April 16, 2018
Today’s retrospective could be considered a retrospective on several movies across multiple genres. This is possible only because today’s movie is a pastiche of multiple genres, and a love letter to each one. Today’s movie is “Kill Bill: Volume 2” from 2004.
Directed by the infamous Quentin Tarantino, this film continues the story of vengeance that we saw started in the prior year’s film, “Kill Bill: Volume 1”. In this movie, we finally get to meet and understand the eponymous Bill, played by David Carradine, who was a mystery for the first “volume”. On the way to meeting him, we get to learn more about another pair of assassins involve in this story. We get to meet “Budd”, played by the always intriguing Michael Madsen. We also get to meet “Elle Driver”, played to vicious perfection by the talented Daryl Hannah.
Amazingly, Budd, being the underdog of this story, gets the drop on the central hero character, “The Bride”, played by Uma Thurman. Just as the hero is about to attack Budd, he lays her low and buries her alive. This could easily have been the Bride’s final appearance in the film, if it weren’t for her exceptional training, shown in loving detail in a flashback that pays homage to kung fu movies of yesteryear. Back in the present, Budd’s victory is an amazing twist in the story.
Budd, being a simple man, simply wishes to receive an award for his work. However, he is betrayed by the other assassin, “Elle Driver” who ambushes him with a highly poisonous snake, hidden in a luggage case filled with a million dollars. It’s a shame that Budd was taken by surprise in this way. It would have been fun to see him deal with a “resurrected” Bride, who shows up shortly after the ambush, and fights Elle Driver in close combat inside Budd’s trailer. It’s a fascinating bit of combat with another enjoyable twist or two. Unfortunately for Elle, her hubris is her downfall, and she proves insufficient to kill the Bride. We don’t really get to see Elle’s final fate, but there are a number of possibilities for her demise. If she were to survive, it would be an amazing twist. However, her survival is not necessary to the rest of the story, so we are to assume that she expires in Budd’s trailer.
The bride races off to find a man who has dealings with the eponymous “Bill”, and she has a detailed conversation with the man, in order to find Bill. She proceeds to find Bill, but also finds that her daughter, presumed dead, is alive and well, living with her daddy, Bill. The Bride spends some quality time with her newly-discovered daughter, before bedtime. She then proceeds to have a difficult conversation with Bill. After some events, realizations, and reveals, they both realize only one will walk away from this conversation. Again, the Bride’s amazing training comes into play. Bill is caught off-guard by the Bride’s abilities, and the movie’s title is finally fulfilled. The Bride rides off into the sunset with her daughter. Happy Ending. Roll Credits. Applause.
This movie holds many details, so don’t let this review fool you into thinking you understand what the movie is about, if you haven’t already seen it. By all means, check out both “Kill Bill” movies for yourself!
Two Hanzo Swords up.