Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Chia Hui Liu, Michael Parks, Perla Haney-Jardine, Christopher Allen Nelson
The bride is back for the final cut.
Having already crossed two names from her Death List, The Bride (Uma Thurman) is back with a vengeance and taking aim at Budd (Michael Madsen) and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), the only survivors from the squad of assassins who betrayed her four years earlier. It's all leading upito the ultimate confrontation with Bill (David Carradine), The Bride's former master and the man who ordered her execution! As the acclaimed follow-up to the instant classic Volume 1 - you know all about the unlimited action and humor, but until you've seen Kill Bill: Volume 2 you only know half the story!
$25.104 million on 2971 screens.
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 137 min.
Release Date: 8/10/2004
• Deleted Scene
• ďThe Making of Kill Bill Volume 2
• ďChingonĒ Performance from the Premiere
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Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.
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Kill Bill: Volume Two (2004)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 9, 2004)
After six years away from the screens, Quentin Tarantino produced two separate flicks that came out within six months of each other. Granted, they were both really just one movie split in half, but after such a long wait, I wonít quibble.
If you didnít see Volume 1, youíll feel pretty lost during Volume 2. The film starts with a very brief introduction that presents a quick introduction from the Bride (Uma Thurman) about her mission of vengeance, but thatís pretty much it.
Since the first movie pursued the progress of the Brideís ďDeath List FiveĒ, the second one continues that path. The Bride knocked off two of those five in the initial installment, and now she plans to go after Budd (Michael Madsen), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and Bill (David Carradine) himself. The film follows a more chronological progression than the first but still allows ample time for flashbacks. It opens with more from the wedding chapel slaughter that left the Bride in a long coma, and we also see her training with martial arts expert Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) as well as a couple of other leaps to the past. All of this simply leads inexorably toward the Brideís final confrontation with Bill itself. (Oh, and along the way, we finally find out the Brideís real name.)
In the DVDís booklet, we find an essay that states Bill 2 ďisnít just more of the sameĒ. And that statementís totally correct. Anyone who goes into the second part with expectations to find the same level of over-the-top action and mayhem will clearly leave disappointed.
Thatís probably go to know going into the movie, for it makes the experience more satisfying. Bill 2 offers a significantly more introspective and less flashy piece. When fights occur, they rarely last very long, and they donít go for the same sense of pizzazz and drama. Heck, the Bride doesnít even get to attack one of her Death List Five, and the other two end on subdued notes. In fact, itís not even clear that one of the Five gets killed! What kind of revenge movie is that?
An occasionally slow-paced and slightly frustrating one, I admit, but also ultimately a more satisfying one than a movie that never deviated from the beaten path. Whereas the first volume took most of its cues from the films of the East, Bill 2 looks toward the West, as it comes across much more like a Western than a standard martial arts extravaganza.
Bill 2 features a surprisingly restrained Tarantino. Unlike the first volume, it includes tons of dialogue; itís a much chattier film than the action-oriented Bill 1. However, fans of Tarantinoís patented clever wordplay wonít feel satisfied here, as the movie fails to deliver memorable one-liners or exchanges.
But those would have been out of place in this movie, for it delivers the closest thing to a real character drama that Tarantinoís devised. His prior movies focused more on scenarios than the characters, whereas Bill 2 is almost totally about the people and their relationships. Itís notable that we saw almost nothing of Bill in the first volume; he was simply the man behind the scenes who ran the show. When we get to know him, complexities emerge that turn him into a three-dimensional person, not just a cartoon villain.
And that helps make the climax more effective. The Brideís quest starts out as simplistic and one-dimensional, but it becomes much more complicated as the film progresses. By the end, it remains unclear if sheíll actually even try to live up to the title and kill Bill, whereas a standard movie would pursue that end relentlessly.
Is Kill Bill Volume 2 as entertaining as Volume 1? No, for it lacks the same showiness and wildness. However, it may be more satisfying since it gives us a sense of depth and reality, something that seems tough to achieve in a flick about super-skilled assassins. Bill 2 isnít a lot of fun, but itís a rich conclusion to the saga that delivers what it needs to finish off the story.
Footnote: stick through the end credits to see a fun outtake.
