|Kill Bill: Vol. 1|
Teaser poster for Vol. 1
|Directed by||Quentin Tarantino
|Produced by||Lawrence Bender|
|Written by||Quentin Tarantino|
Vivica A. Fox
|Editing by||Sally Menke|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Release date(s)||October 10, 2003|
|Running time||111 minutes|
|Gross revenue||US$70.1 million
|Followed by||Kill Bill: Vol. 2|
Kill Bill is a two-part action thriller film released in 2003 and 2004 by writer-director Quentin Tarantino, and starring Uma Thurman as The Bride. Originally conceived as one film, it was released in two 'volumes' (in late 2003 and early 2004) due to its running time of approximately four hours. The film is an epic-length revenge drama, with homages to earlier film genres, such as Hong Kong martial arts films, Japanese Chanbara films, exploitation films and Italian spaghetti westerns; an extensive use of popular music and pop culture references; and aestheticization of violence. Filming took place in California, Texas, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Mexico.
Kill Bill is one story, divided into two volumes with five chapters each, presented in a nonlinear narrative style, as is common among Tarantino's films. This synopsis, unlike the film, is presented chronologically.
The Bride (Uma Thurman) is a former assassin and lover of a man named Bill (David Carradine), her former boss. Pregnant, and wanting to move beyond the life of an assassin to raise the child, she left him, and was about to marry another man. Bill and his other assassins, the four Deadly Vipers, arrive at the El Paso wedding chapel during the wedding rehearsal, and massacre everyone at the chapel. She attempts to tell her would-be killer Bill that the baby is his, but he shoots her in the side of her head, leaving her in a coma.
She awakens in a hospital ward four years later, Bill having decided to abort a plan to kill her in her hospital bed. She is horrified to discover she is no longer pregnant, leading her to assume her baby is dead. She escapes from the hospital after dispatching the sleazy orderly, named Buck, who had come into the room with one of his "customers". He apparently has been selling sexual access to her body as she lay comatose. After killing both men, she takes the keys to Buck's truck (a bright yellow custom truck called the "Pussy Wagon" and, lying in the truck, she starts to try to move her toes. She recalls the story of O-Ren Ishii, the woman that is later first on her death list. After that, her big toe starts to move. After later practicing for 13 hours, she can move normally. She then uses the truck to escape the hospital.
Then the Bride travels to Okinawa, Japan, to obtain a sword from Hattori Hanzō (Sonny Chiba), a renowned swordsmith, who has retired to the life of a sushi chef. Though Hanzō has taken a blood oath to never make another sword, The Bride is able to convince him of the merit of her mission by just telling him her target: his former student Bill. Hanzo takes over a month to make the sword, and in that time she follows his suggestion to practice while staying in his upstairs room.
The Bride then travels to Tokyo, Japan, where she confronts a Deadly Viper turned Yakuza leader, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) at a restaurant named The House of Blue Leaves. We are introduced to O-Ren Ishii by a long animated sequence, as well as a film sequence, in which we learn both how she became a killer and then how she wields power over the Yakuza. At the House of Blue Leaves The Bride first severs the arm of O-Ren's lawyer, Sofie Fatale (Julie Dreyfus), then kills her immediate guards, including her personal bodyguard, Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama). After the arrival of O-Ren's army of henchmen, the Crazy 88, The Bride is forced to fight off the entire gang, killing or wounding all, except one (a young member who hardly had any sword fighting skill at all, the Bride simply spanks him with her sword and sends him away), before dueling with O-Ren in the snow. By the duel's end, O-Ren is killed, scalped by the Bride's Hanzō sword.
The Bride dumps the badly wounded Fatale at a hospital, where she later tells Bill that she revealed the locations of the remaining Deadly Vipers under threat of further injuries and that the Bride is setting out to kill them, as well as Bill himself. Bill does not blame her and asks Fatale if The Bride knows that her daughter is still alive.
