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A Smart Critique of Kill Bill

Most of the critical analysis I’ve seen of Kill Bill has been mindless stuff that anyone could have written – its too violent, its only half a story, its not as good as Pulp Fiction, did I mention its too violent? But finally, we get a smart critique that raises some good issues:

Sure, “Kill Bill Vol. 1″ betrays all the hyperactive cinephilia that we’ve come to expect from a Tarantino film — boasting “quotes” from Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns, Shaw Brothers chop-socky flicks, and ultraviolent yakuza fare — but it’s too much, and too obvious. “Kill Bill” doesn’t nod toward the films it likes; it is the films it likes, often two or three of them at the same time — Battle Royale meets Sukeban Deka meets Master of the Flying Guillotine.

True, Tarantino’s always been lifting bits — witness the controversy over “Reservoir Dogs” and similar scenes in the Hong Kong action flick City Of Fire — but the old Tarantino was a true remixer, who could take certain known elements, add something new, and make them his own. For Tarantino, that often meant jazzing up genre tropes with motor-mouthed monologues, off-kilter characters, and loopy story structures.

But the main problem with the violence in “Kill Bill” is that that’s all there is. It’s like ordering a “Mac Royale” and getting a kilo of raw meat — no bun, no ketchup, certainly not any pickle. Elevating B-movie schlock into mega-budgeted, over-hyped blockbusters is exactly what Hollywood has been doing since the mid-’80s, and Tarantino joins the club here.

bret

43 Comments

  1. I agree with you completely. What is wrong with people that they will accept drivel and pretentious direction as “genius?” Coolness means so little when it’s without soul. Kill Bill Vol. 1 is what happens when an overgrown, uninteresting kid gets his hands on funding plus enough disciples to believe anything he puts out will be a cult classic.

  2. Why the hell do you put up a negative review about Kill Bill that you agree with on whats supposed to be a QT fan site?
    Totally fucked up. Take this site down youre not a QT fan.

  3. Why the hell do you put up a negative review about Kill Bill that you agree with on whats supposed to be a QT fan site?
    Totally fucked up. Take this site down youre not a QT fan.

  4. Whatever. Just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean I’m so mindless as to think everything that Tarantino does is great and beyond critique.

    This is a fan info site – not a shrine. If you want to see only one side of the story, this isn’t the place for you – there are plenty of other Tarantino sites out there that put their head in the sand to negative stuff about Quentin for you to choose from.

  5. Whatever. Just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean I’m so mindless as to think everything that Tarantino does is great and beyond critique.

    This is a fan info site – not a shrine. If you want to see only one side of the story, this isn’t the place for you – there are plenty of other Tarantino sites out there that put their head in the sand to negative stuff about Quentin for you to choose from.

  6. There are many valid arguements the people can make that would seem to point that kill bill is a bad movie, like the ones posted above. However, I feel this movie is more than the sum of its parts. The simple plot still has us dieing to know what happens next, the “not as good as pulp fiction” dialogue still had us laughing throughout the movie, and the “mindless violence” was put to use in fight scenes that still had the hair standing up on the back of my neck everytime I watch it. He manages to make a satire that respects the movies it copies, but at the same time surpasses them.

  7. There are many valid arguements the people can make that would seem to point that kill bill is a bad movie, like the ones posted above. However, I feel this movie is more than the sum of its parts. The simple plot still has us dieing to know what happens next, the “not as good as pulp fiction” dialogue still had us laughing throughout the movie, and the “mindless violence” was put to use in fight scenes that still had the hair standing up on the back of my neck everytime I watch it. He manages to make a satire that respects the movies it copies, but at the same time surpasses them.

  8. Look it’s just a good movie. There are problems and it ain’t a classic, but I enjoyed it for what it is. Quentin Tarantino is not a genius, if it wasn’t for the countless movies he references here this wouldn’t exist. It was just a good movie marred by questionable choices in lenght and design.
    QT better have a good reson to make a three hour b movie,
    this one couldn’ve been a solid 139 minute feature.
    What i saw as good, but indulgent and padded.
    the jury is still out on this one.
    Good movie not great.

