Killing Bill Sure Takes a Long Time

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Is Quentin Tarentino’s “Kill Bill, Vol. 2” a novel or a movie?
In a novel, either the author or a fictional character tells a story that consists of a sequence of events with dialogue in between to keep a reader awake and interested.

The opposite is the standard in a movie. Characters do not just stand around and talk for two hours. They do something. Basically, the action tells the story.

“Kill Bill, Vol. 2,” however, is a movie with a lot of dialogue that leads up to fighting scenes that are only a few minutes long. Further, the talking tells more of the story, not the action; therefore it comes off like a novel, not a movie.

The story follows a former assassin, played by Uma Thurman, and her quest for revenge against a group of professional killers she was once in league with. In the first movie, they unsuccessfully tried to kill her on the day of her wedding (she was pregnant at the time) at the bequest of a man named Bill, played by David Carradine. Volume two has her going after the remaining members of the gang she did not kill in volume one, including Bill. The remaining assassins are Budd and Elle played by Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah.

In this sequel, Uma Thurman’s character is finally revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo. In “Kill Bill, Vol. 1,” her name was beeped out and she was only referred to by her assassin code name: Black Mamba.

What works for this film is that it answers a lot of questions left unanswered in the first installment. It explains who Beatrix was getting married to and why, what happened to her baby (at the end of the first movie it was revealed that her unborn child was somehow alive), what her relationship is to Bill and why she was gunned down at the altar.

Also, the action scenes are innovative and informative. For example, in a scene that takes place in Budd’s trailer, a deadly snake jumps out of a suitcase full of money and paralyzes his body with its poisonous bite. As he lies on the floor dying, Elle explains to him the uniqueness of the snake. Further, it was clever how the name of the snake was the same as the code name Beatrix used during her days as an assassin.

While the action is good, it takes a long time for the actual fighting to take place. As Beatriz and Elle get ready to duel it out with swords inside Budd’s trailer, there is a long dramatic pause with anticlimactic music and close-up shots of each combatant, which is great for the first ten seconds. This, however, goes on for a minute and a half. As their two swords finally clash, what follows is only a few minutes of physicality.

As for the dialogue, it goes on and on. For professional killers these characters tend to hesitate a lot before killing a foe. In the climax chapter of the film Beatrix finally catches up with Bill. But before she does anything Bill explains to her why he tried to have her killed and then wants to hear her side of the story. While he does explain a lot, he uses comic book metaphors to get his point across and will not shut up once he does.

“Kill Bill Vol. 2” is more of a book on film than it is a movie. Every character has many things to say and basically tells the story in dialogue. Moviegoers want action and do not want to be told a story. It is too insulting to their intelligence. When something actually does happen, it only serves to wake people up from boredom.

Quentin Tarantino tried to make this movie stand on its own, but in doing so he made it too eccentric. While it is his style to break a lot of rules in his movies, there seemed to be no method to his madness.
TWO SMILEYS (out of four)