The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-
Kill Bill Volume 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the picture wasnít a carbon copy of the first flickís transfer, both seemed about the same quality and were satisfying but not stunning.
Sharpness usually came across well. Very little softness crept through during the movie. Overall, the movie almost always appeared quite crisp and detailed. Jagged edges and shimmering created no problems, but I noticed some slight signs of edge enhancement. As for print flaws, the occasional speckle cropped up, but the movie mostly seemed clean.
While the palette of Bill 2 was stylized, it didnít match up with the wildly varying tones of the first volume. For the most part, the movie went with a fairly rich and occasionally slightly oversaturated look. Variations occurred during the Pai Mei scenes, which seemed less intense and a little intentionally washed-out. We also got more than a few black and white sequences. The colors always looked appropriately rendered and full. Black levels seemed deep and firm, while low-light shots looked clean and accurately delineated except for a few moderately dense day for night shots. As with the first flick, the picture quality of Bill 2 wasnít flawless but worked fine.
In addition, the audio of Kill Bill Volume 2 worked well. The DVD presented both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. The pair seemed very similar. Volume levels differed, as the DTS mix was mastered at a considerably higher level, but otherwise the two appeared virtually identical.
As was the case for the movie itself, the soundfield of Bill 2 was more subdued, though as with the visual schemes, the use of audio varied dependent on the setting. Much of the movie featured an emphasis on the forward spectrum. Since this flick included fewer fight sequences than the first volume, it appeared less active. Nonetheless, the track complemented the film well and could present very engrossing audio at times. The best auditory sequence definitely came when the Bride was buried alive; the visuals departed and we depended solely on sound to convey the scene. Music also demonstrated significant support from the surrounds at times. Effects always seemed accurately placed and they moved smoothly around the field. The elements blended cleanly and naturally.
Audio quality seemed solid. Dialogue always sounded distinctive and crisp, with no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music varied somewhat since the film used so much source material, but the songs and scores mainly came across as vivid and dynamic. Effects presented lively elements, with good clarity and range. Bass response was clean and tight, and the entire track seemed accurate and vibrant. The audio of Kill Bill Volume 2 consistently satisfied.
Unfortunately, the DVDís supplements seem much less enticing. The prime attraction comes from The Making of Kill Bill. This 26-minute and two-second piece presents the standard assortment of movie snippets, archival materials, and interviews. We get notes from writer/director Quentin Tarantino, producer Lawrence Bender, composer Robert Rodriguez, and actors Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, and Michael Madsen. They get into the the story, the differences between the two movies and their connections, the characters and the actors, reactions to the films, Tarantinoís style, and the music.
While the ďmaking ofĒ show on Volume 1 proved surprisingly informative, this one falls more heavily into the category of promotional fluff. We only learn a little about its creation, as we see way too many movie clips and mostly hear banal generalizations about the story and the characters. Some decent behind the scenes footage appears, and we learn some neat trivia notes, but it lacks much depth.
Next we find a performance from Chingon Live at the Premiere. In this 11-minute and 31-second clip, we watch the band play the tune from the filmís end credits. Itís a mildly interesting piece at best.
We get one deleted scene. Called ďDamoeĒ, this three-minute and 37-second segment shows a fight between Bill and a gang whose master he killed. It would have come during the flashback sequence in which Bill takes the Bride to be trained by Pai Mei. I think this clip should have stayed in the movie. It shows us Billís skills - which we really donít see otherwise - and would add some action. Finally, the setís booklet presents a review from Andy Klein of Citybeat. Itís moderately insightful, but definitely donít read it - or watch the ďmaking ofĒ show - unless youíve seen the movie first, as both spill too many beans.
After a wild tale of violence in the first film, we donít get much of the same in Kill Bill Volume 2. That will disappoint some, but it ends up making the story richer and with greater depth. Though Bill 2 lacks the ďin your faceĒ energy of the initial entry, it compensates with emotion and humanity. The DVD features very good picture and audio but suffers from a small roster of extras that doesnít present much information. Donít watch Bill 2 if youíve not seen the first, but you definitely need to check out the finale.
Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2758 Stars
| Number of Votes: 58