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Sun April 25, 2004
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
It's a killer.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Europe watch out. America has a director who can linger just as long as you in a two shot with former lovers conversing about their past and questionable future. Director Quentin Tarantino ("Pulp Fiction," "Reservoir Dogs") in "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" can also abruptly change aspect ratio to enhance an imprisonment motif, have a two-minute blackout, or change from black and white to color in order to mix a meaning and a mood. In other words, he now has the American love of cinematic effects and action married to the European love of character and the long take. I no longer have to make apologies to my Euro friends.
Beatrix Kiddo, aka Black Mamba and The Bride, played by Uma Thurman, calls her adventure in "Kill Bill" "a roaring rampage of revenge," an understatement if you consider both "Kill Bill" volumes 1 and 2 barely miss a frame that is not aimed at her revenge for her attempted murder and the massacre of her wedding party at the hands of former lover, Bill (David Carradine), and his Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.
In "Bill 2," Tarantino spares no comic book or grind house allusion to boast his former video- clerk geekiness. Perhaps the most influential young director today, he still has the childlike wonder about those stories of super heroes flying in the air or Kung fuing like ballerinas. A opposed to the frenetic martial arts and minimalist dialogue of "Kill Bill: Vol.1," "2" lets us enjoy Beatrix and Bill enjoying each other in dialogue before they engage in deadly battle, albeit not the usual Tarantino gutter lingo.
Add to all this virtuosity a sense of humor as sophisticated as any in a French romance, for instance, when one-eyed Elle Driver(Daryl Hannah), having introduced a very bad opponent to the venom of a black mamba snake, reads the web description of the deadly effects while he lives them. But Tarantino never keeps his two eyes off his revenge motif, in the end giving his viewers the sense of artistic unity and letting himself enjoy his uniquely stylized violence. The poet Shelley seemed to be thinking of this film in his "Cenci":
"All men enjoy revenge, and most exult
Over the tortures they can never feel--
Flattering their secret peace with others' pain."
"Kill Bill: Vol.2" is more substantial than "Vol. 1" and closer to a type of filmmaking reserved for only the most talented directors. It's a killer.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com.