Some time after this, the Bride arrives at the house of Vernita Green (Fox) of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in the "Pussy Wagon", and engages her in a vicious fight, though she agrees to cease their hostilities when Vernita's four-year-old daughter arrives. Vernita attempts to apologize to the Bride, but the Bride is unmoved. The two agree to a knife fight later that evening, but before The Bride can depart, Green attempts to kill her with a gun hidden in a cereal box. The Bride throws a knife, killing Green instead. However, while she pulls out the knife from Green's body, Vernita's four-year old daughter walks in. As the Bride quickly wipes the blood off the knife, she unapologetically assures the child that she will have a chance for payback once she is grown and leaves the house. This scene actually opens the movie and the rest is told through flashback.
|Kill Bill: Vol. 2|
Theatrical poster for Vol. 2
|Directed by||Quentin Tarantino|
|Produced by||Lawrence Bender|
|Written by||Quentin Tarantino|
|Music by||Robert Rodriguez|
|Editing by||Sally Menke|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Release date(s)||April 16, 2004|
|Running time||136 minutes|
|Preceded by||Kill Bill: Vol. 1|
|Followed by||Kill Bill: Vol. 3|
The opening of Volume 2 greatly reprises the opening scenes of the first volume, the wedding rehearsal scenes and massacre. We are briefly introduced to The Bride, her groom-to-be, and their friends, before Bill arrives. Bill convinces The Bride that he has gracefully accepted her decision, and agrees to pose as her father as a cover story for everyone else. The Deadly Vipers then arrive and begin the massacre of everyone in the church. The film then cuts to the Bride driving her car to Bill's location, as he is now the last on her death list.
Bill ventures to the California desert to warn his brother Budd (Michael Madsen), another former Deadly Viper, that the Bride will come for him next. Budd, now an overweight alcoholic, has put his assassin days behind him, living in a trailer and working as a bouncer at a local strip club, where he is verbally abused and generally treated poorly by the manager. The Bride arrives at Budd's trailer that night, but Budd shoots her in the chest with rock salt and injects her with a sedative. Budd calls Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and offers to sell her the Bride's Hanzō sword for $1 million. Budd then buries the Bride alive with a flashlight in a grave.
She lies in her grave, panicked, seemingly losing hope. Suddenly she stops struggling, goes instantly calm, slightly smiles, and clicks off the flashlight. The Bride has remembered (and here in the film a flashback to her memory begins) her early training in China, when Bill took her to the temple of legendary martial arts master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), an elderly martial arts master. He could perform a fatal attack called the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which is so secret that he has not even taught it to Bill. According to Bill, he "hates Caucasians, despises Americans, and has nothing but contempt for women", in which she is all three. Nevertheless, he takes in The Bride and molds her into a formidable fighter. He brutally trains her, and she eventually gains his silent respect. Emphasis is placed specifically on the Bride's development of the ability to strike powerfully at an enemy positioned mere inches from one's chest. In the present, The Bride calls on Pai Mei's training to break out of the coffin and dig her way up to the surface.
The Bride arrives on a hilltop overlooking Budd's trailer, and sees the one-eyed Elle Driver arriving in her sports car, a Pontiac Trans Am. Elle gives Budd a suitcase of money for the sword, but it also contains a black mamba that bites Budd repeatedly, killing him quickly while Elle describes to him what is happening to his body. Bill calls Elle, and she tells him that the Bride killed Budd, and also how to find the final resting place of Beatrix Kiddo, which is revealed at this point to be the Bride's name. Beatrix then attacks Elle, and a furious fight ensues. Elle reveals that Pai Mei, who also taught her, pulled out her eye for calling him a "miserable old fool" and that she later poisoned his meal of fish heads. The sword clash ends when Beatrix plucks out Elle's remaining eye with the fingers of her right hand, drops the plucked eyeball to the floor and slowly squeezes it between her toes, then leaves a now completely eyeless Elle to writhe in the trailer with the same black mamba that killed Budd, her fate ambiguous.
After learning of Bill's location from Esteban Vihaio (Michael Parks), the pimp who raised Bill, Beatrix arrives at Bill's home, where she is shocked to find that B.B., her four-year-old daughter, is alive and apparently expecting her mother's return. The family spends the evening together peacefully, and after B.B. falls asleep, Bill shoots Beatrix with a dart filled with truth serum, in order to ask her a few questions. Beatrix reveals that, after she discovered her pregnancy she had to put her unborn daughter's future above Bill's wishes.
