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Kill Bill Vol. 2

Starring Uma Thurman and David Carradine; Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino
website: www.kill-bill.com

In English and Japanese, with subtitles

We have seen the snide comments on the message boards by Tarantino-fanboys who, noting our summation of Kill Bill as "(a) PRETENTIOUS CLAPTRAP WASTE OF TIME, (part one)" and its zero dollar rating, assume that we would be rendering a verdict on Kill Bill Vol. 2 as an equally PRETENTIOUS CLAPTRAP WASTE OF TIME, (part two). To them we say watch reruns of The Odd Couple teevee show until you get to the one that redefines the word "assume". That should keep (them) busy so we can say . . .

IN SHORT: The best Tarantino flick since whatever came before that last pretentious claptrap vapid and story-light waste of time. [Rated R. 127 minutes]

The fact is that we happen to like writer/director Quentin Tarantino's movies. We admire his dialog and his prodigious music knowledge. We still think he's way too self-admiring of how clever his filmmaking is, because all of his stuff needs a more liberal hand on a much sharper editing blade -- this is not the time to explain to us how every homage is important to the very integrity of his work. Nor do we care if he shot part of his film in 16mm, as opposed to 35mm, to duplicate the grainy "blowed-up" look of the cheaper stock as used in very low budget chop sockey films. All we really care about is enough story to drive a film along at a merry pace with enough character background to keep us interested in what is happening to the sword fodder on screen.

Kill Bill Vol. 2, with only a couple of missing pieces, makes prior knowledge of Kill Bill totally unnecessary. Basically, three characters seen only briefly -- and introduced -- in the last film take center stage here. You won't know who two of 'em are, in detail, without the first film but there's more than enough background material here to give you enough to make up the difference.

What is reintroduced in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2 is a wedding rehearsal for the former "Arlene Machiavelli" -- that's the Vol. 1 name. With this sequel, we get a new moniker, Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman), but the same set of bloody events as former boss and lover Bill (David Carradine) sends a hit squad in to kill all present at the wedding chapel. "Beatrix," you see, was a paid assassin in the employ of Bill. She survives the hit and sets out to kill all of Bill's assassination squad, and Bill himself. Having dispatched Vivica A. Fox and Lucy Liu in the first flick. Vol. 2 picks up the kill spree, targeting the one-eyed Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah)and Bill's brother, Budd (Michael Madsen).

Tarantino takes the time to do as all good film makers should do. He introduces the characters and gives the viewing audience some background and motivation as to why everyone does what they do. We learn more of Bill and Beatrix' romance and its dissolution, only briefly revealed in Vol. 1; learn how our fair haired killer learned her skills under tutelage of Pei Mei (Gordon Liu); learn more about the reasons behind all of Beatrix/Arlene's decisions and get to enjoy a whole messa kung fu and sword fighting in carefully choreographed sequences that, this time out, don't overstay their welcome.

Simply, Kill Bill Vol. 2 is such a superior piece of work to its predecessor that it almost screams for its predecessor to be slaughtered down to a manageable half hour so we can plant for one non-stop epic.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Kill Bill Vol. 2, he would have paid . . .

$7.50

worth every penny. Those with soft stomachs beware of one real grossout moment that hits just about when you think it's going to hit.

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