15 August 2007

Tarantino (2003)

2003 - Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - I've been waiting to see this movie for years. At first, I refused to buy the DVDs due to some honest, though infuriating, remarks from a Miramax exec. After giving in and buying the "non-special" editions, it was too late: I had to wait for this 'thon to get going. Was it worth the 4-year wait? Yes, I think it was. This flick is a ball of concentrated ass-kicking. I had a blast watching it.

This has got to be the best martial arts film ever directed by a white guy. I'm sure getting the bad-ass Sonny Chiba to be your fight choreographer helps significantly. As I remarked to C after the first fight between The Bride and Vernita Green, the action sequences are the "real deal." They're super-fast and super-violent, with just a touch of Tarantino charm (as when we see the school bus arrive and drop Green's daughter off amid the fury of a knife fight). They're as fun and exciting to watch as an authentic Asian martial arts movie. I was reminded a bit of my favorite, Duel to the Death.

I loved the soundtrack, which is always one of Tarantino's strong points. This time, he cleverly assembles song selections taken from other movies and TV shows. Uma was excellent in the lead role. She conveyed the proper amount of strength and icy resolve to sell the part. The cinematography was beautiful, capturing the carnage in well-framed shots. I dug the story: I'm always a fan of a good revenge flick.

My one complaint: I think the anime sequence should've been cut. I like anime just fine, but it felt a little incongruous stuffed into the middle of this film. It also takes the focus away from The Bride's story for the first and only time, which I felt was a mistake. I don't really care about O-Ren's past; I just want to see her kick her ass kicked by The Bride. I would've made this a part of a series of backstory animes, to be released separately like The Animatrix.

To Quentin: for the love of Pete, just get it out of your system. Film a full-on foot fetish movie, sell it to Vivid or some other adult company, and be done with it. During "The Bride Conquers Atrophy" scene -- not having the miss-wired brain to appreciate the sexual aspects of it -- all I could think was: "Man, shoes really do mess up feet." (second thought: "Buck was painting her toenails?")

Though never reaching the level of greatness of Pulp Fiction, this is still quite a tasty burger. (9/10)