The estranged couple sit down at a table outside. Bill admits he had overreacted towards the situation in attempting to kill her. However, Beatrix claims she is still in disbelief over what Bill had done and insists that she complete her unfinished business. Bill then draws his sword to attack her. Beatrix dodges his attack and draws her own sword, but Bill succeeds in disarming her. He thrusts to stab her with his sword, but she catches it in her own Hanzo sheath and disables Bill with the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, secretly taught to her by Pai Mei. Bill, defeated, says a tender goodbye before standing up, buttoning his coat, and taking the five steps required of the technique before his heart explodes, and he dies. Beatrix and B.B. depart, and the next day Beatrix is shown sobbing at the death of her former lover, while her daughter watches cartoons in the next room. Beatrix's sobs turn to laughter caused by the delight of having her daughter alive and well. The end of the film shows a long frontal view of the Mother and Daughter driving down the road as the credits roll.
|Actor / Actress||Role||Vol. 1||Vol. 2|
|Uma Thurman||Beatrix Kiddo / The Bride ("Black Mamba")||•||•|
|David Carradine||Bill ("Snake Charmer")||•||•|
|Lucy Liu||O-Ren Ishii ("Cottonmouth")||•|
|Chiaki Kuriyama||Gogo Yubari||•|
|Vivica A. Fox||Vernita Green / Jeannie Bell ("Copperhead")||•|
|Michael Madsen||Budd ("Sidewinder")||•||•|
|Daryl Hannah||Elle Driver ("California Mountain Snake")||•||•|
|Gordon Liu||Johnny Mo||•|
|Michael Parks||Earl McGraw||•|
|Sonny Chiba||Hattori Hanzō||•|
|Julie Dreyfus||Sofie Fatale||•|
|Quentin Tarantino||Crazy 88 member||•|
|Jun Kunimura||Boss Tanaka||•|
|James Parks||Edgar McGraw||•|
|Christopher Allen Nelson||Tommy Plympton||•||•|
|Bo Svenson||Reverend Harmony||•|
|Samuel L. Jackson||Rufus||•|
|Larry Bishop||Larry Gomez||•|
|Ambrosia Kelley||Nikki Bell||•|
|Helen Kim||Karen Kim||•|
The overall storyline of Kill Bill — a woman seeks revenge on a group of people, crossing them off a list one by one as she kills them — is adapted from Lady Snowblood, a 1973 Japanese film in which a woman kills off the gang who murdered her family. The Guardian commented that Lady Snowblood was "practically a template for the whole of Kill Bill Vol. 1". Lady Snowblood was adapted from the manga of the same name written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Kazuo Kamimura. Koike also wrote Lone Wolf and Cub (see below).
The film also references Samurai Reincarnation (1981) by quoting its iconic line "If you encounter God, God will be cut". Hattori Hanzō is modelled on legendary sword maker Muramasa. The character is also a reference to the Japanese television show Kage no Gundan (Shadow Warriors in America), in which Sonny Chiba portrayed a fictionalized version of Hattori Hanzō, as well as his descendants in later seasons. Tarantino, in Vol. 1 special features, claims that his film's Hanzō is one of those descendants.
Kill Bill pays tribute to film genres including the spaghetti western, blaxploitation, Chinese wuxia, Japanese yakuza films, Japanese samurai cinema, and kung fu movies of the 1960s and 1970s. This last genre, which was largely produced by the Shaw Brothers, is given an obvious nod by the inclusion of the Shaw Scope logo at the beginning of Kill Bill Vol. 1. The yellow tracksuit that Uma Thurman dons in the restaurant fight sequence is a tribute to the cultural icon and martial artist, Bruce Lee.
The scene in which The Bride fights O-Ren Ishii in the snow is virtually identical to the one in Sex and Fury.
One influential exploitation film that Tarantino has mentioned in interviews is the Swedish Thriller - en grym film, released in the U.S. as They Call Her One Eye. Tarantino recommended that actress Daryl Hannah watch the movie to prepare for her role as the one-eyed killer Elle Driver.
The Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub series of manga and films are echoed in the characters of The Bride and her daughter. The Americanized compilation version of this series, Shogun Assassin, is actually viewed by the two characters.
