Hello everyone! It’s Rod-Tino Tuesday where we watch a movie directed by either Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez. Today’s movie is 2004 Kill Bill vol. 2, directed by Quentin Tarantino. It’s weird starting with the sequel, but fate wants us to watch this first, so here we are. If the first Kill Bill is your ninja movie, this one is more your revenge western. I remember being extremely excited about this movie. After watching it again many years and many movies later, it’s not as amazing as I remember. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing moments in this movie, but there are also some real lackluster moments as well. But, before I get into that, let’s refresh your memory on the movie.
Coming for Bill
Kill Bill as a whole is about revenge. Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) was an assassin. She gives up that life and disappears once she finds out she’s pregnant with her boss/lover’s baby. Her boss is the ruthless Bill (David Carradine). Once he discovers she’s alive, he and his subordinates attempt to kill her, even though she is extremely pregnant. But, they fail and now she’s on a mission to avenge near-death and the death of her unborn child. When we begin volume two, she has already killed some of her enemies. All that’s left is Bill, his brother Budd (Michael Madsen), and Elle (Daryl Hannah). Little does Beatrix know that her daughter is still alive and living with Bill in Mexico. Beatrix finally gets her face-off with Bill, but that’s after she is shot with rock salt and buried alive by Budd, and in a deadly kung fu match with Elle.
Without a doubt, my favorite character in this movie is Bea’s sensei Pai Mei (Gordon Liu). If you do not remember the scene, Beatrix is buried alive. She panics but calms down when she recalls her training with the grumpiest old man ever, White Lotus master Pai Mei. Because of him teaching her how to punch through a wall at close range, she is able to escape the wooden coffin. What is so fun about watching Pai Mei is that he is not very kind or nurturing. He is what I imagine an old, cantankerous kung fu master is supposed to me. Pai Mei isn’t socialized enough to show empathy or thoughtfulness for his student. Frankly, he doesn’t have time to be your friend or your new dad. You’re there to learn, he’s there to teach. Everything else is a waste of his precious time. A teacher does not always have to be your friend, as long as your learning the lessons. That is one of the lessons Pai Mei offers the audience. However, I do not encourage anyone to start beating people over the heads with sticks. You are not an ancient kung fu master.
The Elle and Bea brawl
This is one of the best scenes in the movie. Beatrix is back from beyond the grave. She is headed back to Budd’s to finish what she started. Meanwhile, Elle is in Budd’s trailer, trading a million dollars for Bea’s stunning Hatori Hanzo sword. Elle has placed a black mamba in the case with the money. The mamba strikes Budd in the face and he dies. As Elle is about to leave with the sword and the money, Bea dropkicks her back into the trailer. What follows is a claustrophobic and brutal fight between two women that absolutely hate each other. They manage to break through every wall in the place. It’s all very exciting. I loved how Bea ended the fight by plucking out Elle’s one good eye. That’s for Pai Mei, b***h!!!
After the brawl
Here’s my problem with the movie. Everything after Elle loses her eye falls a little flat. The Elle scene is where the movie peaks. Then there’s all of this boring stuff with Esteban (Michael Parks). When she finally gets to Bill, we go through another long scene about when she found out she’s pregnant. And then, it’s time for the final battle. Here we go, here’s the payoff for enduring so many long flashbacks. And what happens? The five-finger exploding heart technique and it’s over. Bill’s dead, Beatrix is reunited with her daughter B.B. (Perla Haney-Jardine) and we’re done. You CANNOT take us on this journey of epic revenge and end it on such a lackluster note.
The first Kill Bill is better, but that has a lot to do with the overall style of the movie. It looks like the mindset is that we get the satisfying, over-the-top violence in the first movie, and we get more storytelling in the second movie. I’m fine with this, but you have to end it with a bang. Make me feel like I did not waste my time on this journey.
Wrapping it up
Well, that’s it for Kill Bil, vol. 2. Next week, we are back with Robert Rodriguez. Our random number generated selected movie number six. So, get ready for Once Upon A Time in Mexico. If you need the list of the movies, click here. Until then, be sure to join me this Thursday for my Planet With review. We are watching episode 8 of Firefly for Serenity Sunday. Thank you for your constant support, and I will see you on Thursday!