*** Official KILL BILL: VOLUME 2 Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Kill Bill: Volume 2". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Went to the only midnight showing in or around the Twin Cities about 30 miles away from home - glad I made the trip. The film ticked at a different pace than the first, perhaps slower (read deliberate), but rich nonetheless because of the dialogue.

    Uma shines brighter here than in the first. It was a joy to see David Carradine play his flute again, a la Kwai Chang Caine. Uma's training sessions with Pai Mei really stood out for me - the master really wove a riot with his acerbic charm and tenderness.

    Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - 4/4, vintage Tarantino dazzle and violence.

    Kill Bill: Vol. 2 - 3.75/4, vintage Tarantino dialogue and resolution.
     
  3. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    I loved it, as I fully expected to. Definitely more depth with some of the characters here. A connection I'll draw with Vol. 1 is that while O-Ren's character is really fleshed out, motivation-wise, by the anime sequence in Vol. 1, Bill gets to do so for his own character in the final scenes of this movie, through the dialogue. Wonderful stuff, which I assume will only make Vol. 1 an even richer viewing experience now that the whole story has unfolded.

    I should also point this out in the review thread, for people who haven't seen it yet--stay through the credits! I mean all of them, to the last second. They're pretty damn long, but it's absolutely worth it. A few nice character details pop up. And, at the final, final moment, there's a little outtake from the Vol. 1 House of Blue Leaves scene that's worth a chuckle.
     
  4. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Color me underwhelmed. I really enjoyed the first film, not just for the action, but the clarity of purpose. Vol. 2 seems to drift in and out of the scenes, lingering on moments that mean little in the context of the film. I can understand the split decision, as this film is tonally different than the first. Sometimes I appreciated it, and sometimes I didn't. Uma Thurman does a stand-up job in this, however. Very impressive performance.

    Like the first film, QT tries a bunch of different techniques, and some of them really work, and some exist to showcase a technique.

    The highlight of the film are the scenes at the end between BB, Bill, and the Bride. Excellent writing and direction, as well as incredible interaction. Literally worth the price of admission.

    On the way, however, there were numerous bits that felt like filler. QT is a genius, for certain, but a genius in need of some strong feedback.

    Glad I saw the film, and glad most people like it.

    7/10,
    Chuck
     
  5. Travis_W

    Travis_W Supporting Actor

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    I was really taken away with Volume 1. I had never experienced a film so fun and so near perfection like I had that night on October 10, 2003. Kill Bill Volume 1 was excellent, four stars, and all that cliche stuff.

    I went to Volume 2 expecting a differnt kind of film. I got a different kind of film. I liked Volume 2 a lot but I was just waiting for something. I'm an action guy and it felt to me like all the action was in the first half and the second half was just an overblown ending.

    All in all, worth seeing but I think it's better to watch both films back to back.

    3 out of 4
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    I saw volume 2 after watching volume 1 today, so it was fresh on my mind, and the contrast between the 2 films seemed like night and day, and not in a good way. Is it always good to be different just to be different? In this case, I vote no.

    Volume 2 is overly bloated with bits that derail the pacing of the film, and it meanders all over the place in many spots with little in terms of payoff for the viewer. I think there's a good 90 minute film in volume 2. As it stands, there's 30-40 minutes that could have been trimmed away without losing any of the story flow or impact.

    The final chapter left me uninterested and a bit on the bored side with the resolution. It felt like watching a poorly staged TV drama. Or it was like Tarantino got such a rush at directing all the action sequences, that the dramatic character scenes just didn't leap off the written page and become compelling cinema.

    I give it 2.5 stars, or a C+ (if you liked volume 1, go see it, but there's no way I'd recommend someone who hadn't seen volume 1 to go see it at all).

    ----

    Upon second viewing, I think I'll bump up my rating to:

    3 stars, or a grade of B.
     
