Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Kill Bill, Volume 2

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    15,016
    Likes Received:
    3,349
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    [​IMG]

    Kill Bill, Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
    Directed by Quentin Tarantino

    Studio: Miramax
    Year: 2004
    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:11080pAVC codec
    Running Time: 137 minutes
    Rating: R
    Audio: PCM 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French
    Subtitles: English, Spanish, others
    Region: A-B-C
    MSRP: $ 34.99

    Release Date: September 9, 2008
    Review Date: September 5, 2008



    The Film

    4/5

    Kudos to writer-director Quentin Tarantino for not simply dishing up more of the same malevolent merriment in the second half of Kill Bill. Measured, stoic, and masterfully controlled, Kill Bill, Volume 2 is every bit as entertaining as Volume 1 was but in a completely different way and with a daring kind of graceful sensibility that I actually preferred over the kaleidoscopic free-for-all of the first half. Those expecting a zippy rehash of the previous mayhem will naturally be greatly disappointed, but this second film stands on its own as a baronial exercise in exposition and fulfillment.

    Having eliminated two of the five persons on her self-determined “hit list” in Volume 1 of Kill Bill, The Bride/Black Mamba/Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) now goes after the remaining three enemies: Budd (Michael Madsen), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), and, of course, Bill himself (David Carradine). Along the way we get backstory about the wedding rehearsal which was disrupted by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, find out why the Bride had run away from the gang in the first place, and observe her lengthy training session with oriental master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu). Though Beatrix was very much in control during the first part, she is much more a target in this concluding half of the story.

    As he did in Volume 1, writer-director Tarantino goes back and forth in time routinely, and it’s to his great credit that the audience is never confused by these sudden transitions. Sometimes he does alter the look of the footage to correspond to times different from the present, but even without those stylish touches, it isn’t difficult at all to follow the narrative. Once again, there are some stunning set pieces, my favorite being the burial alive sequence where the audio rather than the visuals bears the brunt of the tension and does so admirably. The training sequence with Pai Mei is also rather mesmerizing, Tarantino’s deft compositions corroborating the skillful warrior and hardened assassin that Beatrix had demonstrated so fluently in Volume 1 but which we took on faith since we had no way to understand how someone so beautiful and fragile looking could mask such a lethally punishing persona.

    Uma Thurman once again displays an astonishing presence both physical and emotional as (the now identified) Beatrix Kiddo. Both delicious and deadly, Thurman’s performance in both volumes of this film can’t be hailed loudly enough. Michael Madsen’s laidback, paunchy Budd is also one of the film’s purest joys while Daryl Hannah has some superb moments as the treacherous Elle. David Carradine is perhaps a little more philosophical and a little less involved in action than one expects as Bill, but that’s probably Tarantino’s little ironic joke on the audience that the person we’ve waited through two movies to see the Bride square off against isn’t that much of an adversary. Look fast and you’ll see Samuel L. Jackson as the rehearsal pianist in a quick but not-so-effective cameo. Much funnier is Michael Parks showing up in this volume as Esteban Vihaio, a mentor of Bill’s.

    Volume 2 of Kill Bill is wordier and less frenetic than Volume 1 was, but taken on its own terms, it’s a skillfully designed and utterly satisfying flip side of the Kill Bill coin, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable.


    Video Quality

    4.5/5

    The 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented here in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. If anything, the second half of Kill Bill looks even more spectacular on Blu-ray than the first half did. The black and white sequence at White Pines is stunning in its effusive grayscale design with tons of detail and gorgeous black levels (though whites do occasionally bloom, likely on purpose). Most of the color footage has a lushness and detail that puts one right in the picture. For example, Michael Parks’ contact lenses are easily spotted in his close-ups. In fact, only a few seconds of line twitter spoil what is otherwise an absolutely exemplary presentation. The film has been divided into 19 chapters.

    Audio Quality

    5/5

    The PCM 5.1 (6.9 Mbps) audio mix could not be more grandly presented. The music lushly surrounds the viewer with a wide expanse, and the sound effects are all superb. The lifelike thundering sounds of hammering and dirt being spread on the casket during the burial sequence make those moments so chilling that they’re worth the price of the disc themselves channeling to the subwoofer some grand LFE. True, because there are fewer kick ass moments in the film compared to the first movie, the opportunities for lots of ambient effects are lessened, but that is no fault of the transfer. The soundtrack here is masterful.

    Special Features

    2.5/5

    All of the bonus features are in 480i.

    “The Making of Kill Bill Volume 2is an effective EPK for the second half of the saga with Quentin Tarantino, producer Lawrence Bender, and much of the principal cast talking about the film and their parts in its production. Specifically Tarantino explains why part two is less action-filled and more philosophical than part one. It runs 26 minutes.

    “Damoe” deleted scene is a very entertaining outtake featuring David Carradine in a quick paced fight sequence that runs 3 ½ minutes.

    “Chingon” musical performance features director-composer Robert Rodriguez performing music (some featured in the movie) at the Kill Bill Volume 2 premiere in 2004. This runs 11 ½ minutes.


    In Conclusion

    4/5 (not an average)

    Kill Bill, Volume 2 brings the story of the battered and vengeful Bride to a stoic and satisfying conclusion. The Blu-ray presentation of the film is a stellar achievement and is highly recommended.

    The package also contains a $10 rebate coupon for those who are upgrading their DVD version of the film to Blu-ray.


    Matt Hough
    Charlotte, NC
     
  2. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,389
    Likes Received:
    754
    Location:
    North of the 49th
    Real Name:
    Stephen J. Hill
    I have to say that the more I ponder on Kill Bill, the more I realise that Volume 2 is my favourite of the two. Why? Because it shows responsibility for the violence that preceded it. Beatrix Kiddo's emotional breakdown at the end is one of cinema's most powerful moments, and Uma Thurman plays it in a way that never feels forced or manipulative.
     
  3. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,540
    Likes Received:
    177
    Can't wait for both of these!
     
  4. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    11,639
    Likes Received:
    618
    Location:
    Since 2006
    Real Name:
    Cameron Yee
    I'm looking forward to this AND the $20 rebate for both films!
     
  5. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    2,637
    Likes Received:
    116
    Location:
    Toronto area, Canada
    Real Name:
    Craig
    I'm wondering if you could tell me this: a) is the rebate good for purchases in Canada, and if so, b) how do you prove you have the SD discs? Cut the UPC codes out? Thanks. I know this is trivial, but it may affect where/when I buy Vol. 1/2. Will whet my appetite by watching these now, been a while...
     
  6. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,465
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    South Florida
    I agree that they work on entirely different levels. While I hope to see The Whole Bloody Affair version some day, I'm glad I'll have the theatrical vol. 1 and 2 installments.
     
  7. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Messages:
    1,329
    Likes Received:
    1
    Real Name:
    Michael Osadciw
    Cameron...what's the $20 rebate?
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    11,639
    Likes Received:
    618
    Location:
    Since 2006
    Real Name:
    Cameron Yee
    Kill Bill Vol. 1 also has this coupon.
     
  9. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 1998
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    15
    Real Name:
    Jeff Adkins
    I agree. Volume 2 is the far better film, even though I enjoy them both.
     

Share This Page