Author Topic: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)  (Read 4046 times)

Offline Antares

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Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« on: December 10, 2009, 12:16:36 AM »
Kill Bill Vol. II





Year: 2004
Film Studio: Miramax Films, A Band Apart
Genre: Action, Suspense/Thriller
Length: 137 Min.

Director
Quentin Tarantino

Writing
Quentin Tarantino ...Original Characters By
Uma Thurman ...Original Characters By
Quentin Tarantino...Writer

Producer
Bob Weinstein (1954)
Harvey Weinstein (1952)
Erica Steinberg
E. Bennett Walsh
Lawrence Bender (1957)

Cinematographer
Robert Richardson (1955)

Music
Robert Rodriguez...Composer
The RZA ...Composer

Stars
Vivica A. Fox as Vernita Green AKA Copperhead
Ambrosia Kelley as Nikki
Michael Parks as Earl McGraw
James Parks as Edgar McGraw
Jonathan Loughran as Trucker
Michael Bowen as Buck
Kenji Oba as Bald Guy
Yoshiyuki Morishita as Tokyo Businessman

Review
       After watching the first half of Quentin Tarantino’s chambara opus in the wee small hours of the morning due to a bout of insomnia, I swore that it would be a cold day in Hell before I sat through the second half. But the film gods must have wanted me to exorcise this demon; because once again I was unable to attain sleep one night and Kill Bill Volume II just happened to be on at 3:30AM on the Independent Film Channel. Apprehensively I waded into the muck and mire of Quentin’s potpourri of film samplings and styles made famous by better directors from the past. In his ‘homage’(that’s the code word for plagiarizing) to Kurosawa, he has the character of Pai Mei (Chia Hui Liu), the wizened Shaolin priest, stroke his beard repeatedly, just as Kambei, the samurai leader rubbed his shaved head in Shichin no samurai. Then there’s the in-your-face close-ups that gave you the ability to count the nose hairs on David Carradine’s face, a la Leone. But Quentin wasn’t done with Leone yet, the score for this film sounds as if it's been lifted part and parcel from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or Once Upon a Time in the West.

       Yet, a film is only as good as the actors who portray the cast of characters, and Tarantino is slowly starting to build a stable of stock performers reminiscent of Ford, Hawks and Kurosawa. Unfortunately, his choices tend to be over the hill has-beens whose best work was over two decades ago. Let’s start with Daryl Hannah; she has always been nothing more than eye candy and window dressing. She chews the scenery and the turgid dialogue like the lobster she ravaged in Splash. I mean c’mon, her greatest film achievement in the last ten years was the remake of Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman. Then there’s Michael Madsen, the most one dimensional actor in Hollywood today. Correct me if I’m wrong, but has he ever played a character in a film that wasn’t a wise-ass thug? When he shoots Uma with the blast of rock salt, I was waiting for Quentin to re-channel Mr. Blonde and have him cut off her ear. Then we could have had the ultimate ego stroking of having Quentin pay ‘homage’ to himself.

       Finally we come to David Carradine as Bill. There is a genuine reason why David Carradine made all those B-movie drive in films back in the late 70's and 80's. He has been stuck in his Kwai-Chang Caine character ever since Kung Fu went off the air back in 1975. It’s not that Carradine is a bad actor; he has played some of my favorite characters in films past, like Woody Guthrie in Bound for Glory or Cole Younger in The Long Riders. I just wish someone would slap him across the face and wake him up, playing an Eastern Zen philosopher in every role is overkill, for God’s sake move on!

       Which brings me to my final point on this tired film; it’s predictability. For someone who is supposedly a gifted screenwriter, Tarentino’s twists and turns come at you like a punch-drunk prizefighters roundhouse rights, you can see them coming a mile away. For instance,
(click to show/hide)
It once again begs me to ask Tarantino fans one question, what do you find so great, so original or so moving in his films? I am at a loss as to what it could be.


Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:06:59 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 12:19:02 AM »
Now before you start to pick this review apart, I just want you to know that I wrote it over two years ago. Yes I know that Carradine is now dead.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 12:22:31 AM »
Let’s start with Daryl Hannah; she has always been nothing more than eye candy and window dressing. She chews the scenery and the turgid dialogue like the lobster she ravaged in Splash. I mean c’mon, her greatest film achievement in the last ten years was the remake of Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman.

