into Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Volume 2", the question at
hand was: "Did splitting what was essentially a single story into two
for the sake of cold hard cash detrimental to the overall story"?
According to most viewers and critics, the answer is No.
I must humbly disagree.
As an entirely separate being, "Volume
1" worked because it had a self-contained story that, although it
didn't end, there was enough of a beginning, middle, and a semi-ending to
satisfy the undemanding viewer. (And of course everyone knew it wasn't
going to end going in, so the fact that it didn't end was no shock
to the system.) Also, the entire bloodbath in-between the beginning and
non-ending was more than enough to get any action junkie's engines
revving. "Volume 2", on the other hand, is meandering and
Having sliced and diced her way through two of her
former colleagues in "Volume 1", the Bride (Uma Thurman) now
goes after the rest before she can finally kill the titular Bill (David
Carradine). Alas, the Bride finds killing retired assassin Budd (Michael
Madsen) a tad difficult, and ends up buried alive in a coffin for her
troubles. This segues into a flashback sequence where the Bride remembers
her tutelage under Chinese kung fu master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu, playing a
second character after getting chopped to pieces in "Volume 1").
This side story with Liu is probably the film's best
20 minutes. We see the Bride as a younger version and still in love with
life and Bill. As Bill takes his leave, he warns her not to be so
"American" in front of Pai Mei, lest she risks a severe
punishment. And it's good advice, too, as we later find out what happened
to Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and that missing eye of hers. The other good
parts of "Volume 2" all involves Uma Thurman, who, while still
not fully convincing as an action star, is nevertheless captivating as a
woman determined to get bloody satisfaction. Even as she slashes and
punches her way through the film, Thurman's Bride still shows very real
It's easy to see where a leaner and meaner
"Volume 2" was supposed to fit into Tarantino's original 3-hour
film. Simply put, there is absolutely no reason why "Volume 2"
should run two hours. At the most, it's an hour film stretched beyond
credulity. Instead of a tight and focused 3-hour movie, Tarantino, through
what can only be called an Extreme Case of Narcissism, has allowed his
film to become a bloated two-parter.
Finally, with Elle Driver and Budd dispatched, the
Bride finally confronts Bill. Alas, this is where Tarantino decides to
indulge us in a long, long, oh dear God it's so long, series of
monologues and how, ultimately, Bill is just a big softy despite his mass
murdering tendencies. To say that Tarantino's script is even more random
than usual is an understatement. Having
executed an almost perfect hyper kinetic bloodbath with "Volume
1", "Volume 2" seems to indicate that Tarantino has run dry
of ideas. That is, unless you just loved those Tarantino-esque scenes that
go on endlessly where characters jabber about idiotic nonsense, in which
case you'll probably orgasm at the end of this 2-hour talkfest.
I don't want to give the impression that "Volume
2" is not a good movie. It's certainly entertaining when it just shuts
up and gets on with the business at hand. Are the rumors that
Tarantino went back to the cutting room floor and reattached some
extraneous bits to pad out the running time of "Volume 2" true?
Most definitely. You can bet the house on it, in fact. At least 40
minutes, perhaps more, of "Volume 2" exists for the sake of
Of course "Volume 2" is not a total loser.
Even when he's redundant and out of ideas, Tarantino is still more
entertaining than most Hollywood productions. The side story with the
Bride and Pai Mei is the most entertaining sequence of the bunch; it's
especially enjoyable to see Gordon Liu made up to look like one of those
Evil Shaolin Kung Fu Masters that Tarantino probably overdosed on as a kid
on Saturday mornings. That, and the Bride's hellish catfight with Elle
Driver in a trailer, makes "Volume 2" at least worthwhile.
In the long and short of it, if you want an action
film, stick to "Volume 1"; but if you want the irreverent and
endless chatter that Tarantino is most famous for, you'll love