“In Kill Bill Vol. 1,” the Damsel Takes Care of Distress

BY REBECCA MARIE SASNETT

Stupid. It was just plain stupid. But hey, that’s kind of the point.

Released in 2003, “Kill Bill Vol. 1” is about a young bride (codename: Black Mumba) who wakes up after a four-year coma to find her baby gone and her new to-be husband and friends murdered — during her wedding rehearsal. She knows who did it. “His name is Bill,” says The Bride (“Pulp Fiction” star  Uma Thurman)

Bill (Kung Fu’s David Carradine) is the leader of a group of assassins, which“The Bride” used to be a part of, called “The Deadly Viper Assassination.” After The Bride awakes, she sets out on a mission to kill Bill and all his assassins, who include O-Ren Ishii (Charles Angels actress Lucy Lui), codename: Cottonmouth) and Vernita Green (Independence Day actress Vivica A.Fox), codename: Copperhea.

At first, the movie seemed pointless. Some things just make no sense, as if the director and writer Quentin Tarantino threw things in the movie just because he could. Well, that’s what he is known for doing.

For example, the car The Bride uses after waking up from the coma and which she stole from a nurse whose is called the Pussy Wagon, and has plates saying so. Here it’s almost as if Tarantino is mocking the original kung fu action movies by titling a car a stupid name. Essentially Knight rider’s car KITT is being made fun off.  Still, it’s clever if you think about it.

There are also the code names. They don’t make sense either. Why is The Bride’s code name Black Mumba when she is not black, as Ms. Green asks her quizzically — just before The Bride kills her in her kitchen.

Usually, according to the typical kung fu action movies, killings go on behind closed doors. But Kill Bill is a Tarantino film. That doesn’t happen. The Bride goes to Ms. Green’s house to kill her during the middle of the day, just as Ms. Green’s 4-year-old daughter comes home from school. Then The Bride kills the mother as the young girl walks in the kitchen and says, “When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I’ll be waiting.” Hmmm.

There is also the ending. Oh the ending. The Bride takes on at least 100+ samurais’ working for O-Ren Ishii — all at once. Wow.

Then, when she has her big fight with O-Ren Ishii, she kills her by slicing off the skin on her head. O-Ren Ishii can’t simply die the movie way, by a stab to the heart or a bullet. That would be too traditional for Tarantino.

Also, the whole last scene is in black and white. The bloodiest and most gruesome scene is in black in white. Why? For Tarantino, why not break with tradition and go with black and white?

One thing about Kill Bill: if you are searching for a traditional, high-action, damsel in distress kung fu movie, Kill Bill is not for you. These damsels might have distress, but they do take care of business.

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