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Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2003)
Rated R

Starring: Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah, and David Carradine

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

Delayed from its original February release date, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 continues the story from (surprise!) Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which was released last November. That story, of course, concerns the unnamed bride (Uma Thurman) who was left for dead at the hands of Bill (David Carradine) and a team of assassins following a wedding day massacre.

After being in a coma for four years, she awakened with a mean streak and began hunting down her assailants. In the first film, she basically plowed through the first few in a seemingly non-stop action barrage. In Vol. 2, the action slows down, providing a little back-story and allowing for more of the dialogue that writer/director Quentin Tarantino is known for delivering so well.

As with the first film, Tarantino loves to show his appreciation for the work of the grindhouse Shaw Brothers studios as well as spaghetti westerns. A training montage in the middle of the film is a perfect summation of Tarantino's fondness for the campy and savage as The Bride visits the Shaolin Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) in a flashback.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is a superior film to the first in that it allows the characters time to breathe after the rather tension-filled first chapter. The spaces between the action sequences allow the characters to verbalize their feelings and makes the action quite a bit more meaningful. We learn a lot more about The Bride and Bill and begin to respect them as much more than life-size action figures. Vol. 2 excels in making the viewer uncomfortable (as the first film did for almost the entire running time) but it does so in small doses, albeit strong ones.

David Carradine delivers a charismatic turn as Bill. He is almost hypnotic in his scenes with Uma Thurman. There is a definite chemistry between the character of The Bride and Bill that really makes their scenes together the best non-action scenes of either installment. Bill's rant about Clark Kent and a story about a goldfish are definite highlights.

Thurman, of course, is the dynamo that propels this film and the first. She can go from looking incredibly sexy to incredibly pissed-off in a rapid fashion and remain believable. She also benefits from this film's slower pace which gives The Bride plenty of time to emote.

As with any Tarantino film, there is an obvious love of the craft of filmmaking that results in a wonderfully intense experience for the viewer. Whether you decide to revel in the action sequences which often go in unexpected directions or try to play "spot-the-influence", Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is certainly an entertaining and rewarding film. When combined with the first volume, it is the best action film I've seen in years.

Trivia: The Bride never fires a gun in either movie and only holds a gun once. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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