Kill Bill: Volume 1
Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a 2003 film about a former member of an elite team of assassins who seeks revenge on her former boss and partners after a massacre at her wedding rehearsal during which she was left for dead. The film was followed by Kill Bill: Volume 2.
- Revenge is a dish best served cold.
- Old Klingon proverb
- [To The Bride] Do you find me sadistic? You know, I'll bet I could fry an egg on your head right now if I wanted to. No, Kiddo, I'd like to believe you're aware enough, even now, to know there's nothing sadistic in my actions. Maybe towards those other jokers, but not you. No, Kiddo, this moment, this is me at my most ... masochistic.
- It's mercy, compassion and forgiveness I lack. Not rationality.
- Just because I have no wish to murder you before the eyes of your daughter does not mean parading her around in front of me is going to inspire sympathy. You and I have unfinished business. And not a goddamn fucking thing you've done in the subsequent four years, including getting knocked up, is going to change that.
- [to Nikki, Vernita Green's daughter, after killing Vernita] It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that, I'm sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it coming. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waiting.
- When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other that not only does God exist, you're doing his will.
- [about O-Ren] O-Ren Ishii was born on an American military base in Tokyo, Japan. The half-Japanese, half-Chinese American army brat made her first acquaintance with death at the age of 9. It was that age she witnessed the death of her parents at the hands of Japan's most ruthless Yakuza boss, Boss Matsumoto. She swore revenge. Luckily, for her, Boss Matsumoto was a pedophile. At 11, she got her revenge. By 20, she was one of the top female assassins in the world. At 25, she did her part in the killing of 9 innocent people, including my unborn daughter, in a small wedding chapel in El Paso, Texas. But on that day, four years ago, she made one big mistake. She should've killed 10.
- So, O-Ren... Any more subordinates for me to kill?
- [punctuating each word by spanking a boy with the flat side of her sword] This - is what - you get - for fucking - around - with Yakuzas! Go home to your mother!
- [in Japanese] Those of you lucky enough to still have your lives, take them with you! But leave the limbs you have lost. They belong to me now. [to Sofie, in English] Except you, Sofie! You stay right where you are!
- O-REN ISHII! Shoubu wa mada tsuicha inai yo! [calling out O-Ren in Japanese: "You and I have unfinished business!"]
- [to Sofie] I am gonna ask you questions. And every time you don't give me answers, I'm gonna cut something off. And I promise you, they will be things you will miss. Give me your other arm!
- As I said before, I've allowed you to keep your wicked life for two reasons. And the second reason is so you can tell him [Bill] in person everything that happened here tonight. I want him to witness the extent of my mercy by witnessing your deformed body. I want you to tell him all the information you just told me. I want him to know what I know. I want him to know I want him to know. And I want them all to know they'll all soon be as dead as O-Ren.
- I might never have liked you. Point in fact, I despised you. But that shouldn't suggest that I don't respect you. Dying in our sleep is a luxury that our kind is rarely afforded. My gift to you.
- Thought that was pretty fucking funny, didn't you? Word of advice, shithead: don't you ever wake up.
- Funny. You like samurai swords; I like baseball. [throws a ball at the Bride, who slices it in midair]
- I've done what I swore an oath to God twenty-eight years ago to never do again. I've created "something that kills people". And in that purpose, I was a success. I've done this because, philosophically, I'm sympathetic to your aim. I can tell you, with no ego, this is my finest sword. If, on your journey, should you encounter God, God will be cut.
- For those regarded as warriors, when engaged in combat, the vanquishing of thine enemy can be the warrior's only concern. Suppress all human emotion and compassion. Kill whoever stands in thy way, even if that be Lord God or Buddha himself. This truth lies at the heart of the art of combat.
- Revenge is never a straight line. It's a forest, and like a forest it's easy to lose your way ... to get lost ... to forget where you came in.
