Kill Bill

From Academic Kids

Kill Bill is the fourth feature film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Though technically one film, it was released in two parts – Volume 1 & Volume 2 – due to its long (4+ hour) running time. Volume 1 was released in October 2003 and Volume 2 was released in April 2004. Volume 1 grossed $70 million USD in its American release while Volume 2 grossed $66 million USD.

Reviews were mostly positive, with some reviewers regarding it as a cinematic masterpiece. Other reviewers felt that Tarantino's homage to Asian cinema was overly indulgent, or that it was a new low in cinematic morality. Meanwhile, some conservative critics decried its extremely graphic and exaggerated depictions of violence.



Actor Role AKA
Uma Thurman The Bride Black Mamba
David Carradine Bill Snake Charmer
Vivica A. Fox Vernita Green Copperhead
Lucy Liu O-Ren Ishii Cottonmouth
Michael Madsen Budd Sidewinder
Daryl Hannah Elle Driver California Mountain Snake
Sonny Chiba Hattori Hanzo
Chiaki Kuriyama Gogo Yubari
Julie Dreyfus Sofie Fatale
Gordon Liu Johnny Mo & Pai Mei
Michael Parks Earl McGraw & Esteban Vihaio
Perla Haney-Jardine B.B.
Helen Kim Karen Kim

Synopsis and story influence

Kill Bill relies heavily on influences that Tarantino wished to pay tribute to. These include the spaghetti western, Kung Fu movies of the 1960s and 1970s, Chinese martial arts films, Japanese martial arts films, revenge themed movies, such as Lady Snowblood, and films like The Seven Samurai. There are also several references to other films either written and/or directed by Tarantino.

Some elements of the story and the character Elle Driver are inspired by the Swedish movie Thriller - en grym film.

Uma Thurman plays "The Bride", seeking bloody revenge against "Bill" (David Carradine) and his assassins for their ruthless attack on her at a wedding chapel. With the rest of the wedding party slain, Bill shot The Bride in the head as she told him she was pregnant with his baby. The Bride is determined to kill all of the assassins, including Bill, her former boss and lover.

Overall story

The story is one of revenge by The Bride against those responsible for the massacre of her wedding rehearsal. It is divided into ten chapters, five chapters per film. As is common in Tarantino films, they are not arranged in chronological order.

In cinematic order:
  • Chapter 1: "2"
  • Chapter 2: The Blood Splattered Bride
  • Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren
  • Chapter 4: The MAN from OKINAWA
  • Chapter 5: Showdown at House of Blue Leaves
  • Chapter 6: Massacre at Two Pines
  • Chapter 7: The Lonely Grave of Paula Schultz
  • Chapter 8: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
  • Chapter 9: Elle and I
  • Chapter 10: Face to Face
In rough chronological order:
  • Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren
  • Chapter 8: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
  • Chapter 6: Massacre at Two Pines
  • Chapter 2: The Blood Splattered Bride
  • Chapter 4: The MAN from OKINAWA
  • Chapter 5: Showdown at House of Blue Leaves
  • Chapter 1: "2"
  • Chapter 7: The Lonely Grave of Paula Schultz
  • Chapter 9: Elle and I
  • Chapter 10: Face to Face

Volume 1

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The film begins with a dedication to Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku. A different cut of the film was released specifically for Japan, where it opened several weeks later. While the American cut of the movie shows a notably violent segment (the battle at the House of Blue Leaves) in black and white, the Japanese cut shows it in color. The film was shot over eight months, with some scenes filmed on location in Japan. However, most Japan scenes were actually shot in Beijing, China. The film also features Japanese Animation (anime) from animation studio Production I.G, which produced Ghost in the Shell.

Scenes are shown out of order. For example, the film begins with footage of the wedding, flashes forward to The Bride's second kill, then goes back to the wedding and The Bride's recovery from her coma. This nonsequential technique was used by Tarantino previously in Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. The following summary, however, is given in chronological order.

