Make no mistake about it, but Kill Bill will long remain a cult classic and will go a long way in solidifying QT's status as Hollywood's ultimate rebel. However, viewing the two volumes from a purely cinematic POV brings in an entirely different equation.
The Bride (Uma Thurman) starts where she left off in Volume 1 – striking off the last few names on her little checklist of death. Well on her way to getting revenge against chief tormentor Bill (David Carradine), former associates Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and Sidewinder (Michael Madsen) stand in her way. Using the teachings of her martial arts master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), she continues on the quest to wreck havoc onto those who massacred everyone on her wedding day leaving herself and her unborn baby for dead.
We kick off proceedings once again in true chapter style and start off on a good note – technically at least. The opening sequence of the massacre at the chapel is gloriously done in B/W culminating in a superb final take – complete with a dolly out, crane up and classic fade – QT style! The film remains visually engrossing for the most bit including some delightful grainy photography during the Pai Mei chapter.
As soon as we begin, the movie takes a completely different turn. Volume 2 is reminiscent of a Disney take on carnage when contrasted against the gory assault of Volume 1. Though it does have its moments – there's a grave scene accompanied with a claustrophobic view from inside a coffin and some literal eye-popping stuff.
Owing to the relative lack of violence, the film is able to showcase some classy acting crowned by an incredible performance by Carradine, whose character is a complex personification of good and evil. Thurman adds a deeper layer to her character as the film unravels and Madsen gives a timely reminder of his inherent ability to portray borderline psychosis. Throw in the added bonus of having a Samuel L Jackson cameo and there's definitely some acting gold out in this one.
Vol.2 also gets to further develop its characters and bring added dimensions into the mix – something which would have been impossible amongst the blood-ridden mayhem of its prequel. Unfortunately, subplots featuring Sidewinder and Bill's adopted father figure are somehow missing in the UAE cut.
Also making a welcome return is QT's trademark dialogue and we have plenty of that although persistence with his non-linear chronology speaks more of self-indulgence than anything else.
Ultimately, Vol. 2 boils down to being the same sort of tribute vehicle that its predecessor was – albeit with different makeup. The film is laden down with numerous references and has its moments of campiness and quirks. However, it must be noted that QT has taken a plethora of styles and skillfully merged them into an end product which has hardly been the disaster many seem to call it. For this, he has to be given credit.
For me, definitely the better of the two parts, Volume 2 does a great job in bringing the Kill Bill experience to a satisfying closure. Definitely an entertaining ride but to be venerated as a modern cinematic masterpiece is asking too much. - Snider Rodrigues