Kill Bill: A Review

I was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed by Kill Bill, and I did­n’t even go into the the­atre expect­ing too much. The main prob­lem was the fact that the fight­ing was bor­ing. Everything was shot too close up to tell what was going on and the angles changed too much (all to hide the fact that the actors and actress­es don’t actu­al­ly know how to fight — where­as Uma may have tak­en months of train­ing, actors in true Hong Kong fight­ing movies have tak­en a life­time). The cam­era was just way too close to the action so every­one just looked like they were swing­ing katanas around with­out see­ing any actu­al tech­nique. I felt like the fight­ing was too sim­ple, unsat­is­fy­ing and anti­cli­mac­tic; the pro­tag­o­nist sim­ply kills each per­son with one final blow. I would rather have her adjust to each char­ac­ters’ fight­ing style and adapt her abil­i­ties in an intel­li­gent man­ner. The clas­sic “good guy los­es at first then fig­ures out a weak­ness and wins in the end” could have been tak­en from. A good exam­ple would be in Return of the Dragon where Bruce Lee switch­es up his fight­ing style against the big boss or the famous final mir­ror scene in Enter the Dragon where he puts the last boss at a dis­ad­van­tage by smash­ing in all the mir­rors. When the action, which is sup­posed to be the main part of the movie, isn’t very good the film falls flat.

The revenge scenes did­n’t have too much of a lead-up either, caus­ing them to be rather point­less. There were no training/practicing scenes, no test of abil­i­ties before fight­ing, and a rather shal­low “get sword” prepa­ra­tion, caus­ing there to be no real dri­ve for the pro­tag­o­nist to kill, oth­er than what we were told about her attempt­ed mur­der. It all made the fight­ing not as sat­is­fy­ing as it could have been, which was sup­posed to be anoth­er big draw of the film.

I did enjoy the hom­mage to Game of Death (a very sim­i­lar revenge movie) with the yel­low jump­suit and the trib­ute to Darren Aronofsky’s orig­i­nal cam­era work in the lead up to the lethal injec­tion scene. There was one extreme­ly chal­leng­ing shot in the club that went on for about a minute, rem­i­nis­cent of what P.T. Anderson does in the first five min­utes of Boogie Nights, although Anderson is much bet­ter at it (a dozen char­ac­ters, mul­ti­ple floors and rooms with­out cheat­ing in an open stu­dio). I enjoyed the gory humour and Tarantino’s exces­sive wit, pos­si­bly the best thing of the movie. My favourite part is when O‑Ren Ishii per­forms to-rei.

Kill Bill was sup­posed to draw from Hong Kong action cin­e­ma, but it end­ed up just being a movie with Tarantino style and some bor­ing action thrown in. If I want­ed to see a grit­ty Hong Kong action movie, I’d rather watch Hard Boiled. If I want­ed to see authen­tic Chinese weapon fight­ing and mar­tial arts, I’d rather watch Shaolin Temple. If I want­ed to see a sat­is­fy­ing revenge movie, I’d rather watch Titus. If I want­ed to watch some sick and gory ani­me, I’d rather watch Kite. If I want­ed to see a movie with Tarantino styling, I’d rather watch Pulp Fiction. All the parts of the movie that are sup­posed to be good have been done bet­ter else­where. The film draws from lot of things, but does­n’t excel in any area. There’s no doubt in my mind that Tarantino is a born direc­tor, but he has­n’t devel­oped a decent action style yet. The movie is worth watch­ing once sim­ply because he’s the direc­tor, but a sec­ond view­ing is rather unnec­es­sary.

Leave a Reply