You missed Northfork by the Polish Brothers, then. Just saying. Again. ;)
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 03:05:45 AM »
Once more unto the breach...  :training:   :hysterical:

But first, Matthias made a great comment in the other thread about both volumes being great entertainment. That's all they are really...

...to Kurosawa, he has the character of Pai Mei (Chia Hui Liu), the wizened Shaolin priest, stroke his beard repeatedly, just as Kambei, the samurai leader rubbed his shaved head in Shichin no samurai. Then there’s the in-your-face close-ups that gave you the ability to count the nose hairs on David Carradine’s face, a la Leone. But Quentin wasn’t done with Leone yet, the score for this film sounds as if it's been lifted part and parcel from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or Once Upon a Time in the West.

Now, Seven Samurai I adore. But it never entered my head when I saw the beard stroking. What it did remind me of is dodgy late-night chop-socky movies with terrible dubbing. Remember this is the guy who went onto at least try a "homage" ;) to grindhouse. It starts here. Pai Mei is far more at home with Jackie Chan than Kambei.

And the Leone reference? You're right, but you're letting the hatred for this film/film-maker surely cloud your judgement and you're getting too picky. Tarantino has long said The Good The Bad and The Ugly is one of the best cinema films. He peppers his movies with Morricone scores and yes, apes the style. But you have to be good to pull it off (and the start of Basterd's isn't good; it's sublime and one of the best scenes of last year). I do wish he'd consider using a composer though as I think he's selling himself short.

Have you ever seen Scorcese's American Film documentary? It's very good and in one chapter he talks about the director as a "smuggler", reworking ideas from other movies. He himself is using Val Lewton as a base for Shutter Island, apparently. And hey, Leone robbed Kurosawa, who himself was criticised for being too American; he made his Samurai movies like Westerns.

Note for Jimmy: Don't you dare comment on this section, or I'll whip your ass with the Bava card again! Capiche?  :cards:  :tease:

   Yet, a film is only as good as the actors who portray the cast of characters, and Tarantino is slowly starting to build a stable of stock performers reminiscent of Ford, Hawks and Kurosawa. Unfortunately, his choices tend to be over the hill has-beens whose best work was over two decades ago.

Has beens? He gave Travolta a break when no-one would touch him, made Jackson a star, reminded the world who Robert Forster was and showed just how fantastic Pam Grier could be (she was better in Jackie Brown than she had ever been). He even does it for the crew; in Death Proof he used classic stunt guys and Zoe Bell hasn't looked back since.

And poor old Michael Madsen. Tch. He is limited, but in the right role, he's as good as anyone. Check out his brief part in Thelma and Louise, and his understated turn as Virgil in Costner's Wyatt Earp.

   Which brings me to my final point on this tired film; it’s predictability. For someone who is supposedly a gifted screenwriter, Tarentino’s twists and turns come at you like a punch-drunk prizefighters roundhouse rights, you can see them coming a mile away. For instance,
(click to show/hide)
It once again begs me to ask Tarantino fans one question, what do you find so great, so original or so moving in his films? I am at a loss as to what it could be.

Yes, it is predictable. Yes, of course the "special move" was only going to be for one, but that's the nature of the film he was making. Again the dodgy revenge flicks we've all seen a dozen times. Except this one beats with the heart of Leone and Kurosawa, it looks and sounds brilliant.

In the middle of all the predictability, we have the pregnancy test scene! Were you really expecting that? I loved it. As I said re part 1, this is comic book writing.

And that brings me to why I have the utmost respect for this sequel. Note in part one, he went to great lengths to hide The Bride's identity. Here it is revealed without hesitation. Now consider Bill's speech about Superman and Clark Kent and the aim is obvious. Part one is about The Bride; the superhero alter-ego. Part two is about Kiddo, the mother, the real person. If a little heavy handed, I thought that was a marvellous way to go about structuring what is essentially two movie about kicking ass very hard. You don't get that kind of sub-text with Van Damme.

