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Hollywood Rewind | Kill Bill Volume I: For Tarantino, Thurman and the love of martial arts movies

Kill Bill is absorbing, thigh-slapping entertainment of the first order, and more importantly, it is not at all pretentious. And that's saying something about a Tarantino feature.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
November 29, 2020 7:14:17 am
kill bill vol 1Kill Bill: Volume I released in 2003. (Photo: Miramax Films)

One of the most profitable movies of Quentin Tarantino’s enviable oeuvre, Uma Thurman-starrer Kill Bill: Volume is gloriously gory. It revolves around the Bride (a charismatic Thurman), who is wounded and abducted while she waited at the altar to wed the man of her dreams. A former assassin, she was ordered to be murdered by her previous boss and lover with the aid of a group of skilled warriors, who were once her closest allies. By now, it must be clear that the Tarantino directorial is nothing more than a revenge drama. But even the simplest dramas when given a ‘Tarantinoesque’ twist, produce something completely original.

Although the originality of Kill Bill can be argued as many recognise the film to have borrowed elements from the 1972 Japanese feature Lady Snowblood. But then, how many have seen Lady Snowblood? And the homage to martial arts movies, the choice of music, the styling and filming, they can’t all be a rip-off, can they? The thing about Tarantino is that he is a thorough cinephile. Therefore, he has never had qualms admitting what prompted a certain idea or a vision for his projects. What he brings to the table at the end of the day is still his authentic work, despite the obvious ‘lifting’. Kill Bill is a treasure that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of audiences. They don’t need to be fans of martial arts films, Tarantino or even action. Movies can be a lot of things, but their prime job is to be entertaining and engaging. Otherwise all the messaging, the easter eggs and the homages are waste as those things cannot stand on their own two feet if the film doesn’t. And this is something that leaps out of the screen during Kill Bill: Vol I. It is sufficiently dramatic, funny and even a little on the nose. But it is never not fun. As I followed the Bride’s journey from the altar to the grounds of the Japanese garden where she beheads O-Ren (Lucy Liu) with some compassion, I found myself shuffling excitedly in my seat. Tarantino made a popcorny, stylish movie and even he knew it.

In an interview to the Vanity Fair, the director said, “Kill Bill is probably my most visionary movie — that is not to say how good it is — I just mean it is a very vision-oriented movie. Since Kill Bill, my work has veered more towards the literary and (there has been) much more emphasis on the literary and less on the visual.”

Hollywood Rewind: Terminator 2 Judgment Day | Titanic | Heat | Home Alone | Jerry Maguire | Brief Encounter | The Truman Show | The Deer Hunter | The Shining | Clueless | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | Blue Velvet | Taxi Driver | The Lord of the Rings I | Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | FargoThe Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | TangledMeet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles

While Kill Bill might be a gore fest with over 450 gallons of blood spilled on the sets of the actioner, I still would recommend you to watch (or revisit) it during this holiday season. Mainly because Kill Bill is absorbing, thigh-slapping entertainment of the first order, and more importantly, it is not at all pretentious. And that’s saying something about a Tarantino feature.

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