  9. Look it’s just a good movie. There are problems and it ain’t a classic, but I enjoyed it for what it is. Quentin Tarantino is not a genius, if it wasn’t for the countless movies he references here this wouldn’t exist. It was just a good movie marred by questionable choices in lenght and design.
    QT better have a good reson to make a three hour b movie,
    this one couldn’ve been a solid 139 minute feature.
    What i saw as good, but indulgent and padded.
    the jury is still out on this one.
    Good movie not great.

  10. Well I think its a masterpiece. Just because Tarantino references popular culture and older movies doesnt mean he doesnt have his own cool ideas and personality. HE DOES. Ive never seen a film like Kill Bill before. Its 100% his. Wake the hell up.
    And to the owner of this site: Youre running a site about QT films for what reason? Because you DONT like his films? I think your a poser and your full of sh*t.

  11. Well I think its a masterpiece. Just because Tarantino references popular culture and older movies doesnt mean he doesnt have his own cool ideas and personality. HE DOES. Ive never seen a film like Kill Bill before. Its 100% his. Wake the hell up.
    And to the owner of this site: Youre running a site about QT films for what reason? Because you DONT like his films? I think your a poser and your full of sh*t.

  12. the one who is the poser and full of sh*t is the guy who will get on his knees and swallow anything his idol hands out. i think it’s great that on a site devoted to tarantino there can some critical thought. taratino made some amazing, original screenplays and movies but that doesn’t mean that everthing he produces is gold

  13. the one who is the poser and full of sh*t is the guy who will get on his knees and swallow anything his idol hands out. i think it’s great that on a site devoted to tarantino there can some critical thought. taratino made some amazing, original screenplays and movies but that doesn’t mean that everthing he produces is gold

  14. This site is a joke. Every serious critic has given “Kill Bill” a thumbs up, but a QT site agrees with a negative review?! I’m not a QT blind worshipper, but “Kill Bill” is one of the most dazzling movie experiences I have witnessed in the last years. Shame on you site owner, whoever the hell you are.

  15. This site is a joke. Every serious critic has given “Kill Bill” a thumbs up, but a QT site agrees with a negative review?! I’m not a QT blind worshipper, but “Kill Bill” is one of the most dazzling movie experiences I have witnessed in the last years. Shame on you site owner, whoever the hell you are.

  16. I agree that Kill Bill Vol. 1 is a movie that truly emphazises style. However, when the plot of the movie consists of an unnamed bride seeking revenge on her would-be attackers, to add heady, deep metaphors and purposefull subplots would be a mistake. As for a Mac Royale, I’m a carnivore, and violence is never all there is if it is done well, and QT can do more with the slice of a sword through a limb than most directors can do with a two-hour film.

  17. I agree that Kill Bill Vol. 1 is a movie that truly emphazises style. However, when the plot of the movie consists of an unnamed bride seeking revenge on her would-be attackers, to add heady, deep metaphors and purposefull subplots would be a mistake. As for a Mac Royale, I’m a carnivore, and violence is never all there is if it is done well, and QT can do more with the slice of a sword through a limb than most directors can do with a two-hour film.

  18. Here’s my own opinion, take it for what its worth;
    Watching Kill Bill in theaters was one of the most enjoyable movie experiences I have ever had. The movie overflowed with style in every facet of its production. Lighting, camerawork, choreography, acting, ect. were all excellent. Not to mention the score, which is one of best i’ve ever heard.
    One thing that doesn’t make sense to me though is why so many people downplay the movie due to its simplistic plot, which it, by all means, does have. I consider movies to be art, and I think they should be taken for what they are and not compared to other movies. Kill Bill succeeded in what it wanted to do; put the plot on the back burner and create a mind-blowing roller-coaster ride for the senses. A great movie does not need to give you some profound truth or lesson, but merely create an enjoyable experience you will remember for years to come. Movies, like any other form of art, are what YOU make them, not film critics, or anyone else.
    Now you are probably thinking that I am some crazy QT fanatic, defending Kill Bill just for the sake of defending it, but I am not. True, I did enjoy pulp, dogs, and jackie brown very much, but that does not mean I loved Kill Bill just because QT made it. Again, I just take each movie for what it is, nothing more, nothing less.
    One final thing I wanted to add:
    Why do people feel the need to post meaningless and ignorant comments regarding the site owner’s critique of Kill Bill? How immature must you be to say this site should be taken down because its creator doesn’t give a glowing review of Kill Bill? Last time I checked, the Internet was a place where one was free to give their opinion, not to mention on YOUR OWN website!