What do I find so original about his films? You're gonna love this! [pauses while painting a bullseye on my own arse] His honesty.  :whistle:

Told you you'd like that! What I mean isn't that he uses other peoples methods and plots, but he is true to the characters and the people who play them (plus the methods, hence real stunts in Death Proof, no cgi). He follows the stories through with a persistence I wish others would do. You call his cast choices has-beens, but it was Hollywood who decided they were such. Jackie Brown is a romance with middle-aged characters, for goodness sake! That's important.

He's brave too. Takes chances, respects the viewers and trusts they'll follow him. Death Proof was ultimately a failure, but damn, what he tried with the narrative of that film was top drawer. And the ear cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs is one of the most powerful of that era. He understands the nature of screen violence and the difference between the cartoon stuff of the Kill Bills or the more serious scenes of his other films. He knows how to play the audience and give them what they want and then twist it around.

He'll never be boring and I doubt he'll ever change. More power to him.

Offline Antares

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 06:07:13 AM »
What do I find so original about his films? You're gonna love this! [pauses while painting a bullseye on my own arse] His honesty.  :whistle:


 :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato:

Just kidding, actually you're the first and only Tarantino defender whose opinion I've respected. Why, because I know that you have seen the films he's 'procured' parcels from, and are not talking out of a sense of either pretentious self-gratification or blind loyalty based upon cinematic naivete. Alas, you will probably never sway me. To me, he's a hack. And I feel that in 30 years, I will be proven right when his career is assessed by future scribes.

I think the other reason I don't respect him, aside from his petty larceny, is the fact that he seems to want to have bestowed upon him, a level of cult stature akin to what has attached itself to Roger Corman, Russ Meyer and George Romero. The problem with Tarantino is, that he doesn't seem to grasp the fact that those three directors made seminal B-films out of necessity due to limited budgets. You can't make drive-in type films with multi-million dollar budgets, it just looks like pearls on a pig. Yeah, the films have a limited bit of entertainment for some, but don't call it art.

Unfortunately, Jackie Brown is the one film I still haven't seen, and I feel, from what I've heard, may be the one and only film I may like by him.

Offline Antares

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 06:17:41 AM »
He's brave too. Takes chances, respects the viewers and trusts they'll follow him.

Oh, I forgot I wanted to comment on this too...

Sure, it's easy to be 'brave' when you got a big budget, a ruthless producer like Weinstein who'll stop at nothing to hype the shit out of his product and hordes of zealous, tunnel-visioned, rabid, and fanatical fanboys who would gladly pony up $$$$ to watch a film of Tarantino taking a dump.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT calling you a fanboy. You know the fans I'm talking about, the blood-thirsty brethren over at the IMDB forum.

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 10:55:26 AM »
Pam Grier(she was better in Jackie Brown than she had ever been)
I don't comment on the rest but be serious Jon ::)
Have you seen Foxy Brown, Coffy, The Arena or The Big Doll House? Now that's Pam Grier at her best :whistle:

I know that you are a Tarantino fanboy (:P), but try to be objective. Even a little bit...

richierich

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 11:11:48 AM »
Maybe I am a Tarantino fanboy without knowing it? I don't rave about them or disect them, just have enjoyed a lot of his stuff  :shrug:  Colour me naive or uninformed, I purely review on my own enjoyment of the movie.

Of his films that he has either written or directed, my reviews show I have rated them (out of 5)....
kill bill 4.5
kill bill 2 4.5
reservoir dogs 4.5
deathproof 3.5
pulp fiction 4
from dusk till dawn 3.5
true romance 4
sin city 2.5
jackie brown 1
natural born killers 3

and still to watch on dvd...
four rooms
inglourious baterds

Critter

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2009, 11:30:11 AM »
Maybe I am a Tarantino fanboy without knowing it? I don't rave about them or disect them, just have enjoyed a lot of his stuff  :shrug:  Colour me naive or uninformed, I purely review on my own enjoyment of the movie.

