Retro Review – Kill Bill Volume 1

This review originally appeared on brenthanson.net on April 21, 2004

“It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that I’m sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin’. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I’ll be waiting.”

Movie
A long time ago, I heard Quentin Tarantino was finally making another movie. The first time I saw the trailer to Kill Bill, I got a little nervous because it looked a little different than what I expected. Upon seeing the movie for the first time, it was confirmed that Kill Bill was different, but it was most definitely a positive.
Uma Thurman stars as The Bride, who was once a member of a world class assassin team (Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) before Bill decided to leave the business and get married. On the day of her wedding, the other members of the assassin squad, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah), Budd (Michael Madsen), and Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), as well as the boss Bill (David Carradine) attacked her. After killing all the members of her wedding party, Bill shoots The Bride in the head thinking that he left her for dead. Fast forward five years… The Bride has just awaken from a coma. After first teaching herself how to walk, she decides to seek revenge on all the former members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.
Kill Bill isn’t a movie for everybody. The language is nearly as raw as any other of the Quentin Tarantino films. The violence and fighting, though over the top and almost cartoony, is something that probably lasts for at least half the movie. Not to ruin anything for you, but in the restaurant scene alone, the Bride kills 57 people. Basically, if you are easily offended, this probably is not the movie for you. However, if you are a fan of any of Tarantino’s previous movies or a fan of 70’s pop culture, you’re almost committing a crime against yourself by not taking the time to watch this movie.
Tarantino movies are well-liked by the movie community in general for good reason. He has a certain style which has been often imitated, but never quite as well as he does it. In my opinion, he’s the most original, most creative, and most interesting modern day director. I dogged on Andy Patrizio’s (of IGN DVD) review before and I’m going to again. A couple quotes from his review: “Hardly an original idea to be found,” “Tarantino … is simply recycling the same old tricks, his and ’70s filmmakers,” and “I guess the rumors about QT spending the last few years sitting around his house getting stoned and watching movies were true.” It just bothers me because I honestly think that it’s the most original movie I’ve see in the last year, and I think the reviewer just wanted to print a bad review just to get a response.

Video & Sound
Presented in anamorphic widescreen (2:35:1), this dvd has a very wide range of styles. The very shot is a very grainy looking black and white shot. The next scene (at Vernita Green’s house) has very vivid colors making the whole look almost mystical. Later in the movie, they have a beautifully colored blue & silhouetted black scene. Even the anime scene is very well colored. Unfortunately much of the video has a very soft feel to it, however this transfer isn’t too bad as a whole. The audio isn’t as impressive as you’d think it would be, but it is pretty good. Both 5.1 tracks (Dolby Digital and DTS) are pretty similar with my favorite being the DTS track by just a bit.

Extras
This really is the only complaint I have about the whole flick. Much like the other Tarantino DVD releases, a commentary track is very lacking. I think QT would be a great commentator and if you’ve ever seen him on tv, you’d know he loves talking about his movies, old movies, and himself, so I guess I just don’t understand why he doesn’t record a track. The only extra worth watching (barely) is The Making of Kill Bill Vol 1 which runs around 22 minutes. Some of what they have to say is interesting, but really it’s a bit of a fluff piece. They also have two music videos and about six trailers, but that’s it. Word on the street is there may be as many as six releases between this movie and Kill Bill Volume 2 on DVD, so keep your ear close to the street.

Closing Thoughts…
A great movie that shouldn’t be missed. While they will be releasing a special edition in almost no time, I still can’t help but recommend getting this movie a chance. Even if you go to the video store and just rent it now, you should pick it up at sometime. Don’t listen to the negative hype – this IS one of the best movies of 2003.

Ratings (out of 10)
Movie – 9
Video & Sound – 7
Extras – 4
Overall – 8

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