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KILL BILL VOLUME 2 Review

You ever have a day where you just need a great film?

That was me today. Last Friday I received a phone call inviting my father and I to Tarantino뭩 first theatrical screening of KILL BILL VOLUME 2 anywhere in the world, and it happened that it would be taking place here in Austin. That happened last night. I was, of course, overjoyed. What film geek wouldn뭪 be truly excited beyond words to see the first theatrical screening of an uncut Tarantino film? Not I.

So Monday morning I wake up giddy. I was going to be seeing KILL BILL VOLUME 2 today. So I go to get out of bed and because the Gods are cruel, the fates evil and the writer of my tale sadistic, my right knee decides that it will simply not lock, effectively rendering my right leg as sturdy as that of a rag doll뭩. As I뭢 desperately trying to figure out a scenario by which I might actually get to be attending the screening tonight ?the phone begins ringing. Of course ?today ?about 20 different crisis had to arise. The phone constantly ringing? me trying to figure out what to do. I decide that I need to try and move out of my room and at least get to the bathroom? maybe the knee will catch if I뭢 moving around and I뭠l be a real live human again. With my crutches I barely make it. So now, I뭢 in my bathroom. Is there anything more depressing than being stuck on a toilet unable to move for like 2-3 hours? I뭢 sure there is, but as I sat there?as the phone continued to ring and as problem after problem arose, one indisputable fact was tormenting me. I had no business, in the shape that my knee was in, going to see KILL BILL VOLUME 2 tonight. If moving 12 feet from my bed to the bathroom proved Herculean, the concept of going across my living room, down the stairs with no banister, into the car, then?in front of a giant crowd trying to get into the theater? with an injury that sometimes sends a signal to my brain to?SIT DOWN, at the most inopportune moments? this wasn뭪 something I was going to be able to do.

As I worked out the final outside world problem that was presented to me today, I realized in talking to this friend of mine that I did own a wheelchair that I have never used. It was my grandfather뭩, when he passed away he left it to my father and I. I decide, yes? I WILL GO! I begin thinking about climbing those steps in China to Pei Mei뭩 temple, and how I would see those steps again if it killed me today.

Dad got the chair, put it together, took off all the holders for oxygen bottles and what not, then came in and announced the obvious, that I was going to have to get out to the car on foot, as in our crowded house, the chair was impossible. At this point, I was resolute? this was going to work. I could stand on my left leg, so I got dressed properly?got myself together and with Dad뭩 help got to the car. It was, literally one of the hardest things I뭭e done. But, this was KILL BILL VOLUME 2 and I had to see it. Once at the theater, things calmed down immensely? I was secure in the fact that I would be seeing KILL BILL. I had told dozens of friends about the screening, they had all secured passes and when everyone got in, there was a buzz in the auditorium. There was excitement, knowing full well that we would be the first audience to see this film.

As the theater was packed, things got underway, there was a single microphone stand dead center in front of the screen. There were just under 500 people in the theater, and as Quentin took the mike, there was polite and enthusiastic applause. He simply announced that we were the first audience to see this film and that what we would be seeing would be rough?not entirely color timed with a very very temp mix?but that what we would be seeing would be a vast improvement on what it was a week ago. As he was talking, Bob and Harvey Weinstein came in, as did Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez and Sally Menke and assorted others.

As Quentin took his seat and the theater went dark? a hushed buzz went through the crowd. This was clearly an audience that 뱖anted?to see KILL BILL VOLUME 2.

The end result? As the final Q&U hit the screen and the projector turned off, the audience rose to its collective feet, turned to face Quentin and went on to applaud for 5 minutes. It was so overwhelming, that Harvey did not have the Research Firm conducting the screening pass out cards, clearly? Their work here was done.

The film is perfect as I could have ever hoped for. On my way out of the theater, Quentin asked me what my favorite moment of the film was. It was near the very end, as Uma and David are sitting at a table and well, the end is pretty certain. It is an incredibly emotional scene. Specifically ?over the course of this film, you are struck with such an incredible amount of affection for David Carradine뭩 bastard Bill? as well as for Uma뭩 Kiddo that this exchange is wrenching it out of you. And Bill says a line to her that has an incredibly rude phrase at the end of it and I found myself at that moment, honestly crying and laughing at the exact same moment, and not for crass manipulative reasons, but for earned tears and laughs. Specifically ?that is such a hard thing to elicit from me in a theater? To have honest tears and laughs simultaneously is the very definition of the idealized version of entertainment for me. Something that touches you deeply and makes you laugh and enjoy yourself? That뭩 entertainment!

