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.