- [after she cuts off Boss Tanaka's head, in Japanese] So that you understand how serious I am.... I'm going to say this in English. [puts her sword down and says to her councilmen in English while Sofie translates] As your leader, I encourage you, from time to time and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you're unconvinced a particular plan of action I've decided is the wisest, tell me so! But allow me to convince you. And I promise you, right here and now, no subject will ever be taboo ... except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is – I collect your fucking head. [holds up Tanaka's head] Just like this fucker here. Now, if any of you sons of bitches got [raises her voice] ANYTHING ELSE TO SAY, NOW'S THE FUCKING TIME!!! [pause, in a calm voice] I didn't think so. [drops Tanaka's head on the table and says to her councilmen in Japanese] Gentlemen, this meeting is adjourned.
- [in Japanese] Swords, however, never get tired. I hope you saved your energy. If you haven't... You may not last five minutes. But as last looks go, you could do worse.
- Silly Caucasian girl likes to play with samurai swords. You might not be able to fight like a samurai, but you can at least die like a samurai.
- That really was a Hattori Hanzo sword. [falls dead, the top of her head slashed off]
- Vernita Green: Black Mamba. I should have been motherfucking Black Mamba.
- Buck: My name is Buck, and I'm here to fuck.
- Sofie: [in French] Burn in hell, you stupid, stupid blonde! I'll tell you nothing!
- Sofie: Guessing won't be necessary. She informed me.
- Budd: [on The Bride] That woman...deserves her revenge. And we...deserve to die.
- This is a flash-forward to a scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2, in which Budd adds: "But then again, so does she".
- Bill: Elle, you're going to abort the mission.
- Elle Driver: What?!
- Bill: We owe her better than that.
- Elle Driver: [screaming] Oh, you don't owe her shit!
- Bill: Will you keep your voice down?
- Elle Driver: [quietly] You don't owe her shit.
- Bill: May I say one thing?
- Elle Driver: Speak.
- Bill: Y'all beat the hell out of that woman, but you didn't kill her. And I put a bullet in her head, but her heart just kept on beatin'. Now, you saw that yourself with your own beautiful blue eye, did you not? We've done a lot of things to this lady; and if she ever wakes up, we'll do a whole lot more. But one thing we won't do is sneak into her room in the night like a filthy rat and kill her in her sleep. And the reason we won't do that thing is because... that thing would lower us. Don't you agree, Miss Driver?
- Elle Driver: I guess.
- Bill: Do you really have to guess?
- Elle Driver: [sighs] No. I don't really have to guess. I know.
- Earl McGraw: Son Number 1?
- Son Number 1: Yeah?
- Earl McGraw: This tall drink of blonde cocksucker ain't dead.
- Earl McGraw: Who's the bride?
- Edgar McGraw: Don't know. The name on the marriage certificate is "Arlene Machiavelli." That's a fake. We've all just been calling her "The Bride" on account of the dress.
- Earl McGraw: You can tell she was pregnant. Man'd have to be a mad dog to shoot a goddamn good-looking gal like that in the head. Look at her. Hay-colored hair, big eyes. She's a little blood-spattered angel.
- Vernita: So I suppose it's a little late for an apology, huh?
- The Bride: You suppose correctly.
- Vernita: Look, bitch...I need to know if you're going to start any more shit around my baby girl.
- The Bride: You can relax for now. I'm not going to murder you in front of your child, okay?
- Vernita: That's being more rational than Bill led me to believe you were capable of.
- The Bride: It's mercy, compassion, and forgiveness I lack. Not rationality.
- Vernita: Look. I know I fucked you over. I fucked you over bad. I wish to God I hadn't, but I did. You have every right to want to get even.
- The Bride: No, no, no, no, no. No, to get even, even-Steven? I would have to kill you...go up to Nikki's room, kill her...then wait for your husband, the good Dr. Bell, to come home and kill him. That would be even, Vernita. That'd be about square. [draws a square in the air with a finger]
- Vernita: Look, if I could go back in a machine, I would. But I can't. All can tell you is that I'm a different person now.
- The Bride: Oh great. I don't care.
- Vernita: Be that as it may, I know I don't deserve your mercy or your forgiveness. However, I beseech you for both on behalf of my daughter.
- The Bride: Bitch. You can stop right there. Just because I have no wish to murder you before the eyes of your daughter does not mean parading her around in front of me is going to inspire sympathy. You and I have unfinished business. And not a goddamn fucking thing you've done in the subsequent four years including getting knocked up is going to change that.