With my father, it was the scene where she first faces Bill and his armed 밷odyguard?in his house. When you see the scene, you뭠l get it. I wasn뭪 particularly surprised by his comments given current conditions with his 밷odyguard?and their mutual violent adventures.

From others, I heard about 9 other 밼avorite moments.? In fact, I didn뭪 hear the same one twice. This is that sort of film. If you were turned off by the gore of the first film and found yourself wanting more of the 몎erbal?Tarantino dialogue?well, this is the film for you. It is a masterpiece. I뭭e been reporting on test screenings for going on 8 years now, I뭭e never heard of one with a standing ovation ?it was overwhelming ?like something you hear about, but never see. The film was that good.

How are the characters? Fantastic.

Michael Madsen is so fucking cool in this. If you뭭e seen Charles Bronson in MAGNIFICENT SEVEN telling those kids about the strength of their fathers? or even Jon Voight in RUNAWAY TRAIN, when he tells a reckless Eric Roberts that if he gets free, if he would get down on his knees and scrub the tiniest stain off the floor with a toothbrush and follow orders and get the sort of job a con can get, he should be thankful? Well, Madsen is that man. He뭩 a man that has such sins that he has given up that life, finding no warmth in it. Instead, he lives in a tiny trailer in front of a magnificent view? and at night he works as a bouncer at a shithole strip club being treated like crap by people he could snap like his fingers? but he takes it. He takes it and he goes home and he plays his records and chews his tobacco knowing this is the best he can ever hope for?and wow. He뭩 great.

David Carradine is going to amaze people. Nobody anywhere has seen him this good. When I saw him onstage with Tarantino at Quentin뭩 last film festival ?I knew there was the potential for magic. If you뭭e seen his Wild Bill in THE LONG RIDERS ?then you know that it wasn뭪 just stunt casting, that there was a purpose behind it. If you remember and like CIRCLE OF IRON ?there are some elements here that are just taken to such a higher level?that it just isn뭪 even funny. Quentin does wonders with David in this film. In fact, David has several of the best monologues you뭭e seen in a Quentin film here? His Peter & The Wolf style story of Pei Mei is a classic? His 밪uperman?monologue is also classic. I뭢 also particularly fond of the bit at Two Pines between him and 밫he Bride,?as well as the 밊ish?story. David is, I imagine, the perfect portrayal of Satan in many ways. He뭩 charismatic as can be, eloquent, deceitful, manipulative, smooth and treacherously deadly. He뭩 a bastard and he knows he뭩 a bastard and he뭩 fine with that. That you will mourn his passing is a testament to Quentin뭩 direction and to David뭩 performance.

Uma Thurman is amazing. The phrase, 밐ell hath no fury like a woman scorned,?has never been more true than when talking of her Beatrix Kiddo. She is amazing. The day she goes through beginning with her encounter with Madsen뭩 Budd till the end of the next chapter? WHEW! This is great stuff! Her time with Pei Mei? surprisingly affecting. In particular the relationship between Uma and Gordon Liu on screen is truly outstanding. I was surprised by the 뱓ough love?and 뱑espect?between the two of them. The payoffs on these scenes will elicit shrieking applause if you뭨e audience is anything like the one last night. Watching Uma and David together is magic. This isn뭪 nearly the action film of the first part, this is really getting down to the meat of the characters and their relationships.

Gordon Liu? WOW. Pei Mei is a cinematic god. For anyone that ever even briefly flirted with love for Shaw Brother뭩 classics? You will be blown away. So much of it is in his eyes, his gestures and yeah?even the subtitles. Pei Mei is funny as hell, cruel, but with an incredibly powerful sense of purpose. The rice eating scene as Uma is attempting to use chopsticks with broken hands is particularly affecting. Great work.

Daryl Hannah is such a great fucking bitch in this thing. Elle is horrible, but because she would always be second. Her patent leather shiny eye-patch is cool as hell and man is she mean. She took on all the worst qualities of Bill -- this is the Loki to Uma뭩 Thor. Two Nordic Goddesses fathered by Bill뭩 Odin. When they fight? imagine if you will the fight scene between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw in the closed quarters of that train in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE? Now, give them the spacious environment of a white trash trailer smack dab in the desert outside Barstow ?and you뭠l begin to get it. This thing is an epic smack down. Right up there with Wayne and Victor MacLagen in THE QUIET MAN ?this is a rumble that can be felt over seven states and when it ends? I dare you not to clap. No fancy smanchy wirework here. This fight hurts deep tissue.

The music is wonderful. At the moment, I뭢 a bit dazed?trying to recall it all, but like the music of the first film, this thing will spend considerable time being played in your world most likely.

