Review by J.T. Johnson
Six months after he released “Kill Bill: Volume 1”, Quentin Tarantino unleashed a different beast with “Kill Bill: Volume 2”. Sure, it continues the story of the Bride’s (Uma Thurman) bloody quest for revenge, but it takes on a whole new genre in the process. While the first film was a throwback to the 1970s martial arts films, this film takes on the Spaghetti Western and is a more subtle film.
The first thing that the Bride has to do is tie up loose ends with Bill’s brother Buddy (Michael Madsen) and the most sadistic member the of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Elle (Daryl Hannah). With Buddy, we get an unexpected turn that allows us to see more about how the Bride became such a badass. Then, with Elle, we get the best and most brutal fight in the film.
After all of that, she finally gets to the man himself. This time, though, Bill is not shrouded darkness or offscreen as he is revealed while crashing the Bride’s ill-fated wedding. What puts you off your guard right away is just how charming Bill is when we meet him.
He doesn’t come in with guns blazing. Instead, he comes in alone at first and has what appears to be a pleasant conversation with the Bride. Carradine is so damn good in this scene that even though you know how this wedding has to end, you still begin to think that maybe he’ll change his mind and just leave the Bride to live her new life.
Even when we meet him later, it’s still hard to see him as the sadistic bastard that he undoubtedly is. No, it turns out that Bill is pure and controlled evil. He knows how to get to the Bride psychologically and he uses her own vulnerabilities against her. Then, when all is said and done, you’re ultimately mad at the fact that Carradine wasn’t even nominated for an Academy Award.
What’s even more shocking is that Thurman also wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. In the first film, she was a nameless force of nature that was tearing through her enemies in glorious bursts of violence and was a true badass while doing it. Here, though, the Bride finally gets a name and we finally learn who she really is and how she became such a lethal weapon.
Thurman adjusts her performance accordingly. As the Bride’s vulnerabilities are revealed, Thurman allows her more vulnerable side to come out as well. We learn that it isn’t exactly what Bill did to her that made the Bride mad. Instead, we learn that she ultimately feels betrayed because she never thought that Bill would do what he did to her.
This movie is more down to earth and that means that the movie contains plenty of those signature monologues that Tarantino is known for. There is one scene where Bill is talking about his favorite hero Superman and it is still one of my favorite monologues from any film. I know that I keep talking about Bill a lot in this review, but I must admit that I forgot just how good Carradine was in this role.
Ultimately, “Volume 2” of Tarantino’s blood soaked revenge saga is more restrained and intimate. This makes it a good companion to the first film. You get all the crazy action that you could ask for in “Volume 1”, but you get the real story in “Volume 2” and when you finish the whole bloody affair, you realize that you just sat through one of the most epic stories ever committed to the big screen.