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Kill Bill: Vol. 2

August 13, 2019

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Actors: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen

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Synopsis: ‘The Bride’ (Uma Thurman), now identified as Beatrix Kiddo, continues on her revenge quest against members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, culminating in a showdown with their overall leader, Bill (David Carradine).

Review: There’s the law of diminishing returns about this, Quentin Tarantino’s second part of his Kill Bill diptych. The cartoonish martial arts theme feels less novel this time around, and Tarantino’s attempt to inject a more solemn tone as the narrative reaches its climax creates an awkward mesh with the proceeding pulpiness.

There are no real cinematographic or dramatic flourishes we’ve come to know Tarantino for (probably the best is the contingency sequence of The Bride trying to escape from being buried alive), and the strived-for wit and gold-dust in the long, earnest monologues, from Bill in particular, come across as ponderous and inert.

I’m not quite sure for the film’s downturn here in Vol. 2. I’m wondering if it’s that Uma Thurman and David Carradine are better icons than they are actors, and they struggle to achieve the tension and pathos Tarantino is asking of them – especially in the film’s final act. The preponderance of style and content that Tarantino essays here marked the shift to the longer, more expository tone that characterises his later films. I, for one, feel his tighter and more propulsive first four films are comfortably the best movies he ever made. (August 2019)

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