  7. Chris Parham

    Chris Parham Stunt Coordinator

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    After seeing Vol 2 today, I have to count myself among those who feel that these two movies must be re-edited into one big film.
    Usually my wife and I like to give a movie a star rating (out of five) after viewing. When leaving the theater after vol 1, we turned to each other and were speachless. We decided that although beautiful and fun, we could not rate it as we had just seen half a movie.
    I felt the same way today. I have just seen half a movie! While I know that is the point of naming them volumes instead of parts, I really feel that this film in particular suffers from not being shown in one sitting.
    Just my 2 cents
     
  8. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Kill Bill: Volume 2

    It has been a while since I remember a film that was supposed to be shown as one complete treatise is broken down into two parts and the decision made only after principal photography has taken place. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (V2) is an example of a film with such an afterthought. Those expecting the same intensity as Volume 1 (V1) are going to be a little disappointed.

    V2 picks up where V1 ends with the Bride (Uma Thurman) going after the remaining three individuals who have done her wrong – Budd (Michael Madsen), Elle (Daryl Hannah) and finally, Bill (David Carradine). But this second part is not as tightly edited as the first one. I can certainly understand the change in tone in V2 but there are some scenes that just felt added or too long and only for the sake of justifying the film’s two-part volume. The scenes involving the wedding rehearsal and the bar where Budd works quickly come to mind. Here, because of the powers that be, we are forced to sit through a longer version of the film in two parts, when a more definitive and shortened director’s cut is said to be in the works.

    I enjoyed V2 only because I am able to put it in perspective in relation to V1. V2 still stands on its own but with limited success. As a standalone film, I wonder what my reaction would have been had V1 not been around. Even with its excess baggage, V2 is worthwhile only because of the underpinnings provided by V1. These two films really need each other. It is silly to even rate V2 on its own because both the first and second parts complement each other – V1 for the action sequences and forward-story, and V2 for its back-story and character buildup. However, V2 is not quite satisfying on its own. But when viewed with V1, they completely come together as one – a vintage Quentin Tarantino film.

    Whether its 30 or however many minutes that end up on the cutting room floor, we can only hope that Tarantino’s final cut of Kill Bill will be the ultimate version that doesn’t succumb to the pressures put on by studio executives while at the same time trusting an audience that when a film is good, people will sit through it in one sitting even if it is 3-plus hours long without the need of breaking it up into two parts.

    ~Edwin
     
  9. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] (out of four)
    Seen 16 April 2004 at Loews Harvard Square #1 (first-run)

    And now the question is, how could Quentin Tarantino have originally conceived this as one film?

    Ignore for the moment that the two volumes together add up to four hours - the original cut was reportedly "only" three hours, which for a movie like this would still be pushing the limits of endurance. It would still have made for an oddly structured movie - the first half filled with over-the-top bloodshed and little of the witty dialogue that Tarantino is famous for, the second half more internal, with brief outbursts of violence around a strange sort of tragic love story. The audience would be either exhausted or impatient by the end. Besides, there's not much carry-over of characters between the two movies; even those that The Bride (Uma Thurman) left alive are nowhere to be found, and others are introduced in this segment. That, plus the great cliffhanger (beautifully followed up), makes this feel much more like two movies rather than one split in half. Maybe Harvey Weinstein came up with the idea for business reasons, but Tarantino makes it work creatively.

    Tarantino plays with different genres this time around. Volume 1 featured anime, yakuza, 90s-style kung fu, and was in general pretty modern. Volume 2 opens in clear black and white, with even the typeface of the credits referencing tough-guy (or, in this case, gal) movies of the forties and fifties. Along the way, there will be homages and spoofs of the Shaw Brothers kung fu movies of the 70s, spaghetti westerns, and horror. A training session featuring Gordon Liu is straight from the Shaw Brothers, and the action sequences take the form of a Leone western: An alarmingly quick resolution for the amount of tension built up as the sides size each other up.

    What really makes this movie is David Carradine as Bill. We've already gotten a glimpse at Uma Thurman as The Bride, but Bill has up until now been just a shadowy, evil figure. Here, we get to see him be more charismatic, and even outright friendly. We get to see enough of him that his being the father of the Bride's child makes sense for reasons other than low self-esteem. The scenes with Thurman, Carradine, and young Perla Haney-Jardine are strange but also redefine the characters, both for the audience and the characters themselves. After all the blood and guts of the first movie, this one becomes mental in the end.

