In 2003, I was late to the Tarantino party but became a HUGE fan overnight when I saw his fourth film, KILL BILL.
Watching it again a decade later, every frame of this incredibly violent, exciting, intelligent and bold movie still blasted me with its brilliance.
Tarantino tells the story of a group of professional hitmen (and women) with clever code names, incredible individual style and kickass moves.
Uma Thurman is The Bride, who wakes up from a four year coma bent on revenge against her fellow hitmen that gunned her down at her wedding.
Tarantino's genius is that he tells the story across two complete films (this hit was followed by the quieter but no less powerful Volume 2) in a unique mashup of Japanese Anime, American Westerns, Kung Fu films and straight up action.
They styles are all melded together with QT's jaw dropping screenplay and his eclectic music choices that set a new tone for each chapter. The fact that every chapter of this story is told out of sequence until the final chapter at the end of Volume 2, only adds to the power of the film as you watch the pieces fit into place.
Thurman is excellent as The Bride and is well matched by Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A Fox and Michael Madsen as her Death Squad partners.
David Carradine has the best role of his career as Bill, who is heard but never seen in Volume 1. Tarantino has always had a gift for rediscovering actors from past decades and giving them terrific parts to play. Michael Parks plays a classic western sheriff that investigates the scene of the massacre at The Bride's wedding chapel and leaves a great impression (only to completely top himself in Volume 2 in a completely different part!)
KILL BILL is genius. The Bride's battle with the Crazy 88's is an instant action classic.
Note the two minute sequence in which The Bride arrives in Japan. It's a hundred edits, elaborate model work of the jumbo jet landing seemingly in the middle of the city, the blinding lights of the skyscrapers, a shot of every major character about to battle, set against the Bride's memories of the events that put her on the path to revenge. Most filmmakers would have shown a sign that said Tokyo, a stock shot of an airplane landing and Thurman on the motorcycle. There is more power and style in that two minute sequence that most films made before or since.
To be sure, KILL BILL is profane, violent, gory and shocking. And smart, thrilling, fast and funny.
Definitely in my Top Ten of all time. KILL BILL hasn't lost a bit of its edge in the ten years since its release, like The Bride's Hattori Hanzo sword, it WILL cut you! A+