“Vol. 2” turns down gore, wraps up saga

Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” is a study of complements and the balance of a well-crafted story.

If the “Kill Bill” films were released as a single entity as originally planned by Tarantino, it would have been an undeniably bloated beast clocking in at almost five hours. Miramax’s decision to split the movie into two parts was right on target, but a bit devastating for the well-crafted story at the center of “Kill Bill.”

“Vol. 2” picks up where “Kill Bill: Vol.1” left off in the story of The Bride, played by Uma Thurman. On her quest for vengeance against her former boss, Bill – played masterfully by David Carradine – and the remaining members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, more details arise about the massacre that is at the center of The Bride’s current wrath. As she encounters each member of the DiVAS, more of her past with Bill and her resolve to ultimately kill him become clear. By the time The Bride finally faces Bill, her complex relationship with Bill plays second fiddle to the payoff the audience expects.

The beautifully shot movie is filled wraps up the loose ends and mysteries left over from “Vol.1” – including the revelation of The Bride’s real name as opposed to the censor beep that was ever present in the first film. Tarantino took a story that was rough around the edges and smoothed it into a slick, fulfilling tale.

However, if “Kill Bill:Vol.1” was a fast paced train ride, “Kill Bill: Vol.2” was driving behind an old lady on the interstate. At times, the audience’s patience is tested with the drawn out dialogue. But the pay off in each conversation proves the verbal diarrhea wasn’t for naught.

Even with its excess in dialogue, “Vol.2” doesn’t quite flesh out the character development that was ultimately missing from “Vol.1.” Also, even if it is grossly toned down, the artful action sequences are still undeniably the major force behind the movie.Possibly proving even more valuable the second time around, Rza’s scoring was poignant and sharp. His musical direction perfectly set the tone and further linked Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” saga to the spaghetti westerns and kung fu movies that it unabashedly borrows its keen style from.

The sum of the “Kill Bill” package is far greater than the value of any of its parts alone, and that is what makes this series better than most released in the past decade.

Grade A