Running Time: 137 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Format: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
Region: 1
MSRP: $29.99

Own It!
Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (2004)

Obviously, this is the continuation of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Vol. 1, as the lethal Bride (Uma Thurman) continues her ride down the vengeance trail, hunting down the people who slaughtered her wedding party and left her for dead.

A lot of people have expressed disappointment in Part 2, and small wonder, as Part One was Tarantino's ode to the martial arts films of his youth, the Street Fighter series and various Chang Cheh kung fu bloodbaths. It was hyperbolic in the extreme, opening and closing with brutal fight scenes. In Volume 2, however, he strives to recreate the atmosphere of 70's grindhouse revenge dramas like Johnny Firecloud and They Call Her One-Eye, with more than a dollop of spaghetti western. It is a slower, more deliberate movie - given that Volume 1 was heavy on the action and fairly light on the characterization and snappy dialogue, Volume 2 is its mirror image, more definably what we have come to expect from a Tarantino movie. And that, apparently, is not what the nay-sayers wanted.

The decision to split what was originally one very long movie into two only slightly long movies was apparently the right choice: seeing "the whole gory story" in one sitting, one would, consciously or not, be expecting a bookending battle to match the fight with the Crazy 88s, and would be even more disappointed when it didn't arrive. The cooling off period between the two halves' release was necessary to give Volume 2 a chance to stand on its own - which it almost does.

Very nice transfer on the video elements, and the 5.1 soundtrack is especially well done - the burial scene in Chapter Seven will give you nightmares.

As we wait for the inevitable Deluxe Edition, we're going to have to be satisfied with the somewhat paltry special features we're given here. The Making of Kill Bill Volume 2 is a remix of the first disc's interview-driven featurette, with a very heavy dose of Tarantino and film clips. There is a video of Robert Rodriguez' band CHINGON performing at Volume 2's premiere, and, best of all, a deleted scene, in which Michael Jai White challenges Bill to a duel, and flawlessly impersonates a bad English dubbing job.

The individual collector is going to have to decide for him or herself whether to get this disc or wait for the (as yet unannounced) upgrade version. Either way, though, this movie, divided into parts or taken as a whole, stands as a fascinating Rosetta Stone of violent movie genres popular in the heyday of the grindhouse and drive-in movie theaters.

Dr. Freex, 8/25/2003