The Bride (AKA Black Mamba, played by Uma Thurman) is a former member of "The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad." She attempts to retire, but, while visibly pregnant, is attacked during her wedding rehearsal by the Deadly Vipers. The groom and the rest of the wedding party are murdered. The Bride is shot in the head and left for dead. Bill (David Carradine) later sends Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) to finish off the comatose Bride in the hospital, but decides at the last second that killing her while she lies helpless would be dishonorable.

Missing image
The Pussy Wagon is a 4-door chevy-like pickup truck featured on the movie Kill Bill. This vehicle has a hot interior with leather seats, pickup bed spoiler, hot rims.

During her 4-year coma, Buck, a hospital employee, sold her body to rapists. Soon after awakening, The Bride must confront a would-be rapist Buck had just left alone with her for the first time. She attacks and kills the rapist and eventually Buck, taking the keys to Buck's "Pussy Wagon" and launching her quest to eliminate her former associates.

She travels first to Okinawa, Japan where she asks master swordsmith Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba) for a katana sword with which to accomplish her revenge. Hattori Hanzo was Bill's teacher, and feels an obligation for having trained him. He agrees to break the oath he swore years before to never create "something that kills people" again.

Missing image
The Bride vs. O-Ren.

Flying to Tokyo, Japan, the Bride locates O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), a half-Chinese-American, half-Japanese girl raised on an American military base, orphaned by the yakuza clan, and now the boss of all bosses, ruler of the Tokyo underworld. In a nightclub named the "House of Blue Leaves", The Bride kills or maims all but one of O-Ren's bodyguards, the Crazy 88. She then pursues O-Ren outside to a snow-covered garden. Although injured in the exchange, the Bride ends the duel by slicing off the top of O-Ren Ishii's head, exposing her brain (later censored in some versions). Next, she obtains information about Bill and her other former associates by torturing the half-Japanese Sofie Fatale (Julie Dreyfus), one of Bill's lovers, and O-Ren's lawyer, best friend and second lieutenant.

Missing image
The Bride vs. Vernita Green (Nikki in the background).

Making another death list on the plane, the Bride then returns to the United States, to Pasadena, California where she kills Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox).

During this first film, The Bride's real name is bleeped out when characters say it. However, The Bride's real name is present in Volume One (check her boarding pass when she hops a flight to Okinawa or Tokyo).

Notable also in the film is the animated short explaining O-Ren's tragic backstory. It is directed by Kazuto Nakazawa, who also directed the Linkin Park video Breaking The Habit.

Volume 2

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Note: It is revealed in Volume 2 that The Bride's real name is Beatrix Kiddo. Though this does not occur until past the halfway point, Beatrix is the name used throughout this section to avoid confusion.

Kill Bill Volume 2 continues the story of Beatrix (The Bride) and her quest for vengeance. After a brief flashback to Bill shooting her at the wedding chapel, she begins the film by speaking directly to the camera, reviewing the events of Kill Bill Volume 1 and stating that she is on her way to "kill Bill." We return to the wedding chapel, and see for the first time what happened there before the attack. The segment is shot in black-and-white, with a relaxed pace. Taking a break from her wedding rehearsal, Beatrix is surprised to see Bill on the front porch of the chapel, playing his flute. He had tracked her down despite her attempt to leave him and her life as an assassin behind. They talk, and the story continues in real time up through the attack.

Moving to the present, when Bill hears of O-Ren's and Vernita Green's deaths, he knows Beatrix is going down the list, so he warns Budd to be careful, because she is coming. Budd seems unconcerned, concluding, "That woman deserves her revenge, and we deserve to die."

When she sneaks up to kill Budd (aka Sidewinder, played by Michael Madsen) at his trailer, he is ready with a shotgun, firing non-lethal rock salt into her chest immediately after the door is opened. He then phones Elle, who agrees to pay him a million dollars for Beatrix's Hattori Hanzo sword — with one condition: Beatrix "must suffer to her last breath."

Budd puts Beatrix in a wood coffin and buries her alive.

