Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, August 18, 2008


KILL BILL VOL. ONE (2004). Director: Quentin Tarantino.

When her entire wedding party is slaughtered for unknown reasons by members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, the bride (Uma Thurman) vows revenge and starts to take the killers out one by one. At first this film is fun, but eventually it becomes rather boring – despite all the mayhem on-screen – because there are no real plot or characters. Even fans of the over-rated Tarantino's equally over-rated Pulp Fiction may be disappointed in this, although gore-geeks and frat boys of all ages will probably have fun with all the dismemberments and bloodletting during the sword fights. The movie opens with a zesty, well-executed cat fight between Thurman and Viveca A. Fox, and there are other lively sequences and some decent acting, but it all becomes pointless, junky, and – worst of all – a bit dull. The animation sequence depicting the early years of Japanese crime boss Lucy Lui is boring despite all the over-the-top gore, as is the climactic scene when Thurman takes on and defeats dozens of swordsmen trying to protect the boss. Although this is based on the character of “The Bride,” it seems just as influenced in a way by episodes of Alias (which Tarantino guest-starred on) and certain comic books such as Daredevil (which introduced Elektra, who is mighty handy with a sword) and The X-Men, which features a lot of “strong” and neurotic female characters. Michael Parks of The Idol turns up as a small-town sheriff. Thurman should ask for a foot double in her next contract – when she tries to wiggle her feet after coming out of a coma she reveals perhaps the ugliest pair of feet in all of Hollywood! All the “Hollywood” references and occasional cleverness can't disguise an utterly mediocre movie. The film got surprisingly decent reviews, but nobody really raved about it and you can see why. Will not whet your appetite for "volume" two.

Verdict: Not exactly Citizen Kane -- but what is? *1/2.

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