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PCR # 213  (Vol. 5, No. 17)  This edition is for the week of April 19--25, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Kill Bill Volume II"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Book Review -- "Ghosts of the Air: True Stories of Aerial Hauntings"
 by William Moriaty
"Kill Bill, Vol. 2"
 by Mike Smith
Air....Walkmen....Xiu Xiu....Von Bondies
 by Terence Nuzum
My Take on "Reinventing Horror Films"
 by Andy Lalino
The Kill Bill Miracle....Donald Who?....Miss USA, Super-Soldier
 by Vinnie Blesi
Iraq....Resident Evil games
 by Joshua Montgomery
Andy's Forry Encounter....Amity island, Here I Come
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Punishment....Trivial Knowledge....Meet The Beatles, Part 13
 by Mike Smith
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Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Masden, Daryl Hannah and Gordon Liu
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 15 mins

If "Kill Bill Volume 1" was billed as "the fourth film from director Quentin Tarantino," I'm not sure if "Volume II" is the fifth film or just 4.5. Whatever it is, it is outstanding.

Basically the continuation of the same story, "Vol 2" manages to be an almost completely different film, while quite satisfactorily binding up the story in a nice package. For those not familiar, the films follow a character known only as the Bride (Thurman) on her long journey from being left for dead at her wedding rehearsal to tracking down those she feels responsible. And of course, her main option, is to kill Bill. While the first film was heavy on action and '70's style chop-socky bloodshed, "Vol 2" is more dialogue driven, with top-notch performances turned in by all concerned. Thurman continues her no-nonsense journey, dispatching those who she blames for the massacre that occurred at the chapel. The highlight of the film is a flashback sequence where Bill drops her off to be trained by his master, Pai Mei. As played by martial arts legend Gordon Liu, Pai Mei is all action and no nonsense. To disobey him, or question his methods, brings immediate discipline. Though tough, the training will allow the Bride to later deal with the various situations she faces. Is she successful on her mission? Does she actually "Kill Bill?" I'm not telling!

As I mentioned, this film is much more dialogue driven. And for that to be successful, you need quality actors. What amazes me the most about Quentin Tarantino is his eye for past talent. By past, I mean actors and actresses that he grew up watching and enjoying. He is able to see something inside of them that the rest of Hollywood didn't. Everyone knows he rescued John Travolta from the joke heap, but other stars, like Pam Grier and Robert Forster, have found new life thanks to Q. Here two more actors give incredible performances. Michael Parks, from TV's "Then Came Bronson" series, had a small role in "Volume 1." Here, he is almost unrecognizable in an excellent scene. But the acting honors here must go to Bill himself. Reduced to just a voice in the first film, David Carradine lays claim to the early Best Supporting Actor Oscar front runner. Best known from television's "Kung Fu," Carradine owns the screen whenever he appears. With his lined face and hypnotic voice, it is easy to see why he can control the minds, and hearts, of those he commands. Not since "Bound For Glory" in 1976 has Carradine totally owned a film and he makes the most of this opportunity.

Like the first two "Godfather" films, both volumes of "Kill Bill" can be viewed as one film (as it originally was). And like "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II," both volumes deserve the highest of accolades. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Kill Bill, Volume II"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Kill Bill, Vol. 2" is ©2004 by Mike Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.