Flashback to many years before, when Bill took Beatrix to Pai Mei's temple. Pai Mei was revered as one of the greatest martial arts instructors — a perfect example of the Elderly Martial Arts Master stock character. Bill convinces him to train Beatrix, though it appears he fought his former master as part of the "discussion". Beatrix's training is extremely rigorous, with many hardships.

Missing image
Beatrix and Pai Mei.

Back in the coffin, Beatrix uses a board-breaking technique learned from Pai Mei, and eventually drives a fist through the lid. She is able to break the coffin and escape from the grave. She then hikes back to Budd's trailer where, from a rock ledge, she sees Elle Driver (aka California Mountain Snake).

Elle, along with Budd, believes her to be dead, and is meeting Budd to buy Beatrix's Hanzo sword for a million dollars. However, she has planted a black mamba in the suitcase with the money. When he opens the case, the snake strikes him. Reacting to the attack, Budd throws the money and some other things around his trailer, then crumbles to the floor. Elle lectures Budd as he dies.

While Elle is gathering the money to leave, Bill calls her cell phone. She tells him that Beatrix killed Budd with a black mamba, and that she killed Beatrix. She says that if he goes to a certain cemetery, he will be standing at "the final resting place of Beatrix Kiddo." This is the first time in the series that The Bride's name is spoken without the audio being bleeped.

The phone call is over when Elle picks up the Hanzo sword to leave the trailer. She opens the door, and Beatrix attacks her, kicking her back inside the trailer.

In the ensuing fight between the two women, Elle has Beatrix's sword. However, contrary to what he told others, Budd had kept his own Hanzo sword, which Beatrix finds during the fight.

Missing image
Beatrix vs. Elle.

Elle and Beatrix have a brief conversation while standing apart. We learn that years before, Pai Mei had snatched out Elle's eye. Elle reveals to Beatrix that she got her revenge when she poisoned Pai Mei's food, killing him. Elle and Beatrix clash briefly with the legendary Hanzo swords. Swords locked, Beatrix's hand darts out and snatches Elle's remaining eye, blinding her. Walking past the black mamba on the floor, Beatrix takes her own sword and abandons the trailer and Elle, who is smashing things and screaming, unable to locate her enemy.

At first, it may seem disappointing that Budd was not directly killed by Beatrix. However, considering the Bride's codename is Black Mamba, it could be said that she killed him (Also, if the Bride had not come after Budd in the first place, he would not be dead at all). Likewise, narrative logic shows that Elle Driver most likely fell to the black mamba that killed Budd. Therefore, it appears as if Tarantino was applying irony to the deaths of numbers 3 and 4 of the Bride's death list.

The story shifts to Mexico, and Esteban, a pimp who raised Bill and was a friend of his mother. Beatrix asks him, in a very respectful manner, where Bill is. He tells her, saying that Bill would want him to.

Missing image
Beatrix vs. Bill.

Beatrix drives to Bill's home, prepared to kill him. However, she finds that Bill is expecting her, with a surprise: B.B., their four-year-old daughter, whom Beatrix had thought was murdered during the wedding chapel attack. She is overcome with emotion upon finding her daughter alive. Her mission is put on hold while her attention temporarily shifts entirely to her daughter. She spends hours alone with her, watching a movie until B.B. falls asleep.

Beatrix returns to the living room and has a strange conversation with Bill, during which he shoots her with a dart containing truth serum. She tells him why she tried to retire — how she realized upon becoming pregnant that she must put her daughter's future above Bill, and leave behind the life of an assassin. He compares Beatrix with Clark Kent (Superman), referring to her attempts to be a normal citizen and saying that she was trying to hide her true, destined identity.

Missing image
Beatrix and B.B.

In their final encounter in the back yard, Bill accepts his fate after Beatrix disables him using the fatal Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, taught to her by Pai Mei without Bill's knowledge. The technique can be described as five blows to pressure points on the body, most notably the chest. As the victim walks away, he lasts only until his fifth step, whereupon his heart explodes inside his chest.

Samuel L. Jackson has a cameo role in the movie as Rufus, an organist in the El Paso Chapel. Samuel L. Jackson's character Rufus was also rumored to be Jules from Pulp Fiction, because of his desire to "walk the earth."

