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PCR # 187  (Vol. 4, No. 43)  This edition is for the week of October 20--26, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Kill Bill, Vol. 1"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

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Happy Birthday....Pop Culture: a Definition....Trick Or Treat....Life is not a Cabaret, Old Chum!....Get Well Soon....Rocket Man....What The?....Passing On
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Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Michael Masden and David Carradine
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 43 mins

My experiences involving Quentin Tarantino run the gamut. I was very lucky one day in New York City to win a silent auction for a private screening for 250 of my closest friends of Pulp Fiction, almost a month before it opened. Also, the BEST seats I've ever had for a Broadway show was front row center to see Tarantino and Marisa Tomei in "Wait Until Dark." To be polite, I'll say that as an actor, Quentin is a great filmmaker. I will say that, on the plus side, Tomei, as the blind woman terrorized by "Q" and his gang, did almost fall of the stage into my lap. But I digress.

In what is being heralded as his fourth film (honestly, the opening credits read "The 4th film from Quentin Tarantino,) Tarantino returns to what he does best: making movies.

A self-described movie geek, Tarantino has used his gift for writing to conceive some of the most imitated films of all time. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were heralded by critics everywhere, and Jackie Brown, while not as popular as the previous films, was another great addition to the Tarantino library. Now, with Kill Bill, he pulls off another classic.

As you can see by the top of the page, the film is called "Volume 1." The story was so big that the powers that be at Miramax decided to issue it as two films. Volume 2 opens in February, and it will be a long wait for those who want to know what happens. Utilizing segments of a long-forgotten genre, the chop-socky film, the story begins with a character, known only as the Bride, being brutally assaulted at her wedding. When the carnage is over, only the Bride (who was pregnant at the time of the assaults) is still alive. After 4 years in a coma, she decides she must get her revenge on those who attacked her. She makes a list of those she knows is responsible. At the bottom of the "People to Kill" list, she writes one name: BILL.

The majority of the film concerns her various ways of evening the score, taking her from Texas to California to Japan. On the way, the film explains the various backgrounds on her attackers. In the story relating the back story on Japanese Yakuza boss Liu, Tarantino turns to the Japanese animé style. It is one of the best sequences in the film. As he has done in the past, Tarantino embraces his love of the past, using music from "Emergency" and "The Green Hornet" and having martial art film legend Sonny Chiba appear as a maker of fine "Japanese steel." Even though he is not seen fully on screen, Carradine does a fine job portraying the true evil that is Bill. I'm guessing that Carradine has the majority of the screen time in Volume 2, which is not a bad thing.

Overly bloody (in the old martial art style, when a limb is severed or a body impaled, literally geysers of blood spurt heavenward), but in a tongue in cheek way, this has to be the most blood shed in a major studio "R" rated release. But don't let it scare you away. It's been 6 years since Tarantino released a film. Who knows, after "Volume 2" comes out it may be 6 more. Don't be left out! On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Kill Bill - Volume 1, Four stars

This week's movie review of "Kill Bill, Volume 1" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.