  19. Here’s my own opinion, take it for what its worth;
    Watching Kill Bill in theaters was one of the most enjoyable movie experiences I have ever had. The movie overflowed with style in every facet of its production. Lighting, camerawork, choreography, acting, ect. were all excellent. Not to mention the score, which is one of best i’ve ever heard.
    One thing that doesn’t make sense to me though is why so many people downplay the movie due to its simplistic plot, which it, by all means, does have. I consider movies to be art, and I think they should be taken for what they are and not compared to other movies. Kill Bill succeeded in what it wanted to do; put the plot on the back burner and create a mind-blowing roller-coaster ride for the senses. A great movie does not need to give you some profound truth or lesson, but merely create an enjoyable experience you will remember for years to come. Movies, like any other form of art, are what YOU make them, not film critics, or anyone else.
    Now you are probably thinking that I am some crazy QT fanatic, defending Kill Bill just for the sake of defending it, but I am not. True, I did enjoy pulp, dogs, and jackie brown very much, but that does not mean I loved Kill Bill just because QT made it. Again, I just take each movie for what it is, nothing more, nothing less.
    One final thing I wanted to add:
    Why do people feel the need to post meaningless and ignorant comments regarding the site owner’s critique of Kill Bill? How immature must you be to say this site should be taken down because its creator doesn’t give a glowing review of Kill Bill? Last time I checked, the Internet was a place where one was free to give their opinion, not to mention on YOUR OWN website!

  20. And where’d this idea that I dislike Kill Bill come from? All I’ve said here is that this was the smartest critical article I’ve seen – I didn’t agree with it.

  21. And where’d this idea that I dislike Kill Bill come from? All I’ve said here is that this was the smartest critical article I’ve seen – I didn’t agree with it.

  22. Some of the idiotic comments (‘take down this site, you’re not a fan’) explain in the utmost clarity the reason why referenda (and for some, even voting) should never be allowed: lack of brains.

  23. Some of the idiotic comments (‘take down this site, you’re not a fan’) explain in the utmost clarity the reason why referenda (and for some, even voting) should never be allowed: lack of brains.

  24. has anybody got any thoughts on the actual criticism or are we all too concerned with the site owner? i thought that to say that the trouble wit the violence is “that’s all there is” is nonsense. I’m a John Smith’s drinker so that’s one thing i won’t put up with. have we forgoten about the dramatic contrast of scenes, or how about the snow as connotations of innocence within Liu. that’s what the cartoon was there for wont it? then there’s the use of camera angles and all that other stuff, you know the directing! i’m trying to write an essay on the bastard so stop your bitching and help us out! Chuzz.

  25. has anybody got any thoughts on the actual criticism or are we all too concerned with the site owner? i thought that to say that the trouble wit the violence is “that’s all there is” is nonsense. I’m a John Smith’s drinker so that’s one thing i won’t put up with. have we forgoten about the dramatic contrast of scenes, or how about the snow as connotations of innocence within Liu. that’s what the cartoon was there for wont it? then there’s the use of camera angles and all that other stuff, you know the directing! i’m trying to write an essay on the bastard so stop your bitching and help us out! Chuzz.

  26. I think everyone has valid points though i do think this movie is a masterpiece. Some people fail to realize that the film genre is multi-faceted just like the literary genre. Don’t treat Kill Bill like a regular film. Its basically a comic book compared to a piece of so-called “more sophisticated” literature even though both can be just as brilliant in their own way. One must accept the unrealistic, simplified, evaggerated and glorified aspects of Kill Bill like we accept the constant action, thin or irrelevant or pretensious plot, and other devices of comic books, manga, or anime. Secondly, praise AND criticism is an essential part of being a fan because one respects the artist enough to say that u like or dislike aspects of his/her work and may help the artist realize faults or different possibilities in his/her work. Yeah… in the words of QT this film was like sex to me but i can see why some people could not like aspects of the film.