During Bill's interrogation of Beatrix, he says that she is a "natural born killer", a reference to the movie Natural Born Killers, for which Tarantino also wrote the initial screenplay.

DVD Release

In the United States Kill Bill Volume 1 was released on DVD on April 13, 2004 while Volume 2 was released August 10, 2004.

Before the release of Volume 1 Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, commented on future multiple releases of the Kill Bill DVDs: "This is the beauty of having two volumes — Vol. 1 goes out, Vol. 2 goes out, then Vol. 1 Special Edition, Vol. 2 Special Edition, the two-pack, then the Tarantino collection as a boxed set out for Christmas. It's called multiple bites at the apple. And you multiply this internationally."

These comments were heavily criticized by the online DVD community.

Planned sequel

Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly in April 2004 that he is planning a sequel:

Oh yeah, initially I was thinking this would be my Dollars trilogy. I was going to do a new one every ten years. But I need at least fifteen years before I do this again.
I've already got the whole mythology: Sofie Fatale will get all of Bill's money. She'll raise Nikki, who'll take on The Bride. Nikki deserves her revenge every bit as much as The Bride deserved hers. I might even shoot a couple of scenes for it now so I can get the actresses while they're this age.


Soundtrack albums have been released for each part.

Volume 1 soundtrack

The Soundtrack for Volume 1 reached number 45 on the Billboard 200 album charts and number one on the soundtracks in August 2003.

The track listing for the soundtrack is:

  1. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra
  2. That Certain Female by Charlie Feathers
  3. That Grand Finale (Parte Prima) by Luis Bacalov
  4. Twisted Nerve by Bernard Hermann
  5. Queen of the Crime Council by Lucy Liu and Julie Dreyfus
  6. Ode to Oren Ishii by The RZA
  7. Green Hornet Theme by Al Hirt
  8. Battle Without Honor or Humanity by Tomoyasu Hotei
  9. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda
  10. Woo Hoo by The 5,6,7,8's
  11. Crane/White Lightning by RZA and Charles Bernstein
  12. The Flower Of Carnage by Meiko Kaji
  13. The Lonely Shepherd by Gheorghe Zamfir
  14. You're My Wicked Life by David Carradine, Julie Dreyfus and Uma Thurman
  15. Ironside (excerpt) by Quincy Jones
  16. Super 16 (excerpt) by NEU!
  17. Yakuza Oren 1 by The RZA
  18. Banister Fight by The RZA

Volume 2 soundtrack

The Soundtrack for Kill Bill 2 reached number 58 on the Billboard 200 and has reached the ARIA Top 50 album charts in Australia. It has also reached number two on the Billboard soundtracks charts in the US.

Track listing:

  1. A Few Words From The Bride -- Uma Thurman
  2. Goodnight Moon -- Shivaree
  3. Il Tramonto -- Ennio Morricone
  4. Can't Hardly Stand It -- Charlie Feathers
  5. Tu Mir (edit) -- Lole y Manuel
  6. Summertime Killer -- Luis Bacalov
  7. The Chase -- Alan Reeves/ Phil Carradine/ Philip Brigham
  8. The Legend of Pai Mei -- David Carradine and Uma Thurman
  9. L'Arena -- Ennio Morricone
  10. A Satisfied Mind -- Johnny Cash
  11. A Silhouette of Doom -- Ennio Morricone
  12. About Her -- Malcolm McLaren
  13. Truly and Utterly Bill -- David Carradine and Uma Thurman
  14. Malaguea Salerosa -- Chingon
  15. Urami Bushi -- Meiko Kaji

Influence of other films

It has been observed that Quentin Tarantino gathers inspiration for his filmmaking from various sources. Some examples of this in Kill Bill:

External links


Template:Quentin Tarantino filmspt:Kill Bill de:Kill Bill es:Kill Bill fr:Kill Bill it:Kill Bill nl:Kill Bill ja:キル・ビル Vol.1 sv:Kill Bill: Volume 1


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