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Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003) – DVD Review

Kill Bill, Vol. 1 DVD


Written & Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Julie Dreyfus, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah


  • Making-of featurette
  • Bonus musical performances by The 5, 6, 7, 8s
  • Tarantino trailers

Released by Miramax
Rating: R
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.
My Advice: If you can, hold out for the Uber Mongo edition.

The Bride (Thurman) has had a bit of a rough go. See, she used to be in the employ/cadre of Bill (Carradine), who is one of the meanest sons of bitches on the planet. As a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, The Bride, aka Black Mamba, killed (and killed well) for shitloads of money. However, apparently she decided to get the hell out of Dodge, and pissed off her former compadres in the process. They found her at the wedding chapel and then slaughtered her and her fellow wedding party types. Or at least, they thought they had.

[ad#longpost]There’s a reason this film won Best Picture in our 2003 Golden Chazzies. Sure it may just be a ginormous homage to the grindhouse genre of kung fu flicks, and yeah, it may be a hodge-podge of anime, action, kicking ass and whatnot. But the point is: it’s all of those things, and it manages to be all of those things flawlessly. It’s violent as all hell–but it’s not only cartoony violence, it’s gorgeous violence, such as where Lucy Liu and Uma Thurman are fighting with blades in the pristine white snow. And it’s beautifully executed and choreographed. The sequence with Liu and her Crazy 88 fighters making their way into the restaurant in slow motion with Hotei’s music cranked in the background: just beautiful. Not to mention the use of music from stuff like Green Hornet and Ironside to bring some background references in. The film as work of ballsy cinematic art, is amazing.

As for the acting: Thurman was incredible. The revelation she has upon just coming out of her coma (it’s not like this is spoilers, the fact this happens is in the trailer for God’s sake, folks) is heart-wrenching. Sure, her ability to kick ass is on a par with some kung fu greats, but Jesus–to be able to pull off that acting in the midst of it all is formidable. Also notable are Lucy Liu’s deadly O-Ren Ishii and the cute but deadly (aren’t they all?) Chiaki Kuriyama as Go Go Yubari, the killer schoolgirl chick with the mace. And we can’t go anywhere without mentioning Sonny Chiba’s swordmaster Hanzo.

For a DVD release, well, let’s face it: this is for the hardcore group that wants to own this sucker and ready themselves for the release of the second installment this coming weekend. It does come with a behind the scenes featurette which is better than most, and features a lot of Tarantino’s frenetic explanations (such as where the character of Hanzo originates). There is some smoke-blowing, but it’s good natured and not gratuitous.

Apart from that, you have a couple of songs performed by the band from the House of the Blue Leaves sequence, the 5, 6, 7, 8s. Maybe they’re your thing, but they’re not mine: just something personal, mind you. In the context of the film, they work fine for me–but when I’m listening to this soundtrack, I have to skip over their track. It just makes my ears want to secede from the Union. All that’s left then are some trailers. Although–menus don’t normally do a damn thing for me–but these animated menus combining the music from the film along with bits from the anime sequence are a wonder to behold.

If you’re a hardcore fan of the film like myself, you’ll want this on your shelf to tide you over until the inevitable double-edition of the entire film comes out. But for everyone else, they should at least rent it. It was the best film of last year, and that’s definitely saying something.

Buy it from Amazon.
Buy the soundtrack from Amazon.

Originally published on Version 3 of the site, ported to WordPress (Ver. 4) on 8/27/2005.