Kill Bill: Volume two (2004)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Written by Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman
(number 426)

A little bummed about this one being lower in the list than the first, on account of I actually prefer it. I find the sequences more fun and less bloody, which are a bonus to me. The second Kill Bill came out a year after the first one and I remember there being some drama around that – like Tarantino actually wanted it released quite soon after the first one, but the studios fought him over it. I don’t know how much of that is true though.

I adore the Pai Mei sequence the most – it makes me want to watch old kung fu movies and newer ones starring Jet Li. The filter used makes it look older than the rest of the film and instead of being jarring it’s actually quite comforting. Anna loved this sequence too, she laughed every time he stroked his beard. I love the crash zooms used in this part and the landscape it’s filmed in is very beautiful as well.

So much of this film, and the last one had the ‘wiggle your toe’ sequence in the last film, is demonstrating the incredible force of will the Bride has. That she can expend so much time and energy honing her body to do what she wants, even when it feels impossible is the testament to why she can do what she does. It’s also a nice bit of characterisation which makes you care about her more.

Great use of Chekhov’s gun in this film, in the five point open palm exploding heart technique. Which is just gloriously over the top and dramatic when it is used in the final conversation between Bill and Beatrix.

Does it make me love the people? In this film, yes. The tender scenes at the start with her friends and fiance, talking to and trusting Bill set up her human side, which I found utterly lacking from the first volume.

The buried alive sequence with Bud is really upsetting, I warned Anna that it was coming up because I remember being fairly badly traumatised by it when I saw this film at the Reading cinema when it first came out. Remembering that we know she gets out of it helps, and it leads into the gloriousness that is Pai Mei so it’s a bit easier to watch now. Not something I would ever choose to have included in a film myself but then… I’m not Tarantino.

Bechdel test: Early on we see the Bride talking to a number of girlfriends and the pastor’s wife at the church, however I don’t think any of those women are named (oh it turns out they are named in the end credits, so this counts). She fights extensively with Elle Driver and there’s numerous grunts and groans during the traded blows but they don’t talk until they speak about the swords, which is mostly about Bill and Pai Mei.
Elle: That’s right, I killed your master, and now I’m going to kill you with your own sword no less. Which, in the very near future will become my sword.
Beatrix: Bitch
Elle: You don’t have a future.

That’s probably a pass, yeah? The Bride spends a lot less time talking to women in this film. Oh wait, she definitely talks to BB about not-a-man so it definitely passes the Bechdel a few times. Nice one QT.

Best line:
Pai Mei: It’s the wood that should fear your hand, not the other way around!

State of Mind: Yeah, it’s great fun and aside from the buried alive creepiness I definitely enjoy this one more than the first volume. Anna nodded and agreed that it was a good double feature. You just have to come into Tarantino films *knowing* that they’re Tarantino films, and forgive him a bunch of weird stylistic choices and over the top scenes.

Watched movie count


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