Bill's speech towards the end of the movie, regarding the differences between Spider-Man and Superman, is taken from "The Great Comic Book Heroes" by Jules Feiffer.
The closing credits to both films included a short list of deceased directors, writers and actors, under the title "R.I.P.": Charles Bronson, Chang Cheh, Kinji Fukasaku, Lo Lieh, Shintaro Katsu, William Witney, Sergio Corbucci, Lucio Fulci, Sergio Leone and Lee Van Cleef.
After a six-year hiatus of Tarantino movies, Kill Bill was much anticipated by fans and critics and generated a tremendous amount of discussion. Reaction by film critics was very positive, each volume receiving a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Both volumes did well at the box office. Kill Bill Vol. 1 grossed $180,949,045 worldwide, followed by Kill Bill Vol. 2 with $152,159,461 worldwide, for a combined gross of $333,108,506.
Though released as two parts, the film differs from multi-part "franchise" series like Star Wars. The short duration between the releases of the two volumes, the film's internal structure, and the history of its development all strongly imply that Kill Bill be regarded as one movie (for example, the cast of Vol. 1 are credited at the end of Vol. 2). The dual-release strategy, ostensibly due to the film's length, has been criticized as an attempt by Miramax to sell two tickets to one movie.
The two-volume format also amplified what some saw as a structural problem with the film: most of the action occurs in the first half, while most of the dialogue and plot are conveyed in the second. Thus, the two volumes are noticeably different in style and tone, leaving some viewers enamored of one volume but disappointed by the other. Of Volume 2, Sean O’Connell of Filmcritic.com writes, "The drop-off in energy, style, and coherence from Volume 1 to its bloated, disinteresting counterpart is so drastic and extreme that you can hardly believe they come from the same director, let alone conclude the same storyline." Jeffery M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid, like some other critics, preferred Volume 2, writing "…Characters actually talk to one another here rather than the stilted samurai movie-speak of the first volume."
Roger Ebert celebrated the films, saying "[p]ut the two parts together, and Tarantino has made a masterful saga that celebrates the martial arts genre while kidding it, loving it, and transcending it.... [T]his is all one film, and now that we see it whole, it's greater than its two parts."
Much of the controversy over the film reflects the differing expectations of those who look primarily at a movie for its style and craftsmanship against those who look at story and substance. "You never forget that Kill Bill is an exercise in genre-sampling," writes the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Caro. However, other critics found it well-constructed, with tightly edited action scenes, strong performances, often-clever dialogue, and an effectively exciting soundtrack. On the whole, both volumes of the film received positive reviews.
Each part was nominated at the Golden Globe Awards. Uma Thurman received a Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama nomination in 2004 and 2005 for her work in Volume 1 and Volume 2. David Carradine received a Best Supporting Actor nomination in 2005 for his work as the mentor-like titular character in Kill Bill: Volume 2. Uma Thurman was also nominated in 2004 for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in 'Kill Bill: Volume 1.' The film was nominated for 5 BAFTAs at the 2004 BAFTA awards ceremony.
The film was very popular at the MTV Movie Awards. At the 2004 MTV Movie Awards Uma Thurman won Best Female performance for Volume 1, Lucy Liu won Best Villain in Volume 1, and the fight between The Bride and Gogo Yubari won Best Fight. She also thanked Chiaki Kuriyama during her acceptance speech. At the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, Kill Bill Volume 2 was nominated for best movie, Thurman was nominated for best female performance, and the fight between The Bride and Elle Driver in Kill Bill Volume 2 also won Best Fight. Uma Thurman also received the Saturn Award for Best Actress in 2003 for her work in Volume 1.
In 2007, a Norwegian parody of Kill Bill, called Kill Buljo, was released in Norwegian cinemas. The movie is set in Finnmark, Norway, and satirizes stereotypes about Norway's Sami population. When the parody was presented to Quentin Tarantino, his response was "I love it! I love it!", according to an interview with Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Kill Buljo was made with hardly any budget at all, and both director Tommy Wirkola and the actors were practically unknown at the time; the film, however, enjoyed great local success, which led to offers for future film projects for Wirkola.
