So, now that this tale of bloody revenge has reached its climax, which ‘r’ do I feel? Relief, that it met my expectations? Regret, that it’s all over? A little of both actually, but mostly I feel Respect. From the opening ‘Massacre at Two Pines’ to the surreal final chapter ‘Face to Face,’ this proves to be a brilliant film; one quite different to the first half of The Bride’s quest to kill Bill, but certainly no less of a success.
Here’s the deal. Tarantino’s direction and Robert Richardson’s cinematography both deserve more time than I’m going to give them here, but it’s all good, as they say, and if you’ve seen Vol. I you’ll know what I mean. Instead, I’d rather focus of the performances, as the quality of acting on display here was not nearly so much in evidence in the first film.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Thurman as The Bride is the film’s emotional centre and she really sells it; every smile, every tear, every grimace is bang on, and it even hurts just to watch the poor girl eat rice. David Carradine’s Bill, however, is just plain cool. Carradine possesses great charisma and when he’s on-screen he’s impossible to ignore, but he’s also damn scary — you can hear the punctuation when he says “Surprise.” and it’s absolutely terrifying.
Gordon Liu is perfect as beard-stroking kung fu master Pai Mei (“From here you can get an excellent view of my foot! HAHAHA!”), while Darryl Hannah gets possibly the finest moment in the film — or at least, she’s on the receiving end of it. Michael… Madsen’s stilted… delivery… of his… lines wears a little thin after a while but is otherwise fine as Bill’s washed up brother Budd, and Rufus, well, he’s The Man. Michael Parks also puts in an impressive, albeit rather brief, appearance playing an 80 year-old Mexican pimp with the most alluring eyelashes I’ve ever seen. Weird.
Kill Bill Vol. 2 is much more dialogue heavy than Vol. I (much, much more), and with a running time of 137 minutes it’s quite a bit longer, but provided Tarantino’s particular brand of talky-talk is to your liking, you should find it’s just long enough for him to make his point.