By Leah Cresswell
Eleven years ago, almost to the day, Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman teamed up to create the unforgettably well-crafted masterpiece that is Kill Bill: Volume 1. I did not understand or realize the true beauty of this film until the very end and even more so after I had finished it. No, I was not the biggest fan of the fake fighting or the red goo that was supposedly blood because I am not a violence obsessed weirdo like some people, but the storyline: amazing! Looking back on it, Kill Bill has such a creative and impressive story and plot behind it, it’s almost like nothing else matters.
It starts with a young woman in distress and, crying lying on the ground in a wedding dress. She is covered in blood, which causes instant intrigue. The woman’s whole body is taken over by wounds and people, who are clearly dead, surround her. The hatred and fear in her eyes is so captivating as she trembles, almost as if she is waiting to die.
What happened to her? A man is talking to the bride, cleaning some blood off of her face. Out of nowhere, he draws a gun, she declares that she is pregnant with his child, but it is too late. BANG! As the song playing on the soundtrack says, he shot her dead. But, this young fighter bride is not dead, she just slips into a four-year coma after Bill, her former boss and lover, shoots her in the head.
After this short opening scene, an obnoxiously long old-fashioned title sequence takes place that I fast-forwarded through, and then went back and watched later on to make sure I didn’t miss anything. There was nothing happening except words across the screen and music playing, making the length unnecessary. To me, it took away from and interrupted the opening scene that was so dramatic and theatrical. It looked just like a high school PowerPoint assignment, like something I could have done. I was so eager to get on with the movie that I didn’t want to wait for the title sequence to scroll on by. This could be a positive thing too, however: building suspense.
Next, the movie enters Chapter One (it says so on the screen). The bride, Thurman—a tough actress who took over a very difficult role and nailed it—drives up in a very crude-looking truck, in which the name is painted on in bright colors: Pussy Wagon. She goes into a very normal looking house and greets an “old friend” with a pleasant punch in the face. After that there is an intense fistfight, which later escalades into a knife fight.
The real story begins once the bride kills her old friend. Some of the unanswered questions receive their answers when there is a flashback to a woman, the bride, in the hospital. The viewer learns that the bride was part of a highly trained team of assassins and they tried to kill her for reasons unknown throughout the film. She wakes up from a coma four years after being brutally attacked and shot by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, a squad she was once involved with. Her unborn child, the daughter of the squad’s leader, appears to be no longer in the picture, so she assumes that the baby is dead. The whole movie is about how the bride seeks her revenge on the people who ruined her life.
Tarantino takes kung fu, along with Japanese martial arts, and combines it with an action-packed plot to create what looks like a bunch of special effects. However, the fighting is all done with wires, so the characters are actually jumping off balconies and flipping over walls while sword fighting. Which scene am I talking about? None other than the scene where the bride takes on one of her former assassin buddies and her security team in Japan. O-ren Ishii—played by Lucy Liu— became the leader of an organized crime committee upon the disbandment of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. She has an army called the Crazy 88 that protects her at all costs. The Bride defeats them, and then scalps Ishii.
After this, the bride takes Ishii’s right hand woman, Sofie Fatale, who is badly injured, and tortures her more, but leaves her alive to serve as a threat. Bill gets a hold of Fatale later on and says the most incredible ending line I have ever heard, “Is she aware that her daughter is still alive?” I had chills running down my spine when I heard the final words of this film. The people the bride killed deserved what they got and they most certainly had it coming to them, but she eradicated countless people for one main reason: her daughter was taken from her by those she thought she could trust. I stared at the TV for such a long time after wrapping my brain around what I had just seen. I felt partially enthralled by the gore, and partially fascinated by the violent chaos that came to the screen directly from Tarantino’s insane brain.
I cannot wait to watch the sequel and see what these fearless characters have coming for them. I will have to pass on the popcorn this time, though, because the gushing blood I know now to expect doesn’t exactly go well with movie snacks and a weak stomach. ♦