Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) - A Retrospective Review
"That woman deserves her revenge and... we deserve to die." — In the first half of Quentin Tarantino's rip roaring tale of revenge we saw Uma Thurman's character of The Bride set forth on a bloodthirsty spree of vengeance armed with her Hattori Hanzo sword. After cutting swathes through The Crazy 88 Yakuza gang and striking two names off her list of former fellow members of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, she now has only two names left before she goes after her former lover and boss, the Bill of the film's title.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) - A Retrospective Review
"Revenge is a dish best served cold." - Ancient Klingon Proverb — The quote that opens Quentin Tarantino's fourth feature film, Kill Bill Vol. 1 is taken from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), which the director cites as one of his favourite films. Opening a two-part, martial arts filled, revenge tale with a quote from a beloved science fiction film is the first small indicator that Tarantino is about to make a heady diversion away from the indie style crime films that had formed his 3 film oeuvre at this point in his career. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown were cut from similar cloth, had similar themes and shared similar influences in terms of the works of directors whom Tarantino was inspired by. As I've discussed in the retrospective articles relating to each of those films, they're steeped in film lore and the influence of countless filmmakers can be felt throughout. That said he very much carved his own niche and imbued those films with his own clearly defined style. In his sophomore film, Pulp Fiction he flirted with hyper-stylised characters, yet still managed to retain an air of realism. Whilst the Tarantinoverse in which these films are set has clear boundaries that can't be broken and sets some well needed confines in which his characters can exist, with Kill Bill Vol.1 Tarantino makes a concerted effort to break those boundaries apart and burst the bubble of verisimilitude and in turn dial the stylised craziness all the way up to 11. After the incredibly measured and slower paced Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol.1 truly is Quentin Tarantino unleashed. The shackles of low budget independent filmmaking have been left to rust as he confidently strides into bold, fresh territory. Whilst gritty pulp crime novels would provide much of the influential material for his previous films, Kill Bill would be influenced by myriad sources that the director held dear, many of them far more trashy and low brow than the inspiration for the likes of Reservoir Dogs. Hong Kong action cinema, Japanese Anime, both traditional American and Spaghetti Westerns, Grind house, Film Noir, the many different styles of martial arts films of the '70s and more would blend together in Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2, sometimes seamlessly but occasionally with purposefully jarring transitions between the styles.