Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 18, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Buena Vista (Australia). Region 2 & 4 PAL. 2.40:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1. English, English (FHI) Subtitles. 106 minutes
The Movie
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Sonny Chiba, Chiaki Kuriyama, Michael Parks, Gordon Liu
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino
Country: USA
Quentin Tarantino is one of those writer/directors whose films are either loved or loathed. Tarantino is regularly accused of plagiarism and being unoriginal on one hand, and on the other hand, he almost single handedly brought the popularity of some exploitation and international films back into the limelight. It is unfair to call Tarantino a plagiarist, as he freely acknowledges his influences, and has always worn them on his sleeve. This film, Kill Bill Volume 1, was conceived during the filming of Pulp Fiction, where Tarantino could see a potential in Uma Thurman to be a great female action lead and decided to write an entire film around her.

As the title suggests, Kill Bill Volume 1 tells the first part of a revenge tale. 'The Bride' (Uma Thurman) was thought to have been murdered by a squad of killers she was once a part of, The Deadly Viper Assassin Squad, a group led by the mysterious Bill (David Carradine). She cuts a swath of violence in this film to get to her intended victims: O-ren Iishi (Lucy Lui) , Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah), Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), Budd (Michael Madsen), but will she get to them all? Will she survive countless battles so that she can finally Kill Bill? Mmmm…I guess you shall have to watch Volume 2.

So, what is your pleasure? Wuxia? Got it! Exploitation? Yeah, got that too. What about gangster flicks? Yep, there's a little of that as well. We even have a little bit of anime!! Some of the dialogue in this film suffers from 'Lucas' Romantic Scene Disorder', where the lines seem to have trouble coming out of the actors mouths, and feel as awkward as a contestant on Young Talent Time. Tarantino's plotting talents however should keep you interested enough that it is only a minor bother.

As usual, Tarantino's supporting characters are just as interesting as the main cast, and the plot, disjointed though it may be (like Pulp Fiction), moves along at a great pace. A fan of the type of cinema Tarantino has interests in could literally spend hours with a group of friends spotting the MASSIVE amounts of nods to other films.
Kill Bill Volume 1 is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and is a clean and artefact free transfer. The reds are so red, the tracksuits so yellow and the black and white…well, is black and white.
This film is in Dolby 5.1 and is a kick ass track. The sounds of blood spraying and swords clanging together will ring in your lounge room long after the film has finished. There is some great use of musical cues that really make full use of the 5.1 sound stage as well.
Extra Features
The Making of Kill Bill (22 minutes 6 seconds) should have been a three hour extravaganza where Tarrantino goes through everything that influenced this film and his career, instead we get this little fluffy piece that admittedly does have a lot of interviews with cast and crew, but ultimately leaves you a little unsatisfied due to its brevity. Something similar to The Devil's Rejects' 30 Days in Hell would have been much more appropriate for a film filled with so many homages, influences and rip offs.

Music Clips: 'Walk Like Jayne Mansfield' and 'I'm Blue' by the 5,6,7,8's (5 minutes 51 seconds) are two musical numbers taken from the House of Blue Leaves set from the film. Is it surf music? Is it punk? Is it three hot, barefoot Asian babes playing Rock and Roll…who cares, I like it!!

There are 2 trailers for Kill Bill Volume 1, the teaser trailer (1 minute 50 seconds) and the 'bootleg' trailer (2 minutes 33 seconds). The strange thing about the 'bootleg trailer' is that it actually contains some footage from Kill Bill Volume 2, and is a better trailer, much more in the Grindhouse feel rather than the glossy Hollywood feel of the teaser.
The Verdict
With influences ranging from Tobe Hooper to the Shaw Brothers, and even at times stealing from his OWN films, Kill Bill Volume 1 could have very easily been a sushi roll of crap, instead it is a bullet ballet of quick quips and violence…too much fun for one movie, and I guess that's why there is a volume 2. This is a great film, but the few extras are disappointing.
Movie Score
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