Written & directed by Quentin Tarantino
Running Time: 110 mins
Ecclesiastes (1:9) tells us, "there is no new thing under the sun." Quentin Tarantino seems determined to endorse the idea so utterly that he might actually bore us to death making his point. His new film, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (divided into halves by executives at Miramax in order to... (1) double the potential revenue from the film, and/or (2) save us from having to sit through 4 hours of this operatic navel-gazing cum absurd theater as blood-bath) is an obsessed homage to Hong Kong Kung-fu action films, Japanese Samurai movies, American blaxploitation films of the 70s and Sergio Leone's Italian Westerns (the Spaghetti ones).
Given the references (and the author), it is not surprising that the resulting pastiche is gory (the amount of blood that sprays from severed arteries could only be measured in acre/feet, the unit of volume used to measure the capacity of reservoirs); it is clever - in the worst sense of the word; it verges close to incoherence, to be saved at the brink of sheer pointlessness only by a story too simple to lose sight of.
Uma Thurman, whose character's name is bleeped out every time it is spoken (see comment re: cleverness above), is attacked by a league of assassins on her wedding day. The killers mistakenly leave her for dead, so that 4 years and a coma later, she is able to exact her revenge on them, one by one. There are five in all, led by Bill from the title. It gives nothing away to say that Uma takes care of two in Vol. 1, because the story is predictable if nothing else.. Given that predictability, one can assume the remaining three will be the objects of vengeance in Vol. 2. Both (1) why the assassins attacked her in the first place, and (2) why she is so determined to attack them back, are questions one can assume will be addressed by the sequel. We cannot, however, assume that anyone but the most juvenile, NASCAR-watching, fake wrestling fan will care more than a whit about the answers.
The films best attributes are (1) the soundtrack and (2) the score. Both are both fantastic. Tarantino missed his calling as a Hollywood music supervisor. Michael Parks gives an inspired performance of the small-town, hick sheriff. But he is only on screen for 4