“Kill Bill”: Vol. 1 (R)
Runtime: 111 mins
“Kill Bill: Vol. 1” is the first of two parts making up a cohesive story which director Quentin Tarantino considers to be his fourth feature film. While “Kill Bill” was filmed in a singular production, one movie would have run over four hours long, leading to a decision to split the samurai movie in two. “Volume 1” hit theaters in October of 2003 and “Volume 2” was released in April of 2004. Quentin Tarantino wrote the script for this movie, but collaborated with Uma Thurman (“Pulp Fiction”) in writing her character, “The Bride”. “Kill Bill” marks a bit of a change in Tarantino’s filmography, as this chapter in particular focuses a lot more on action, unlike his previous projects which were driven by extended scenes of dialogue.
Before she decided to get married, The Bride was part of a group of killers known as the Deadly Viper Assassination Group, led by her former lover, Bill. She escaped this life after becoming pregnant with Bill’s child and went on to fall in love with a different man in Texas. On the day of her wedding rehearsal, Bill and the other four Vipers performed an act of jealousy by killing all of the participants. Bill shot The Bride himself and left her for dead, but she ended up going into a four-year coma instead. “Volume 1” tells the tale of her awakening as she embarks on a quest of revenge to kill her former lover who betrayed her.
Most of Tarantino’s work is outlandish in one way or another, but this has to be the most bizarre project to date as he really holds nothing back here. The director is in full command of his wild signature style and the film encapsulates his signature humor and violence to the absolute extreme.
“Volume 1” is absolutely loaded with action and every stunt almost feels like it is flying off the pages of a comic book. The fight scenes are stylized brilliantly with completely excessive amounts of blood and over top sound effects. The iconic siren and whistling scores also play a huge part in delivering the incredible amount of homage on display in this project.
While Tarantino plays tribute to classic cinema in all of his work, it is never more evident than in “Kill Bill”. There are countless references to older samurai/martial arts movies as well as the Spaghetti western genre. From my interpretation, “Kill Bill” represents the purest form of Quentin Tarantino’s genuine love for movies and I absolutely love that. While just about every element of this universe is totally unrealistic, the world comes to life very effectively for what this film is supposed to be. “Kill Bill: Volume 1” is a true Tarantino classic that shouldn't be missed; watch out for my thoughts on “Volume 2” soon.