Of his films that he has either written or directed, my reviews show I have rated them (out of 5)....
kill bill 4.5
kill bill 2 4.5
reservoir dogs 4.5
deathproof 3.5
pulp fiction 4
from dusk till dawn 3.5
true romance 4
sin city 2.5
jackie brown 1
natural born killers 3

and still to watch on dvd...
four rooms
inglourious baterds

He really only directed one scene of Sin City. The one in the car with Dwight and Jackie Boy when the supposed corpse starts to speak. I suppose it can still be counted though.

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2009, 11:56:27 AM »
reservoir dogs
from dusk till dawn
true romance
I've appreciated those one Rich, but only Reservoir Dogs was directed by him. From dusk till dawn is a Robert Rodriguez's movie and True romance is a Tony Scott's movie (he had only written the screenplay of those).

Najemikon

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2009, 01:18:48 PM »
What do I find so original about his films? You're gonna love this! [pauses while painting a bullseye on my own arse] His honesty.  :whistle:


 :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato: :tomato:

Just kidding, actually you're the first and only Tarantino defender whose opinion I've respected. Why, because I know that you have seen the films he's 'procured' parcels from, and are not talking out of a sense of either pretentious self-gratification or blind loyalty based upon cinematic naivete. Alas, you will probably never sway me. To me, he's a hack. And I feel that in 30 years, I will be proven right when his career is assessed by future scribes.

I think the other reason I don't respect him, aside from his petty larceny, is the fact that he seems to want to have bestowed upon him, a level of cult stature akin to what has attached itself to Roger Corman, Russ Meyer and George Romero. The problem with Tarantino is, that he doesn't seem to grasp the fact that those three directors made seminal B-films out of necessity due to limited budgets. You can't make drive-in type films with multi-million dollar budgets, it just looks like pearls on a pig. Yeah, the films have a limited bit of entertainment for some, but don't call it art.

Unfortunately, Jackie Brown is the one film I still haven't seen, and I feel, from what I've heard, may be the one and only film I may like by him.

I think you're right and Death Proof suffered from trying to look crap, but at his best, he buries art within something that appears flippant. Back to DP again, but there is a gorgeous moment in the bar where one of the girls gets a text message; the way the focus and the music shifts so gently. It can't be anything other than art.

But again you're right and such things may make a laughing stock of his career. That's where Jackie Brown comes in (you really should see it), based on a book he adapted, and his TV episodes (CSI, ER) that prove just how good a director he really is. He should do more director-for-hire gigs, dance to someone elses tune more often and then you'll really see his skill. He mouthed off with Brosnan about doing a back to basics Bond and while he shit his bed, they gladly took the idea (Casino Royale), but bloody hell, that would have been good.

Pam Grier(she was better in Jackie Brown than she had ever been)
I don't comment on the rest but be serious Jon ::)
Have you seen Foxy Brown, Coffy, The Arena or The Big Doll House? Now that's Pam Grier at her best :whistle:

I know that you are a Tarantino fanboy (:P), but try to be objective. Even a little bit...

Who rattled your cage?  :tease: Oh yeah. Me.  :hysterical:

I've seen Foxy Brown and Coffy. Thought they were awful. Grier was good, but having to follow some shitty directors. In Jackie Brown she still had the fiery persona, kick-ass delivery, but now with maturity and nuance that was simply marvellous.

Offline DJ Doena

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2009, 01:32:20 PM »
I love both movies, I think they are great. I do not engage in arguments over directors "stealing" ideas and whatnot. It's either good or bad on it's own and either way I don't care where he got the idea. And that's all I am going to say.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 02:46:39 PM by DJ Doena »
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Najemikon

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2009, 01:49:13 PM »
I love both movies, I think they are great. I do not engage in arguments over directors "stealing" ideas and whatnot. It's eitehr good or bad on it's own and either way I don't care where he got the idea. And that's all I am going to say.

That's all you needed to say!  :thumbup:

Offline Achim

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Re: Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2009, 03:21:57 PM »
I love both movies, I think they are great. I do not engage in arguments over directors "stealing" ideas and whatnot. It's eitehr good or bad on it's own and either way I don't care where he got the idea. And that's all I am going to say.

That's all you needed to say!  :thumbup:
...and it's what I wanted to say as well and was lacking the words to do so. Thanks Karsten.


FWIW: I liked most Tarantino films so far, some more, some less.