What is missing? Well ?you won뭪 see Bill뭩 fight with Michael Jai White which I described in detail from my China trip? I didn뭪 ask Quentin why he cut it out, instead, I understood. In this film it was more important that the audience like Bill, than fear his skill. Because it was more important how you feel about the end of the fight, than the anticipation of that fight. To that, it is a testament to how well Quentin understood what was truly important to the story. THAT BEING SAID, I can뭪 fucking wait to see that fight on the extras on a DVD!

Ok, for now, I뭠l call it quits on this review. This is my favorite film of Tarantino뭩? Can I say that with all my experiences with this film to the side? No, not really. I was the only person in that theater that had climbed the cruel steps of Pei Mei, so sure I뭢 sure that colors my view of things? but then, I was the only person in the theater that wasn뭪 standing and applauding for five minutes straight when it was done, but then?I was in a wheelchair.

There ya go B)

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EDIT:

As Ghost has already posted the Harry one, here are another two (small spoilers):

Holy shit! That's all I could think when I walked out of Kill Bill 2 tonight. I was on a high that I rarely feel when I come out of a movie. This movie was absolutely superb, a perfect finish to an outstanding Volume 1. So how do I love Kill Bill 2, let me try to count the ways.

1) The performances. The highlight for me being David Carradine. He just eminates cool in this movie. Calm, cool, very charming, and extremely dangerous. This guy will go from calm to striking like a viper in a heartbeat. And Gordon Liu, in his second role in the movie, as Pai Mei was the perfect Shaw Brothers martial arts master. What can you say? he was the Master. And I loved Uma. Not as much when she is being cool and chatty, but more when she in pain. Emotional pain. That's when her work in this really shines. Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah are also excellent.

2) The action. Not as much as in the first one, but still great stuff. This movie had the most ugly, hardcore girl fight I have ever seen on screen. Where the fight against O-Ren Ishii in the first one was almost a beautiful scene to watch, with the swordplay in the falling snow, The fight between The Bride and Elle Driver is the complete opposite. Brutal, violent, and ugly in a hot trailer home in the desert. And the finale...like I said before, Bill is quick like a viper.

3) The story. One of the complaints I heard about the first one was the lack of story. That Quinten was just trying to be cool. Well, this one should quiet some of the naysayers (though there will always be naysayers). While there are some great action scenes, there was a lot more background in this one. I felt there was more focus on the relationship between the Bride and Bill. There are a couple of great scenes, one towards the beginning and one towards the end, that are just great one on one diologues between the two. And did I mention how cool David Carradine was?

4) So many great moments. The whole Pai Mei chapter was awesome. Shaw Brothers all the way. It was also one of the most refreshing moments of the movie. There's a buried alive scene, which is pretty damn intense. No visual, just the loud pounding of the dirt falling on the casket. Very claustrophobic. The finales of both fight scenes were awesome. The 4 year old daughter who wanted to watch Shogun Assassin before going to bed. Like most Tarantino movies, plenty of great moments. The score by Robert Rodriguez was excellent. It gave the movie more of a Western feel than the Japanese feel of the first one.

But this movie is great. I am glad that this was released as two movies, and not a single movie chopped up to fit a running time. But speaking of chopped up, I did not see the scene with Michael Jai White, the one that looks like it was shot in an alley, and featured a swordfight with Bill. Heard it was shot, and even saw a clip of it in the trailer, but it wasn't here. Hmmm. But Tarantino did what he set out to do. Make a balls out grindhouse revenge flick. Can't wait to see it again.

Toranaga

And here is the really reserved Pyul MacTackle, who kinda liked it... heh...

Hey Harry,

Well, my buddy scored me a ticket into what can only be referred to as the premier screening of all cool screenings this season, the first ever unveiling of Kill Bill vol. 2. I'm certain your review is on the way, but as I'm always the guy who takes the big, bad bullets it's quite refreshing to actually have something utterly fucking jaw droppingly amazing to talk about.

Dear God Almighty, this movie ruled. It was a fun, moody end to what will one day be a fantastic, epic, single film. But I can't help but feel glad that, at least for the moment, that these are two separate films. Kill Bill vol. 1 is a frenetic, visceral, sanguine rampage of Olympian proportions, a wham bam thank you ma'am tour through a multitude of grindhouse styles and genres. But love it or hate it, you can't help but notice that the breadth of it's power comes from it's carnage and Tarantino's understanding of Mythology. Many critics' most venomous barbs about the film are true. The story is cliché, the characters wafer thin and the blood pumped out by the gallon. And thus it comes down to a question of taste: whether you think Tarantino did an adequate (or mind blowing) job reinventing the genre's he tangles with or whether you think he missed the mark and painted the screen with Cliché after cliché. Myself, I adored the film, but waited with baited breath to see the second half. In my mind these films could not be separated. Like a great play, I had walked into the lobby at the end of act one and sat around for 5 months to see the second act.

