Sunday, May 16, 2004

Watching Kill Bill, Vol. 2 it's hard not to wonder whether the contrasting tone and pacing of the two parts is due to the decision to split them or to a general messiness overall. While Jackie Brown had shown that Tarrantino had the potential to move past his numerous imitators, Kill Bill lapsed into amusing flash (Vol. 1) and sporadic tedium (Vol. 2). Perhaps a one-part 150-minute edit would have solved some of the problems but the whole thing has a self-referential home-movie feel like most of Kevin Smith's films. Tarrantino's film knowledge has always been over-stated--though deep in certain areas it's certainly quite narrow--but here he's just falling into his comfort zones. That may not necessarily be a bad place (it's where Shakespeare seems to have worked) but you'd better hope it's not a tiny clubhouse. I'm perhaps one of Kill Bill's almost-ideal viewers since I recognize the Morricone riffs (some anyway), catch the references to They Call Her One-Eye among numerous exploitation outings and know why Shogun Assassin is an appropriate, though still not particularly resonant, film for an assassin's child to watch. Still, while I kept trying to excuse the revenge concept as just a MacGuffin after a while it looks like Tarrantino takes it somewhat seriously, at least enough that it bogs down Vol. 2. Everything's slow enough that the plot actually starts to matter or anyway become something to think about other than the purty cinematography since not much else is going on. I mean: Who is this guy that gives away Bill's final location? And does it because Bill would want it that way? You half-expect to hear MST3K comments about "it's exposition time." The problems hardly stop there but I don't particularly feel like going further tonight.