    Not all mental, of course. Much of the action is quick, but it's also brutal, with one perfect gross-out moment that got a big, satisfied "eeeew!" from the audience I saw the film with. And several bits are quite funny; while not quite as wall-to-wall with the action as the first movie, it's just as entertaining. And even with all that goes on, there's still bits that are left out. There are several threads that are never quite picked up on that aren't necessary to the central story of The Bride and Bill, but left me curious regardless. That it's left out is fitting, though - it allows the audience to feel all the rest is out there, but that this, the story of Bill, The Bride, and B.B., is what really matters.

    NOTE: A number of reviews, among them Roger Ebert's, stick the name of Uma Thurman's character right into the review. This is something of a jackass thing to do, if you ask me. Why I think that might be considered a spoiler, so stop now until you've seen the movie.


    Still here? Okay, what The Bride's name is is not important (although knowing it does change the meaning implicit in how Bill addresses her in the first movie's flashback), but that she has one is. Through the first movie and the start of this one, she's an anonymous force of nature. Then she takes an alias, and we see who she wants to be. We don't start to learn much about her as a person until we've learned her real name; that's when she becomes something other than an assassin and more of an individual. And then, when B.B. calls her something else, that's who she's going to be, or at least wants to. Names have power in this movie, and spilling The Bride's is to remove some of it.
     
  10. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    It has a feeling of being incomplete. All threads were addressed for better or worse but the connection between Hanzo and Bill.

    Even though the end was a bit anticlimactic I did enjoy it, it just didn't feel like that was all there was supposed to be.
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I was one of those people that screamed when they decided late to release Kill Bill in two different films. I wasn't a happy camper about that development! After seeing Volume 1, I was pleasently surprised how good of a film it was, but I'm afraid, I can't say the same thing about Volume 2. This latest film bored me to tears in several different scenes and the film editing was terrible in my opinion. I'm going to see it one more time to see if a second viewing will effect my current opinion of it, but at this time, I thought the film was lacking in holding my attention.







    Crawdaddy
     
  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Kill Bill Vol. 2
    9 of 10

    Certainly the first film was a clear blend of Hong Kong 70's kung-fu, Leone's spaghetti westerns, and samurai epics, with a touch of DePalma and other sources thrown in for good measure, and the 2nd can be described in a similar way. However, it could be said that the first film was a lot more kung-fu/samurai than Leone. In the same way KB2 is far more Leone.

    Specifically it is Once Upon a Time in the West. The long, slow tension of the opening ambush scene appears again and again in KB2. Henry Fonda's merciless killer shows up in Bill, or perhaps its a touch of Lee Van Cleef from Good, Bad, Ugly. In any case these are characters willing to let the moments before the action linger and work up a sweat rather than just jumping into it. That is the theme in the film, as it was in those Leone films. It appreciates the culture of these professional killers, it recognizes their own appreciation of their world, especially the moments of violence, similar to how Chiba and Uma appreciate the sword in KB1.

    So you have a lot more posturing, pondering, and character interaction than the outright bloodbath of KB1. The violence might still be on the Pulp Fiction level of course, but the action now occurs between a minimal set of characters.

    There is still a scene of HK kung-fu training done with all the classic stylings of such films (zooms that first swing to the side only to pan back to the character, rapid zooming in and out for that goofy exclamation point on the dialog that is so deliciously campy). But this film is Walken talking to Hopper in True Romance, or any number of the Leone showdowns I've mentioned.

    And of course the score by RZA is really dialed into that theme as well, lots of Morricone stuff appears as well as cues that follow both that tradition as well as oriental themes.

    In the end you might find yourself like my wife, longing to know even more about these characters, full of questions about how these two met or what happened between two others to drive them apart. This is the mark of great QT writing, the characters are colorful and interesting, stylized dialog and moments leap off the screen in the best sort of cinematic manner and leave you wanting more.

