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Published on June 15th, 2008 | by simeon


Kill Bill Volume 1

Revenge has long been the inspiration behind many films and novels. A classic example is found in the pages of Moby Dick where Captain Ahab peruses the white whale in a reckless and deadly obsession fueled by his desire for revenge at all costs.

In the films “Jaws” and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” both had strong themes of revenge central to their plot. For example, Khan desired revenge against Captain Kirk to the extent that he was willing to risk his life, freedom, and the lives of his crew to obtain it. In “Jaws” Quint places his crew, ship, and life in peril rather than allow his pride to be wounded and admit that he needs help in bringing in the shark.

In Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Kill Bill: Volume 1”, audiences are introduced to Black Mamba (Uma Thurman), a former assassin who is attacked and left for dead by her fellow employees on her wedding day. She awakens from a coma four years later with a steel plate in her head and a score to settle.

After escaping from the hospital undetected, Black Mamba sets off for Okinawa to mentor under a sword maker and prepare her body to take revenge. With the aid of a specially made sword, Mamba sets out to locate and kill her former cohorts especially her boss Bill (David Carridine) who put a bullet in her head on her wedding day.

Tarantino tells the story in a stylistic and at times bizarre manner that uses foreshadowing, flashbacks, black and white scenes, and anime in a non-linear story that jumps around nearly as much as the aforementioned Black Mamba during a fight scene. Thurman does solid work in a very demanding and physical role, yet does not get much sympathy from the audience as many have a hard time feeling tremendous sympathy for a person who is a stone cold killer. Lucy Liu provides a fine supporting performance as the head of a crime syndicate named O-Ren Ishi who is sought by Mamba, as she was present at the wedding day massacre.

There has been much mentioned in the media of this film being divided into two pictures rather than releasing a three-hour picture. In many ways, this is a disservice to viewers as after a fantastic action sequence, the film ends in under whelming fashion with only a slight bombshell of information being announced. While this does add a degree of interest, it does not provide the big hook that may be needed to make casual viewers want to pay to see the completion of the film rather than wait for the video.

That being said, Tarantino has provided viewers a film that is a dazzling combination of action and visuals that will delight some and frustrate others who are looking for more depth. The film shows that Tarantino is a talented and visionary filmmaker who is the master of mixing action, quirky characters, over the top action, and twisted humor to create a symphony of theatrical originality.

3 stars out of 5

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