.) Sadly, Kill Bill Vol. 1 sports only a somewhat interesting 20-minute-ish "making of" and commercials for Tarantino's work. But unlike Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which releases a stacked two-disc version before an insanely buff four-disc version (and the eventual cloak and staff editions down the trail), Tarantino's original DVD releases have generally been sparse, at least until the special editions. However, what makes this version of Kill Bill Vol. 1 worth owning is the pure genius and zeal of Tarantino's "fourth" film. Heavily mining, and borrowing from, his love of westerns, martial arts massacres, revenge movies, Uma Thurman and obscurest, too cool for school music, Tarantino once again spins homage (Shaw Brothers, Sergio Leone, Bruce Lee, etc.) and reinterpretation into inspired cinematic gold that both film geeks schooled in the obtuse and mainstream fans alike can love. A single-minded tale of vengeance, Vol. 1 violently sets the table for the exposition of Vol. 2: the Bride/Black Mamba (Uma Thurman) is gunned down brutally in a Texas church by members of her former posse, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and her former boss/lover, Bill. Four years later she awakens from her coma and begins her righteous quest for bloody (very bloody) vengeance against Bill and all that stand in her way. And there are many in her way (see the spectacular "Showdown at House of Blue Leaves," for example). While in terms of his generally brilliant dialogue it may be Tarantino's lightest work, Kill Bill Vol. 1 is his first actual action movie, and with the help of Yuen Woo-Ping and Sonny Chiba, the fight scenes are excellent, the body count soaring and the blood continuously pumping. And despite its numerous cheesy elements, it is never cheesy; it's playful, but it takes itself seriously in its genre mashing (at least in seriously respecting what has come before) and can be utterly jarring. While fans can be rightfully disappointed in the wait for the multiple DVD versions that will actually have the plentiful extras and, eventually, the single cut of Vol 1. and 2, luckily, Vol. 1 is worth countless repeat viewings on its own. (Alliance Atlantis)
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