    In short, QT makes films that realize they are films and celebrate it. They do what film can do better than any other art, they recreate life in a more vividly colorful version that is larger than life. I sat watching the credits thinking about how I really like this sort of filmmaking more than "reality" versions of drama that merely serve to show us what we see everyday firsthand anyway.


    PS - there is a moment featuring dirt that was as funny in a QT manner as the funniest things in Pulp Fiction
     
  13. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of 4 [​IMG]s
    with a horrible last 30 minutes dragging the rating down.

    The first hour and 1/2 were fantastic
     
  14. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Disappointing.

    After experiencing the exhilirating, kinetic, explosively entertaining Kill Bill Volume 1, it's hard not to go in to V2 expecting more of the same and not come away disappointed.

    Unfortunately, while the first film felt energized, this one feels subdued. Everything has been toned down. Violence, humor, pace, homages, etc. They really feel like two different films. The first one was full of action with little dialog, while this one is heavy on dialog with virtually NO action at all, which surprised me. It does feel padded.

    I still liked it though, the character expansions were welcome and it did have some very funny moments and witty dialog. Was just expecting more of a payoff.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  15. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2 (for Volume 2 alone)

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (for both together)

    Well, Kill Bill Volume 2, caught me very much off-guard, particularly the final chapter. But, I'd have to say it was as great as I expected. The languid pace and intense drama really came as a surprise, but I've learned to expect the unexpected from Quentin Tarantino and KBV2 is indeed unpredictable. I think the films work best when considered as one big 3 1/2 hour film, since both volumes kind of feel like they're missing something seperately.

    The actors are spectacular in Volume 2. Uma Thurman and David Carradine should both get Oscar nominations next year, as well as Tarantino for writing and directing. I really liked the dramatic turn that the film made, especially after how light-hearted Volume 1 felt. It really made me realize that Kill Bill is more than just some fun homage to exploitation movies. It's a real film with real characters, a real story, and real dramatic depth.

    Technically, the film isn't as dazzling as Volume 1. There are no long steadicam shots, the cinematography is less flashy, and the music is less prominent. That's what Volume 1 was for, and it all takes a backseat to the drama and the dialog in Volume 2 and kudos to Tarantino for making that so.

    I'm really going to have to see Volume 2 a second time, as I don't think I completely grasped everything the first time since I was so shocked by the difference in tone and style. But I really feel that Volume 2 is a subtle masterpiece that a single viewing simply won't reveal everything.
     
  16. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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    In Volume 1 Tarantino created a set of expectations in his audience, and in Volume 2 he plays with them. (mega-spoilers below. Watch the movie first! You have been warned.)

    Volume 1 is a bloodbath. Every scene is drenched in red. There is no restraint shown whatsoever and everything comes across so unrelentingly over-the-top that you find yourself laughing more than cringing. In part 2, while Tarantino does deliver a couple of brief ultra-violent scenes, the plot unravels at a much more leisurely pace. As others have pointed out, it is very much like the difference between a good blood-gushing samurai exploitation flick and a Leone-style spaghetti western. Those who were expecting another hyper-kinetic killing spree are most definitely going to feel short-changed.

    michael Madsen wears a razor-blade on a chain that quite effectively brings to mind his ear-severing antics from Resevoir Dogs. (as Mr. Blonde) When the Bride is tied and helpless before him you can't help but dread the brutal, bloody tortures that are to come. The tension only builds when Elle Driver gets Budd's all-too-willingly offered promise to make her suffer before she dies! You find yourself mentally preparing to endure the sick and twisted gore-fest to come. However, Tarantino thwarts this build-up by delivering an (almost) bloodless resolution. The Bride escapes with little more than bloody knuckles, dirty clothes, and a burning desire for a glass of water.