In Lady Gaga's video release of "Telephone" the iconic "Pussy Wagon" appears several times.
As with Tarantino's previous films, Kill Bill features an eclectic soundtrack comprising many musical genres. On the two soundtracks, music ranges from country music to selections from the Spaghetti Western film scores of Ennio Morricone. Bernard Herrmann's theme from the film Twisted Nerve is whistled by the menacing Elle Driver in the hospital scene. Instrumental tracks from Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei figure prominently, and after the success of Kill Bill they were frequently used in American TV commercials and at sporting events. As the Bride enters "The House of Blue Leaves", go-go group The 5,6,7,8's perform "I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield", "I'm Blue" and "Woo Hoo." The connection to Lady Snowblood is further established by the use of "The Flower of Carnage" the closing theme from that film. The end credits are driven by the rock and roll version of "Malagueña Salerosa", a typical Mexican song performed by "Chingon", Robert Rodriguez's band.
In the United States Kill Bill: Volume 1 was released as a DVD on April 13, 2004, while Volume 2 was released August 10, 2004.
In a December 2005 interview, Tarantino addressed the lack of a special edition DVD for Kill Bill by stating "I've been holding off because I've been working on it for so long that I just wanted a year off from Kill Bill and then I'll do the big supplementary DVD package."
The United States does not have a DVD boxed set of Kill Bill, though box sets of the two separate volumes are available in other countries, such as France, Japan and the United Kingdom. Upon the DVD release of Volume 2 in the US, however, Best Buy did offer an exclusive box set slipcase to house the two individual releases together.
The quotation "Revenge is a dish best served cold" (attributed as being "an old Klingon proverb," in reference to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) at the beginning of Volume 1 was replaced with a dedication to "master filmmaker" Kinji Fukasaku in the Japanese version. There are also numerous differences in the editing of the film, including, but not limited to; a longer version of O-Ren's origin anime, more violence and comedy in the House of Blue Leaves battle (which is also shown in full color) as well as Sofie Fatale having her right hand removed by the bride during the interrogation scene in the trunk of the car.
Tarantino announced at the 2008 Provincetown International Film Festival that a single film version of Kill Bill with an extended animation sequence was to be released in May 2009. As of yet, no such release has been announced.
Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly in April 2004, that he is planning a sequel:
|“||Oh yeah, initially I was thinking this would be my "Dollars Trilogy". I was going to do a new one every ten years. But I need at least fifteen years before I do this again.
I've already got the whole mythology: Sofie Fatale will get all of Bill's money. She'll raise Nikki, who'll take on The Bride. Nikki deserves her revenge every bit as much as The Bride deserved hers. I might even shoot a couple of scenes for it now so I can get the actresses while they're this age.
According to Bloody-Disgusting.com, details have emerged about Kill Bill Volumes 3 and 4. According to the article, "Bennett Walsh said at the Shanghai International Film Festival the third film involves the revenge of two killers whose arms and eyes were hacked by Uma Thurman in the first stories," which suggest Sofie and Elle, respectively. The article adds that the "fourth installment of the popular kung fu action films concerns a cycle of reprisals and daughters who avenge their mother's deaths".
Quentin Tarantino said at the 2006 Comic Con that, after the completion of Grindhouse, he wants to make two anime Kill Bill films. One will be an origin story about Bill and his mentors, and the other will be an origin starring The Bride. The latter is most likely to be a prequel, but could also follow the rumored (sequel) plot reported in Entertainment Weekly in April 2004.
On October 1, 2009, it was revealed while being interviewed on an Italian TV Show after being asked about the success of the two Kill Bill films, Tarantino addressed the hostess by claiming "You haven't asked me about the third one" then asking the woman to ask the question would he be making a third Kill Bill film, which he replied "Yes", and claiming "The Bride will fight again!" 
On October 3, 2009, at the Morelia International Film Festival, Quentin Tarantino announced that Kill Bill 3 would be his ninth film, and would be released in 2014. He said he intends to make another unrelated film before that date as his eighth film. He confirmed that he wanted ten years to pass between the Bride's last conflict, to give her and her daughter a period of peace.
Kill Bill is the name of two films by Quentin Tarantino:
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