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Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Rated R

Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, and David Carradine

Rating:
*****
out of
*****

After six years, Quentin Tarantino has returned with a film so jam-packed with action, B-movie references and blood that it had to be split into two parts.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 tells the tale of The Bride (Uma Thurman), a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS). Planning to go straight, she is left for dead on her wedding day after the other members of DiVAS attack her on the altar, killing her groom and her entire wedding party. However, she survives -- albeit in a coma for four years -- and when she awakens she swears revenge on her assailants and their boss, Bill (David Carradine).

To say this is a unique movie would be an understatement. To say this is a violent movie borders on laughably obvious. This is a Quentin Tarantino film and that alone makes it extraordinary. Not necessarily good, but definitely not your usual Hollywood-by-numbers action film. Thankfully, Tarantino's still got a wacked-out sense of humor and attention to visual detail and they make Kill Bill: Vol. 1 the year's most entertaining action film. To top it off, the film possesses the most on-screen gore-splashing since 1992's Dead Alive.

What makes this a little different from the previous Tarantino films is that there's very little in the way of memorable dialogue. Most of the entertainment is derived from visual or action-oriented situations. Being that the movie clocks in at just under two hours, that makes for a lot of interesting visuals and memorable action. This is a movie that never gets boring. For example, a flashback sequence -- something that's been done do death in other films -- is shown as a Japanese anime and it provides maximum visual and visceral impact.

It wouldn't be a Quentin Tarantino film without a kickass soundtrack and Kill Bill: Vol. 1 certainly possesses one. Taking songs from such diverse sources as Nancy Sinatra, the RZA and Tomayasu Hotei -- as well as 1970s movies and TV shows -- the film takes the viewer on an aural journey as well as a visual one. Hearing Hotei's "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" play as the film's climactic battle commences is one of my favorite moviegoing experiences of the year.

While this film might certainly be too intense for some viewers, those that have enjoyed Tarantino's previous films will no doubt revel in the pleasures to be found here. It's an adrenaline rush from the beginning to the credits. However, to get to the actual ending, we must return to the theater in four months to find out how it all wraps up. I, for one, can't wait.

Trivia: Uma Thurman's yellow track-suit is a direct homage to the one worn by Bruce Lee in Game of Death. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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