20 August 2007

Tarantino (2004-2005)

2004 - Kill Bill: Vol. 2 - This is the half where the meat of the story was inserted, I see. A jilted lover seeks revenge. The jilting lover seeks revenge for that revenge. Because they're both professional killers, mass-slaughters ensue. Lesson: never have anything to do with professional killers.

Unlike the carnage she wrought in the first film, The Bride only kills one person this time out. It's not nearly as exciting a flick to watch. This could barely be called a martial arts film, though it does contain the training sequence the first film lacked. After her super-human rampage in the prior movie, it's terribly disappointing to see The Bride almost immediately taken down by a strip club bouncer living in a trailer in the desert. I suppose this is Tarantino's way of preparing us for the final half of the film; it's a reminder that The Bride is human. To be sure, she gets out of her impossible scrape by employing another super-human feat and has a brief marital arts battle with Elle, but the tone of the series is different.

My interest in the film only perked up when The Bride finally found Bill. She discovers him with their daughter, who she thought was lost. I couldn't wait to see how this played out. She came to kill Bill, but how can she kill the only parent her daughter's ever known? She can, but it isn't easy.

Speaking as a huge fan of the character, I see Superman a bit differently than Bill. Bill argued that, unlike other superheroes, Superman's true disguise was his Clark Kent suit and tie. Superman wakes up as Superman, he claimed, and has to put on his idea of a human identity in order to walk among us unnoticed. I disagree. This view of the character ignores an important part of his background: Superman was raised by human parents. His American, mid-western values are as a part of the character's make-up as his alien biology. Superman is culturally a human, just as a Russian raised from infancy by Americans in America would be culturally American. My point, however, is that Superman is almost always disguised in a secret identity. Wearing the red, blue and yellow, he's a public servant and the world's greatest hero. Wearing a suit and tie and accidentally knocking into things like a clumsy oaf, he's undercover in the big city, looking and listening for wrongs that need Superman's attention. Neither of these are his true identities. He's only truly himself when he's at home with his folks. There, he can relax as the simple, though gifted, farmboy that he is. But, Bill's/Quentin's argument worked well in the context of the film.

This series will work better edited into one film. Split in half, it's inevitable that the two will be compared against each other, even though neither tell the whole tale. Still, though there was some tasty story in this volume, it wasn't quite enough to fill the whole two hours as the action sequences did in the previous film. (8/10)

2005 - Sin City: The Big Fat Kill: "Designated Driver" - Tarantino's turn as "Guest Director" on Sin City refers to the scene in which Dwight imagines the corpse of Jackie Boy is talking to him as he drives to the tar pits. It was mostly just Tarantino's way of trying out Rodriguez's beloved HD camera. Outside of that, it's just a standard car conversation scene. It's shot through the windows. There are lights passing over the occupants' faces to simulate motion. Nothing particularly Tarantino-esque here. (5/10)