(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 44
4.5 out of 5 🐙
Twice as nice as Kill Bill, Vol. 1)? No. I liked the first one better because it was more of a pulse pounding action movie. This movie had a more deliberate pace. The scenes ran much longer than I expected them to run. They didn’t approach Matrix: Reloaded levels of interminability, but I think they could have been more concise.
The dialogue was good, but it wasn’t the snap crystal quick quality of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. The acting was fine, as it always is when Tarantino directs. Gordon Liu stole the show with his Pai Mei character. Astute viewers will remember he played Johnny Mo, the head male bodyguard of Lucy Liu, Japanese crime boss, in volume one. This is particularly funny because Pai Mei is a very unapologetic hater of the Japanese. Aside from his hatred of the Japanese, his abrasive personality and dogmatic cockiness make him the funniest and liveliest part of the movie.
Michael Madsen returns to the big screen of substance with his portrayal of a broken down ex assassin and brother of Bill. He’s down in the dumps and not much fun to watch. I was expecting a lot more charisma from the man who cut a cop’s ear off in Reservoir Dogs while dancing to 70s one-hit wonders.
Daryl Hannah was pure evil. At age 44, she is still very easy on the eyes and has a singular, silky voice. Her comeuppance is one of the film’s best and funniest moments.
Uma Thurman is great once again. She runs the gamut of emotions and each feeling is genuine.
The plot moved a lot slower than the first movie. There was simply a lot more talking and a lot less action. The talking was still good. But instead of having the hairs stand up on your arms from the frenetic fireworks on screen, you had to sit back and enjoy David Carradine wax philosophical with most of the crew.
As Bill, Carradine is very understated. He doesn’t show any emotion at almost any time. Only when he is asked to give the bride away do we see that he can be truly hurt. But his stoicism is not a negative. He’s a bad operator.
Volume One laid claim to the elaborate fights. Volume two had fights that had less flourish but more surprise. It was clearly Tarantino fucking with the standard conventions of Hollywood action movies.
The nice art house touches complimented the look and feel of the film. There was Thurman driving in her triumphant blue car set against a black and white world. There was the black and white scene between Bill and The Bride outside of the church that was sandwiched in between two standard, full color scenes. There was the grainy veneer straight out of 70s kung fu flicks that covered Pai Mei’s ancient home and training grounds. There was no surprise animation in this one, but there were plenty of surprising views.
All in all, this is a movie that may not live up to Tarantino’s rarified standards for dialogue. However, its many other strokes of brilliance are dead on.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)