Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
Kill Bill Volume 2 isn't really a sequel. Granted it is called volume 2, but really it is one film that has been split into two. This volume is technically a complete follow on from the first one, so it is highly recommended to watch the first one and then possibly straight into this one. I didn't take on this recommendation so it took me a while to remember the pivotal points in the first one in order to catch up with the second. Do yourself a favour if you are planning on watching this film and watch the original first.
Volume 2 begins with the shoot out at the wedding chapel, where the Bride (Thurman) was left for dead by her former team of assassins. This is what sent her on the journey of killing all those involved in her betrayal. In the first one we see her destroying many who were involved and partaking in many huge fight sequences. In this volume we continue on with her journey, with the only three left to be killed; Budd (Madsen), Ellie (Hannah), and Bill (Carradine). Her first target is Budd, who has been warned by Bill that the Bride is on her way. Budd puts in a plan to stop her in her tracks and when his plan seems like it is working it is very disturbing. Basically he begins to bury her alive. Her next target is Ellie and obviously eventually Bill, the man who ultimately betrayed her. On route we see some flashbacks that tie up several plot holes of the first film, and to just why and how she became the big assassin that she is claimed to be.
I won't indulge too much into what happens. I'm sure you are all aware that she will plough through them and have her face to face with Bill but it is the way she gains her revenge that is the shock. There is not as much action and violence as there was in the first film but when the action does kick in it is riveting. The Bride and Ellie standoff in a fantastically choreographed fight sequence, and there are some nice touches when the Bride is taught her kung fu by her Master, all pays homage to old school kung fu movies.
As well as having action, I also found this film slightly scary. Sounds weird as it isn't a horror, but there are moments that are quite frightening. Claustrophobia is brought to the max here and that is what is scary. At one point the Bride is buried alive and her reactions make you believe you're in there with her, which would make it even more claustrophobic. The sweat dripping off her head helps you feel the heat she is also feeling. Tarantino does a great job of highlighting all this by using minimal light and some tense camera angles. This scene is uncomfortable. Also there is a scene with a poisonous snake which jumps out at you. This is frightening to me as I hate snakes. Watching it slither across the floor and attack helpless victims really spooked me out. The final scary moment is one that will make you grimace. A fight scene culminates in an eyes being gauged out. This also feels claustrophobic as you can just imagine the pitch blackness this person has been plunged into. To me this was horrific. It isn't supposed to be scary but I found it to be at certain points.
As I can't really remember the first one I am struggling to really decide on how good this film is. It is alright at times but at other times it becomes slow and has a lot of talking and telling us what is going on. This though is typical Tarantino and a lot of his films do have much time given to character's talking. Not that this is a problem but at times it causes me to drift out of the film. Much of it kept me on the edge of my seat but other parts I lost a little interest.
The acting is good in the film, Carradine is excellent as Bill, and Thurman, as well as looking gorgeous, really brings the character to life. The plot is over strung but the acting and camera work help you to ignore this. This is a typical Tarantino film and if you love him this will be a big deal, if you don't then it will probably just be average.
3 / 5
Next film to review: INTO THE WILD