Kill Bill vol. 2, however, is a completely different movie; and yet, unavoidably, it belongs as part of the whole. What Quentin was attempting here becomes abundantly clear in this film, something that really wasn't amazingly obvious in Vol. 1. Tarantino isn't trying to make the end all be all of exploitation films. He's writing a Shakespearian epic and setting it in an exploitation Universe. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Tarantino is Shakespeare, nor am I saying what he accomplishes is worthy of the Bard. What I'm saying is that what he's attempting definitely falls into that realm. More akin to Titus Andronicus than say Hamlet, this is a four - four and a half hour story (the length of fully performed Shakespearian works) that deals with revenge, love and scoundrels most villainous.

Now give me a moment. I'm sure many readers have suddenly lost control of their jaws and probably their language filters at the notion that I've just offered. Afterall, they've seen Kill Bill vol. 1 and Kill Bill vol. 1 has nothing that would suggest anything remotely Shakespearian. Well, maybe the part where he plays down to the cheap seats.

But Kill Bill vol. 2 changes all that. It adds context to the bitter rivalries, fleshes out the backstories of our four remaining characters and weaves a tragic tale of betrayal, loss, love and, yes, revenge. The body count in Vol. 2 is significantly less than the first, the humor more biting and cleverly Tarantinoesque, and the character depth unveiled here will certainly satiate the appetites that were whetted by the hints offered in Vol. 1. And the tale is a grand one, tragic for not only The Bride, but for the entirety of the surviving cast. While you still may walk out of this hating certain characters (in the way that you're supposed to hate them) you'll at the very least understand what makes them tick, what drives them to do what they do and what makes them suffer for what happened back at the Two Pines Wedding Chapel over four years ago. Sure there are still unanswered questions, but that simply adds mystery to the overall mythology of the film. And this film is abound with Mythology. Just look at the handling of the story of O-Ren Ishii in Vol. 1. By the final frame of Vol. 2, you feel you really know this pit of snakes from the Snake Charmer on down.

And what bloodshed there is in this film is truly a work drawn straight out of the myths of old. Think Oedipus Rex, Gilgamesh, Hercules. These stories are as much the inspiration for the driving forces of Kill Bill as Shogun Assassin, Death Rides a Horse and Rolling Thunder are as cinematic inspirations. It is truly an epic undertaking and one of the greatest examples of experimental film making to ever grace the silver screen. Every death here MEANS SOMETHING. Unlike the piling up of bodies in Vol. 1 under the pretext of reaching one single target, the violence here is more personal, more realistic (to a point of course...this IS an exploitation film) and each one is earned by the forces of karma and storytelling rather than the "Here I am and here you are so lets fight" mentality of the first.

Kill Bill vol. 2 is Brutal, don't get me wrong. What it lacks in bloodshed it makes up for in spades with angst, regret and bitterness. Vol. 2 is the heart and soul of Kill Bill with Vol.1 proving to be merely the flesh and blood of it. Quentin has delivered his masterstroke, adding a world of depth and emotion to what could have easily been a two hour bloody romp of excess.

But for those still howling for my blood with all this talk of William Shakespeare, I take a page from Tom Stoppard who wrote of the Bard in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead "They're hardly divisible, sir - well, I can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and I can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and I can do all three concurrent and consecutive, but I can't do you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory - they're all blood you see." "Is that what people want?" "It's what we do."

And indeed, it's what Quentin does - concurrent and consecutive - and proves himself to be a monumental talent that will no doubt be discussed and debated for years to come. What he's done is nothing short of amazing, and now, nearly ten years after the release of his film that changed and inspired an entire generation of film makers, he's done it again. Expect the next wave of Tarantinoesque films to be coming our way in the years to come, this time with an exploitation bent.

But here's the $64,000 question. Will you like it? Well, that certainly depends on how you felt about the Vol. 1. While certainly not more of the same, I honestly feel there will only be a few "Roepers", those who hated the first film but love the second feeling that it doesn't improve the first one iota, and even fewer that feels that it does. But those who love the first will most certainly love this, even if hard core blood and guts fans may feel the first is superior, if only for it's swordplay, amputations, disembowelments and decapitations.

