Blood, blood and more blood.
Blood from cuts, blood splattered on walls, blood shooting in geysers, blood in slow motion, blood animated, blood in silhouettes, blood in black and white. “Kill Bill – Vol. 1” is director Quentin Tarantino’s one-man mission to desensitize the audience to the sight of blood and still offer a bit more.
The story revolves around “The Bride,” a pregnant woman who, after her entire wedding party is murdered, is left for dead after a bullet is sent rushing through her head in the movie’s opening scene.
In the film told relatively out of sequence, the viewer discovers quickly that “The Bride,” played by Uma Thurman, was a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad – a group of lethally trained assassins. They are given monikers based upon the names of venomous snakes.
“The Bride,” or Black Mamba, has one mission: Revenge. She plans on killing every member of the DiVAS, including their boss, Bill, who was responsible for ordering the attack at her wedding and for personally shooting her in the head.
The story delivers many options for resolution, but Tarantino quickly brushes off notions of anything beyond drawn-out violent deaths that serve as an homage to Asian cinema, ranging from kung fu to anime to samurai films.
Violence has never appeared as beautiful as Tarantino makes it seem by using bright colors and muted emotions during Black Mamba’s encounter with Copperhead, played by Vivica A. Fox, and the soft snowfall that accompanies her delicate sword fight with Cottonmouth, played by Lucy Liu.
Possibly, the most underrated element of the film is the eerily elegant and powerful score developed by RZA of the Wu Tang Clan.
Ultimately, “Kill Bill – Vol. 1” plays out as a study in Tarantino’s love for Asian cinema and powerful heroines. However, it must be noted that the usage of aerial shots, black and white film and even an entire anime sequence highlight a genius only Quentin Tarantino would put into a single film.
At times, the techniques make the film feel like Tarantino is jamming as many elements learned in film school into one movie as possible.
Luckily, superb casting, tremendous fight scenes – the best of which is Black Mamba single handedly taking on Cottonmouth’s 88 member gang – and a biting sense of humor even out any fallacies that arise from over-directing.
“Kill Bill – Vol. 1” is the result of a nearly 4 hour long movie being split in half. Knowing this, anyone going into this film expecting a conclusion or the star of the film, Uma Thurman, to perish, needs to reevaluate their thinking process.
Expect “Kill Bill – Vol. 2” to be released February 20, 2004.