    The death of Bill is also a thwarting of expectations. After the intense battle with the crazy-88's in volume 1 Tarantino's audience must expect some kind of grand, bellicose resolution to the title conflict. Bill *must* die, and as spectacularly as possible! How many exotic warriors will be serving as his personal bodyguards? How many faceless minions will the Bride have to slice and dice before she and Bill finally face each other in a bloody no-holds-barred duel to the death? How sweet her revenge will finally be! Instead of meeting these expectations, Tarantino has the Bride walk into Bill's surprisingly domestic home completely without opposition in the most anti-climatic way possible. Bill's only bodyguard is his daughter who, ironically, probably managed to extend his life a lot longer than the Crazy-88's extended O-Ren Ishii's. (Remember, they had to fit a viewing of Shogun assassin in there!) Bill doesn't snivel, blubber, posture, or preen on his way to his inevitable doom as other villains would. Instead, he seeks to make peace with the Bride, not to save his own life, but to ease the passing of the loser. When the Bride finally does use the 5-point exploding heart technique on Bill (One thing we did expect!) it results in a bizarre death scene that seems more like the a parting of friends than a final show-down between bitter enemies. Instead of the severed arteries we were expecting, the final battle serves up one chewed blood-cap that results in a tiny trickle of blood, easily wiped away as Bill straightens himself out for his final five steps. The Bride leaves, not as a victorious warrior ready to talk off into the setting sun, but as a mother who now must care for her daughter and grieve for the father of her child. This is a huge betrayal of the single-minded lust for revenge that characterized volume 1!

    If Kill Bill had been released as one film it would have been a very oddly structured one, with the action climax occurring less than half-way through the film. Still, it is innovative and plays with the audience's expectations relentlessly. Tarantino could have chosen to build tension with a western theme and then deliver a blood-drenched climax Samurai style, but instead he chose to go against convention and do things completely backwards. Very refreshing!

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]/[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  17. MatS

    MatS Screenwriter

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    I'll keep it simple
    a great conclusion to a great ride

    Kill Bill Volume 1 - A+
    Kill Bill Volume 2 - A-
    The 4th Film By QT - A

    saw a follow up review on Ebert and Roeper
    who is editing this show or is it just lazy reporting? Ebert brings up the black mamba snake scene and mentions that Uma Thurman brings a print out of ..... it was handwriten notes not a printout. Yeah I guess semantics but compound that with the fact it was Daryl Hannah and not Uma Thurman
     
  18. Randall Z

    Randall Z Stunt Coordinator

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    I really enjoyed it. I thought the dialogue was vintage QT, and the break from the blood bath that was V1 was surprising and refreshing. Sure it dragged in some spots, but the overall effect was that we got to know the main characters (Bill and Uma) very well. QT did a good job of showing the emotional connection that Bill had to Uma and vice versa.

    I loved V1 and felt that V2 was just a notch below.

    I agree with those who said that they don't know how it would've worked as one film. Unless, the idea was to edit it completely differently with the gore from V1 spread out more. Even though they both have the same story, the tempo and tone are completely different. I found this to be refreshing, and look forward to multiple viewings!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] /[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  19. Chazz_S

    Chazz_S Supporting Actor

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    I LOVED it. I think a lot of people were going in to this expecting the same kind of frenzied pacing and energy as Vol. 1. If that's the case, you're bound to be disappointed.

    I went in to it eager to soak up all the back story behind the the events of Vol. 1, and it delivered that and more. Fantastic!

    edit: Just read Terry st's synopsis- you sir, are dead on!
     
  20. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I saw Kill Bill: Volume 2 on opening night and must confess that I wasn't quite ready for the film I saw. I had gone in, having already been forewarned that there wasn't going to be much fighting in this one, expecting that this would be the more dialogue heavy portion of Quentin's exploitation/70's western epic. What I found was far more...conventional. In that sense, I was a bit disappointed.

    On a revisit, I was prepared to see the film on its own terms and came away happier. However, the film still isn't the slam dunk that Volume 1 was. I didn't have the same kind of amazing compulsion to rewatch as I had during many QT movies, V1 included. But there are some absolutely brilliant sequences that are the equal of those in V1. In what is quite a reversal, I am now very interested in seeing the combined film in the hopes that it trims the fat from V2 and marries it with the brilliant V1 to make a film as perfect as Pulp Fiction.