  27. I think everyone has valid points though i do think this movie is a masterpiece. Some people fail to realize that the film genre is multi-faceted just like the literary genre. Don’t treat Kill Bill like a regular film. Its basically a comic book compared to a piece of so-called “more sophisticated” literature even though both can be just as brilliant in their own way. One must accept the unrealistic, simplified, evaggerated and glorified aspects of Kill Bill like we accept the constant action, thin or irrelevant or pretensious plot, and other devices of comic books, manga, or anime. Secondly, praise AND criticism is an essential part of being a fan because one respects the artist enough to say that u like or dislike aspects of his/her work and may help the artist realize faults or different possibilities in his/her work. Yeah… in the words of QT this film was like sex to me but i can see why some people could not like aspects of the film.

  28. Taste is subjective. You either like it, don’t like it, or don’t care either way. Instead of arguing over who’s right or wrong, maybe you should just accept the fact that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. This sure would cut down on all this frenetic complaining and defending going on.
    BTW — I liked KILL BILL. I think it’s aesthetically entertaining on a myriad of levels and I can’t wait for Vo. 2 … of course, then again, that IS just my opinion, right? …

  29. Taste is subjective. You either like it, don’t like it, or don’t care either way. Instead of arguing over who’s right or wrong, maybe you should just accept the fact that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. This sure would cut down on all this frenetic complaining and defending going on.
    BTW — I liked KILL BILL. I think it’s aesthetically entertaining on a myriad of levels and I can’t wait for Vo. 2 … of course, then again, that IS just my opinion, right? …

  30. I’m afraid what you don’t understand is that Kill Bill is so different from any other movie Quentin Taratino has done, in the sense that because it is striped down and has no “bun or ketchup” so to speak that is what makes it “cool”. Quentin Taratino has taken these elements from Japanese culture and injected them into American culture.For years many people have made movies with nothing but violence and to much ridacule however Quentin Taratino makes sure that the cinematics and sound in the film also prove that he will always be different and cool.

  31. I’m afraid what you don’t understand is that Kill Bill is so different from any other movie Quentin Taratino has done, in the sense that because it is striped down and has no “bun or ketchup” so to speak that is what makes it “cool”. Quentin Taratino has taken these elements from Japanese culture and injected them into American culture.For years many people have made movies with nothing but violence and to much ridacule however Quentin Taratino makes sure that the cinematics and sound in the film also prove that he will always be different and cool.

  32. jeebus! i cant believe these morons are slagging off the site owner for putting up a bad review of kill bill?! so you only want on this site what you want to hear?! im sure tarantino wouldnt have got anywhere in life if someone didnt criticise him now and then – you learn from your mistakes. im sure many qt fans are disappointed by kill bill

  33. jeebus! i cant believe these morons are slagging off the site owner for putting up a bad review of kill bill?! so you only want on this site what you want to hear?! im sure tarantino wouldnt have got anywhere in life if someone didnt criticise him now and then – you learn from your mistakes. im sure many qt fans are disappointed by kill bill

  34. kill bill was the stupidest piece of shit movie i had ever seen

  35. kill bill was the stupidest piece of shit movie i had ever seen

  36. hey y’all. i suppose it’s legit to say that Kill Bill IS its favorite movies considering the ‘tributes’. but/and i think Tarantino made the flick that way deliberately.
    some of you take the man way too seriously.
    the movie was fun and that was that. i thought it was cool that Vol. 2 took a different tone than Vol. 1, and Quentin being Quentin, gave us good OST’s.
    heck, i liked it enough to bid for a pair of Onitsuka’s on ebay! ha-ha.
    ps: KENTUT, you Melayu eh?

  37. hey y’all. i suppose it’s legit to say that Kill Bill IS its favorite movies considering the ‘tributes’. but/and i think Tarantino made the flick that way deliberately.
    some of you take the man way too seriously.
    the movie was fun and that was that. i thought it was cool that Vol. 2 took a different tone than Vol. 1, and Quentin being Quentin, gave us good OST’s.
    heck, i liked it enough to bid for a pair of Onitsuka’s on ebay! ha-ha.
    ps: KENTUT, you Melayu eh?

