The ultimate tale of revenge undertaken by the woman whose ‘team’ betrayed her – or at least the first half, anyway…
On the day of her wedding, The Bride (Uma Thurman) was gunned down alongside her husband-to-be, the priest, the organ player and their guests by the team of assassins she used to be a part of, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. The reason for the massacre at the wedding chapel was The Bride’s decision to quit because she was pregnant, but the team’s leader, Bill (David Carradine), would not allow it and so he dealt with the problem in the only way he and his squad knew how. However, they do not do good enough a job as The Bride survives, and after spending four years in a coma, she wakes. In that time, however, a lot has happened, including the loss of her unborn child, and once The Bride realises this, she embarks on a trail of bloody revenge against every single one of those who betrayed her. The first names she sets out to cross off her list are O’Ren-Ishii (Lucy Liu) and Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), aka Cottonmouth and Copperhead respectively, as she vows to take back what was once hers; her life.
You know when they said Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Quentin Tarantino certainly took that saying for all it was worth when it came to writing Kill Bill – his smash hit homage to martial arts films of the 70s. It is a hugely enjoyable film that I personally think could appeal to anyone due to the fact that women have such huge roles in it.
Speaking of female roles, I’ll start with The Bride herself, Uma Thurman, who was absolutely tremendous. When it came to creating her character, Thurman actually had some input and I think this shows in her performance. Right from the start, you knew this kid wasn’t messing about, but the key thing is you can always empathise with her as well because she was only getting her own back. As opposed to mindless killing just for the sake of it, The Bride was purely trying to get her life back, avenge all the others that were taken and make up for the four years she had spent lying in a coma. Fair enough, that might not quite meet some people’s standards of morality, but hey, this is a Tarantino movie – like he says, ‘You wouldn’t go to a Metallica concert and ask them to turn it down.’
The other key role throughout this half of the saga is Lucy Liu’s, who was equally as wonderful as Thurman, of course with her being the main antagonist, we never really want her to win. As O’Ren-Ishii, Liu was ruthless, but the thing that makes this even more terrifying is the fact that she never really blows a casket – O’Ren always manages to hold it together which generally tends to be a rather worrying thing when dozens have been massacred right in front of her. She was a good match for The Bride, however, and the history the two had between them made this even more so.
The stand-out feature of Kill Bill, as I suppose is the case with any martial arts film, is the numerous fight scenes that take place. Each one is terrifically well-choreographed and visually stunning. You cannot help but appreciate the time and effort that has gone into those sequences alone, and the overall contribution this has inevitably had on the whole film and your viewing experience.
I highly recommend that if you’ve yet to see it, you get round to watching Kill Bill sometime over the holiday season. It’s yet another brilliant film from QT that is aesthetically pleasing with that outrageous humour that I truly think everyone could find something that they like about it. Watch this space for Vol. 2…