Myself, I love it, and refuse to pick a favorite or dare say that one is better than the other. They are different. It's a symbiosis much like a great marriage: two halves of one whole, each providing different personalities and points of view that keep the other in check. One simply doesn't feel complete without the other.

How will this play as a single film, cut together as a whole? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but it looks like we'll get our chance. As I've said these are two different films and I'm now very happy that I saw them separately as I'm not sure how the slowdown and major shifting of gears is going to work...but it IS going to happen. Or at least so says one Mr. Weinstein.

While having a much needed cigarette after the film, my buddy ended up smoking next to Harvey Weinstein, who was also choking one down. My buddy, never at a loss for words, congratulated him and told Harvey that he had a great film on his hands. Harvey took a few steps over and began conversing with my friend about the film, what was missing (most notably the Michael Jai White flashback sequence which Harvey said they ran out of time for but would certainly be on the DVD) and the release strategy. Harvey noted when asked about a 2 disc set combining the films that both films would have their own DVD releases, but that the film would be cut together as one single film, an entity all it's own (apparently not simply slapped together) and would not only be released as one set, but it would have a theatrical release.

Now that got me all sorts of excited. Having seen these films as two separate theatrical experiences, I can't wait to see how it will play as one. But you roll it Harvey, and my ass is there in the seat.

A few notes about some nice touches in the film. Quentin gives us a pair of wonderful duel-roles by actors who appeared in Vol. 1. First and most well known is Gordon Liu who was fun as the leader of the Crazy 88's in Vol. 1. Here he's the wonderfully cliché old master who provides a bevy of beard flipping Comic relief and a nice touch of pathos to one of the subplots. Second, and most surprising, was Michael Parks, Sheriff Earl McGraw from Vol. 1, taking a turn as the man who raised Bill, a seedy third world pimp named Estaban who gives us a perfect look into what exactly makes Bill tick.

And the nicest touch of all, the credit sequence, which not only gives us the principles of both films, but also pays homage to the great supporting cast Quentin enlisted to make this film, putting them in order of appearance, rather than order of importance, stressing just how great and diverse this cast really is. It's a perfect end to what I consider a perfect film. Take from that what you will.

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I imagine April 16th is the London opening, rather than nationwide. I hope not, but it's how it worked out last time.

I haven't read the link or anything posted. I really do not want anythign at all spoilt for me. But the excitement coming from Vemsie's first post, I can tell it's gonna be oh so good. Not that I doubted it would be, of course.

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Just got an email from Yes Asia saying they've tracked down some more copies of the limited edition.

They're $199.99 which is way to much for me, but if anyone's interested here's a link:

http://global.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.aspx/...section-videos/

Beaten to it.. releases ctrl and http://global.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.aspx/...section-videos/]

Still, I won't buy one, that's so much for so little! :P

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Incidentally, when's Volume 2 opening in Japan? Same date as the US (April 16th)? If so, I'm watching it whilst on holiday there! Woohoo!

Er, if I can find a theatre which shows it in English, that is. :(

As far as I know, April 16th is not correct, it'll be quite a bit later(well, for the UK anyway, I assume the US date will be similar).

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I've heard that there's a subtitle "problem" with the Japanese edition, in that the English subtitles can either be on at all times (ie, even when they're talking in English on screen), or off at all times (ie, no subtitles on the bits when they're talking Japanese). Unless you craftily flicked them on or off at the appropriate moments I suppose :S

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The Japanese trailer for this is just a whole damn lot cooler than the US version. But only watch this if you haven't seen the first, cause it's full of spoilers.

Kill is love

I'm quite sure the coolest character I'm gonna see on the big screen this year is either David Carradine's Bill or Ron Perlman's Hellboy.

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So Monday morning I wake up giddy. I was going to be seeing KILL BILL VOLUME 2 today. So I go to get out of bed and because the Gods are cruel, the fates evil and the writer of my tale sadistic, my right knee decides that it will simply not lock, effectively rendering my right leg as sturdy as that of a rag doll’s. As I’m desperately trying to figure out a scenario by which I might actually get to be attending the screening tonight – the phone begins ringing. Of course – today – about 20 different crisis had to arise. The phone constantly ringing… me trying to figure out what to do. I decide that I need to try and move out of my room and at least get to the bathroom… maybe the knee will catch if I’m moving around and I’ll be a real live human again. With my crutches I barely make it

fat fuck

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Feel priveledged people. You are the first to know

Kill Bill 2 will premiere at the Empire on Tuesday 20th April.

The Empire will open the film exclusively directly after the premiere and all day on Wednesday 21st April.

There will be all day paid previews nationwide on Thursday 22nd April.

The film will then open officially on Friday 23rd April

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