  38. What a hack job of a “critique.” There is no smart insight at all.
    This critic follows a ‘normal’ trend I have observed. It is as as if many people seem to check their brains at the popcorn concession stand when they go to the movies these days. Can’t people relate to stories that are NOT about plot, but MORE about a journey in movies anymore. Quentin’s primary gift as a filmmaker is one of being a storyteller. In this movie the journey IS the story.
    And here is the big enchilada:
    “Kill Bill” (the volumes) IS AN EPIC MYTHOLOGY STORY in the best traditions of ancient Greek moral, VERY WESTERN (as in culture not genre,) epic stories. To understand this construct is to really understand and appreciate the genius (yeah, I mean it) of what Tarantino has achieved in this beautiful Magnum Opus.
    Indeed, Tarantino HAS added something new to a classic struction of epic storytelling that has existed in many cultures around the world for thousands of years. The ORIGINALIY is Mr. Tarantino has created a mythical universe entirely of specific movies, and genre and sub-genres he loves. He has placed his protagonist within this ‘movie movie universe’ on a quest of revenge in an epic mythology story. We do learn may very human traits within ourselve, as we follow the bride on some fantastical challenges of endurance on her single minded quest of revenge. Epic mythology stories are meant to engage the audiences (your brain is required to participate, if only one can retrieve it from the popcorn concession stand.) The Bride’s journey is our journey. There is no one culture where revenge is not a strong and very complex reaction. We need to experience it to over come it. We do get lost in the forest.
    As for the violence and gore, when Medusa got her head chopped off that is bloody and violent, when a cyclops gets a stake through the eye that is bloody and violent. But what else is in the story.
    Look for them, there are many in “Kill Bill.” Again people, THE JOURNEY IS THE STORY. Many critics have absolutely no sense of STORYTELLING history. Many reviews I have read are simply not about the movie itself, but about Quentin Tarantino, the man. What hackster these people are pretending to be film critics. Once again Mr. Quentin Tarantino has proven he has smarts and depth that many cannot even begin to see and/or understand.

  39. What a hack job of a “critique.” There is no smart insight at all.
    This critic follows a ‘normal’ trend I have observed. It is as as if many people seem to check their brains at the popcorn concession stand when they go to the movies these days. Can’t people relate to stories that are NOT about plot, but MORE about a journey in movies anymore. Quentin’s primary gift as a filmmaker is one of being a storyteller. In this movie the journey IS the story.
    And here is the big enchilada:
    “Kill Bill” (the volumes) IS AN EPIC MYTHOLOGY STORY in the best traditions of ancient Greek moral, VERY WESTERN (as in culture not genre,) epic stories. To understand this construct is to really understand and appreciate the genius (yeah, I mean it) of what Tarantino has achieved in this beautiful Magnum Opus.
    Indeed, Tarantino HAS added something new to a classic struction of epic storytelling that has existed in many cultures around the world for thousands of years. The ORIGINALIY is Mr. Tarantino has created a mythical universe entirely of specific movies, and genre and sub-genres he loves. He has placed his protagonist within this ‘movie movie universe’ on a quest of revenge in an epic mythology story. We do learn may very human traits within ourselve, as we follow the bride on some fantastical challenges of endurance on her single minded quest of revenge. Epic mythology stories are meant to engage the audiences (your brain is required to participate, if only one can retrieve it from the popcorn concession stand.) The Bride’s journey is our journey. There is no one culture where revenge is not a strong and very complex reaction. We need to experience it to over come it. We do get lost in the forest.
    As for the violence and gore, when Medusa got her head chopped off that is bloody and violent, when a cyclops gets a stake through the eye that is bloody and violent. But what else is in the story.
    Look for them, there are many in “Kill Bill.” Again people, THE JOURNEY IS THE STORY. Many critics have absolutely no sense of STORYTELLING history. Many reviews I have read are simply not about the movie itself, but about Quentin Tarantino, the man. What hackster these people are pretending to be film critics. Once again Mr. Quentin Tarantino has proven he has smarts and depth that many cannot even begin to see and/or understand.

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