    The film opens with a bang, but actually one we've already seen before. Similar to the opening of The Two Towers, it starts with the Bride being shot and then goes to a third-wall-breaking monologue by the Bride as she drives on to meet Bill. This film is much more liberal in its use of black and white than the first film, which used it only for the brutal opening and for the controversial Crazy 88 bloodbath. It made me think that perhaps Quentin was self conscious of the first films black and white sequence and wanted to dispell it by interjecting it in the second one, but that's just an impression I got.

    My disappointed reaction to the film started early with what felt like a very superfluous and overly long conversation between Bill and the Bride. While I believe it was going for a type of quiet menace but it just came off as a bad bit of bad sitcom for a bit that would have been better suited as exposition during their final confrontation.

    The film moves into what I think is a proper gear with the section entitled, 'Elle and I'. Although opening with an overly long dressing down of The Bride's next would be victim by his boss, as soon as he is driving back to his trailer the film doesn't hit a stumbling block until near the end. From here on it has nice elements of dialogue, some good surprises, a great hand to hand fight with an excellent outcome, and a terrific flashback to The Bride's training. In here, we are given a very sure-handed view of The Bride's training with a very retro looking Gordon Liu (who was Johnny Mo in V1). Not only a great nod to the old school Kung Fu flicks that started this ride, but it also plays out to be supremely relevant to the Bride. Wonderful work here and the one of the few sequences that really felt in line with the homage feel of the first film.

    This is probably my main problem with the second film. Many of the elements, including the final confrontation with Bill, don't feel in line with how it starts. Despite a bit of nice Leone style buryin' and desert walkin', I thought Budd's section was pretty conventional. The run in with Esteban, which seemed ripe with '70s women in jeopardy potential turned into little more than a chance for Michael Parks, who played the sheriff in V1, to flex his wings. In what feels like a list of missed opportunities, we really don't get some nice spaghetti western shootouts, we don't get any exploitive nudity, and, perhaps worse yet, we don't get a chance to see Bill act like a bastard. It may be too much to ask, but I would have liked to have a scene that would support the bad reputation that Bill has. I respect the approach QT has with Bill, which is to present him as a real charmer. In fact, his codename 'Snake Charmer', is used to great effect as he plays a flute to a neophyte Bride.

    The acting is really good throughout the film, with Michael Madsen able to emote effectively in some nice scenes and David Carradine giving a nice charismatic performance for Bill. Unfortunately, he may have done too good a job, because I was having a hard time thinking he was a bad person (except shooting the Bride in the head and all [​IMG] ).

    The true standout of this film is Darryl Hannah. Giving easily her best work, and totally eclipsing her work in V1, which I felt to be the weakest of the first film. She is able to handle sexy, menacing, superior, and condescending in a way I never would have imagined. And she handles the physical battle with the Bride flawlessly. She impressed me to no end and I, for perhaps the first time, would really like to see what more she is capable of. I just never had a reason to think of her as more than a pretty face, even after her capable work in Blade Runner. In fact, V2 puts in a nice nod to Blade Runner by having Elle emulate a certain scene of Pris' in a wonderful way.

    I will mention that the soundtrack has some interesting reimaginings of the score and songs from the first, although it didn't standout to me as much as the first.

    As I paid attention the second time, I would suggest that there are about 30 minutes of superfluous material, to include the opening church scene, a trim at Budd's bar, the episode with Esteban, and perhaps some shortening of the last chapter, that in total would allow for a nearly intact V1 to be expanded into a perhaps perfect 3+ hour film. If this is what QT turns in on the heavily anticipated combined version, I am finally in agreement with the many who think it will rank among the best of film. As it stands, I would call Volume 2 a very solid [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four), losing a half point for pacing problems and some scenes that feel very strongly like filler. A good film, but not a great one (yet?).
     

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