Well, Quentin Tarantino didn’t let me down. I had feared that he would sell out like his buddy Robert Rodriguez, but Kill Bill was classic Tarantino. In fact, it was Tarantino at the next level. Kill Bill was a great movie!
Students of Tarantino will appreciate all the subtle things in the film – others will find them silly or overdone. Kaboom Cereal is classic. The soundtrack once again was perfect and the dialogue was spot-on. The Nancy Sinatra cover of the classic Sonny & Cher song “Bang, Bang” couldn’t have fit better if it had been written specifically for the film. Kudos for his knowledge of music as well as film. The story is clever and the acting is excellent. Best of all – the direction not only stays out of the way of the film, but actually enhances the story. The sets were awesome. I really loved the juxtaposition of the dance floor enclosing a Japanese tranquility rock garden. The violence will be regarded by some as too much – but watch again and see what it is he actually shows and what is implied. Much like the “Stuck in the Middle With You” scene in Reservoir Dogs – he implies a lot more than he shows. Don’t get me wrong – he showed a lot of violence, but it fits perfectly with the mood of the film and advances the story.
This film is the ultimate in giving kudos to other films and the whole martial arts genre…
Beware: Below are some spoilers – if you haven’t seen it, you might want to wait to read it.
- How many of you noticed Godzilla in it? Watch it again with all your senses
tuned in. Listen up for the giant lizard’s trademark roar when Uma does a
backflip in the “House Of Blue Leaves” scene! There are also some
short Godzilla monster screams inserted just before this.
- The yellow suit that Uma Thurman wears is a tribute to the yellow suit worn by Bruce
Lee in Game of Death
- The Deadly Viper Assassin Squad is an homage to the the Venoms – a group
of martial arts actors in such films as the Five Deadly Venoms and Return
of the Five Deadly Venoms
- Gordon Liu portrays the bodyguard of O-Ren Ishi (Lucy Liu) a double tribute
– one to the man himself as he was one of the greatest martial arts actors,
and secondly by wearing a mask like Kato from The Green Hornet.
- Sonny Chiba stars in the film as Hattori Hanzo, pissed-off sushi chef by
day, retired bad-ass samurai swordsmith by night – another cameo by a famous
martial arts actor. Check him out in the Street Fighter films.
- Also featured in the “House Of Blue Leaves” scene is a beautiful
sequence where Uma takes on the Crazy 88 in silhouette against a blue background.
Anyone who’s seen Samurai Fiction will agree this scene looks strikingly familiar
to the Samurai Fiction poster art and opening sequence, with a blue background
instead of red. Just before this sequence in “Kill Bill” is a very
quick bit where Uma slices a guy across the mouth…remind anyone else of
Kakihara from Ichi The Killer?
- Perhaps the most striking of all the references in “Kill Bill”
are the liberal imitations of the 1973 Japanese film Lady Snowblood. The story
centers around a female child whose mother dies in jail, who then goes on
to receive martial arts training to avenge her mother’s death. Replete with
blood sprays a plenty, titled chapters, a wide variety of musical styles,
and even some animated sequences, the similarities are far too many to go
into. But suffice it to say that Lady Snowblood seems to have been Tarantino’s
primary influence for “Kill Bill”.
- Another Bruce Lee reference: House Of Blue Leaves fight scene where the
Bride is on the floor slicing off legs is dead on to nunchaku scene in Fist
Of Fury right down to looking back and seeing groaning victims (even though
the Bride has a fight with O-Ren Ishii before going back to look at her handiwork).
- While Uma is riding the motorcycle across the bridge in Japan, the night
lights are green while the Green Hornet music is playing.
- Another TV theme is the theme to “Ironside“. The theme is particularly interesting in that the series
featured Raymond Burr (“Perry Mason”) as a retired police commissioner who, as the victim of a sniper
attack, was paralyzed from the waist down. There is definitely a connection, with “The Bride” initially being similarly affected.
- The music from Five Fingers Of Death (AKA “King Boxer”) plays
all through this film.
- The Sheriff (Michael Parks) drives up to the wedding massacre with a line
of sunglasses on his dashboard–a definite homage to H. B. “Toby”
Halicki and “Gone In 60 Seconds“.
- Another name that crops up in the film is the name Vernita Green is using
in her current life: Jeannie Bell. In real life, Jeannie Bell was a former
Playboy Playmate who appeared in several blaxploitation films in the 70s including
“Black Gunn“, “Three The Hard Way”, and had the starring
role as a kick-ass karate instructor looking for her brother’s killer in TNT
- The shots of Daryl Hannah walking down the hospital corridor with a big
purse are right out of the beginning of Hitchcock’s “Marnie” with
- The movie “They Call Her One Eye” (aka: “Thriller”) is a Swedish film about a girl
whose life is ruined–her “pimp” even goes so far as to remove one of her eyes (a la Daryl Hannah)
before she studies to seek revenge on them all. Tarantino mentions this as one of his favorite films,
and it shows in Kill Bill.
- Hannah, in the nurse’s uniform, is whistling the score to Brian De Palma‘s “Dressed to Kill“, and
the film’s score eventually accompanies her, referencing the evil Michael Caine nurse at the end of
De Palma’s movie. In the same scene, there was a split screen, which De Palma frequently employed in
his films, including, of course, “Dressed to Kill”.
- Of course, you can’t overlook the obvious ones too. The film opened just like a Shaw Brother’s
production and the Charlie Brown waiter in the House of Blue Leaves.
- Lastly, notice the Red Apple cigarettes ad – Tarantino’s tribue to… well, himself. The ad is a recurring
one seen in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and From Dusk till Dawn. Oh yeah, and they are on
the counter in his vignette from Four Rooms.
There are tons more….
My first ten star rating!!
RATING 10 out of 10