Friday, 23 October 2015

Opposing Characters: Film Review - Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)

Fig.1 Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) Movie Poster

Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) is a brilliant continuation of the story that we became so engaged with in the first film. Tarantino draws on influences from many kung fu movies, and in doing so creates a memorable conclusion to this tale. Roger Ebert said in his review that Kill Bill: Volume 2 is " an exuberant celebration of moviemaking, coasting with heedless joy from one audacious chapter to another, working as irony, working as satire, working as drama, working as pure action." - (Ebert,2004)

Fig.2 The Bride (Or Beatrix Kiddo [Played by Uma Thurman])

The film follows on directly from the last, but still allows new viewers to be aware of what is going on. It is clear that the Bride's mission is still intact as she continues to look for Bill and the remaining members of the Deadly Viper squad. If anything, she is even more determined to seek revenge for Bill destroying her life, and consequently her losing her daughter. Throughout the film, we learn more about the wedding and Bill and the Bride's past. It is because of this that we understand the Bride's feelings in more depth and why what happened at the wedding was so tragic. 

Fig.3 The Bride and Pai Mei (Played by Chia Hui Liu)

In quite a serious film, there are some rather ironic moments and bits of black comedy, which are obvious Tarantino trademarks. A particular chapter that provides the more comical moments is when we are shown a flashback to when Bill takes Beatrix Kiddo to Pai Mei, who was a master of Bak Mei and Eagle's Claw styles of Kung Fu. Pai Mei is a very serious character, one of whom that you wouldn't want to disagree with, but because of his constant flicking of his long white beard and subtle raising eyebrows, we can't help but laugh to ourselves. However, Pai Mei's skills are clear, and is reluctant to train Beatrix. It is only because of Bill that he gives her a chance. The training sequences are very reminiscent of Kung Fu films from the 1970s. We see Pai Mei balance on swords and have the most incredibly impossible reflexes. Beatrix is trying to learn one particular skill of being able to punch through wood from an open palm and without swinging. As we see her constantly fail, where Pai Mei succeeded in his first attempt, it is clear that she still has a lot to learn.

Once the flashback concludes and she escapes from the coffin that Budd (Played by Michael Madsen) had trapped her in, she is more reckless in her actions. She doesn't care what she must do to get to Bill, and once she gets past her other targets, she finally finds Bill, but all is not as she expected.  

Fig.4 Bill (Played by David Carradine)

In the final scenes of the film, Bill and Beatrix discuss their past, in a somewhat civillised matter. This is a to different to how she faced each individual member of the Deadly Viper Squad. Christy Lemire also notes this in her review by saying "If Kill Bill - Vol. 1 was like a roundhouse kick to the head, Vol. 2 is practically a warm hug." - (Lemire, 2012). This adds a bit more humanity to their relationship. In these scenes, Bill gives many memorable pieces of dialogue, one of which being a "review" of the character of Superman/ Clark Kent. This suggest that he is calling her a superhero, but unlike most superhero stories, it appears the villain, in this case it being Bill, will have the last laugh, metaphorically speaking. However, we then discover hat Beatrix had learned more from Pai Mei than we first thought.  During the two volumes, we are lead to believe that Bill is the stronger and more powerful one of the two characters, but due to the ending sequences it is becomes apparent that Beatrix is a lot stronger and more determined than we were lead to believe.

Illustration List:
Fig.1 Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) Movie Poster - (Accessed 23/10/2015)

Fig.2 The Bride (Or Beatrix Kiddo [Played by Uma Thurman]) - (Accessed 23/10/2015)

Fig.3 The Bride and Pai Mei (Played by Chia Hui Liu) (Accessed 23/10/2015)

Fig.4 Bill (Played by David Carradine) - (Accessed 23/10/2015)

Ebert, Roger (2004) - Kill Bill, Volume 2 - - (Accessed 23/10/2015)

Lemire, Christy (2012) - Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) - - (Accessed 23/10/2015)

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