- Vernita: So when do we do this?
- The Bride: It all depends. When do you want to die? Tomorrow? The day after tomorrow?
- Vernita: How about tonight, bitch?
- The Bride: Splendid. Where?
- Vernita: There's a baseball diamond where I coach Little League about a mile from here. We meet there around two-thirty in the morning dressed all in black. Your hair in a black stocking. And we have us a knife fight. We won't be bothered. Now...I have to fix Nikki's cereal.
- The Bride: [narrating] The young girl in the school uniform is O-Ren's personal bodyguard, 17-year-old Gogo Yubari. Gogo may be young, but what she lacks in age, she makes up for in madness.
- [Flashback shows Gogo with her hair in pigtails drinking an alcoholic beverage while a businessman tries to flirt with her]
- Japanese Businessman: Do you like Ferraris?
- Gogo Yubari: Ferrari? Italian trash. [smacks down beverage bottle] Do you want to screw me?
- [Japanese Businessman giggles, offending Gogo.]
- Gogo: Don't laugh! Do you want to screw me, yes or no?
- Businessman: Yes.
- [Gogo stabs him]
- Gogo: How about now, big boy? Do you still wish to penetrate me? Or is it I … who has penetrated you?
- The Bride: See what I mean?
- Sushi Bar Assistant: [in Japanese] What'd ya want?
- The Bride: [in English] I beg your pardon?
- Hattori Hanzo: [in English] Oh … "drink" [makes drinking motion with hand]
- The Bride: [in English] Oh, yes, a bottle of warm sake please.
- Hattori Hanzo: [in English] Warm sake? Very good. [in Japanese] One warm sake.
- Sushi Bar Assistant: [in Japanese] Sake? In the middle of the day?
- Hattori Hanzo: [in Japanese] Day, night, afternoon, who gives a damn? Get the sake.
- Sushi Bar Assistant: [in Japanese] How come I always have to get the sake? You listen well … for thirty years, you make the fish, I get the sake. If this were the military, I'd be General by now.
- Hattori Hanzo: [in Japanese] Oh, so you'd be General, huh? If you were General, I'd be Emperor, and you'd still get the sake. So shut up and get the sake. [in English] Do you understand?
- Hattori Hanzo: What do you want with Hattori Hanzo?
- The Bride: I need Japanese steel.
- Hattori: Why do you need Japanese steel?
- The Bride: I have vermin to kill.
- Hattori: You must have big rats if you need Hattori Hanzo's steel.
- The Bride: Huge.
- The Bride: So, O-Ren, any more subordinates for me to kill?
- Gogo Yubari: [waves] Hi!
- The Bride: [in Japanese] Gogo, right?
- Gogo: [in English] Bingo. [in Japanese] And you're Black Mamba.
- The Bride: [in Japanese] Our reputations precede us.
- Gogo: [in Japanese] Don't they?
- The Bride: [in English] Gogo, I know you feel you must protect your mistress. But I beg you, walk away.
- Gogo: [giggles girlishly, in Japanese] You call that begging? [serious tone] You can beg better than that.
- The Bride: [hearing the approach of the Crazy 88's] Is that what I think it is?
- O-Ren: You didn't think it was gonna be that easy, did you?
- The Bride: You know, for a second there ... yeah, I kinda did.
- O-Ren: Silly rabbit.
- The Bride: Trix are for...
- O-Ren: ...kids.
- O-Ren: [in English] Your instrument is quite impressive. [in Japanese] Where was it made?
- The Bride: [in English] Okinawa.
- O-Ren: [in Japanese] Whom in Okinawa made you this steel?
- The Bride: [in English] This is Hattori Hanzo steel.
- O-Ren: [in Japanese] YOU LIE! [the Bride shakes her head and turns her sword, showing Hattori Hanzo's stamp] Mmm-hmm. Swords, however, never get tired. I hope you saved your energy. If you haven't... You might not last five minutes. But as last looks go, you could do worse.
- O-Ren: [in Japanese] For ridiculing you earlier, I apologize.
- The Bride: [in Japanese] Accepted.
- [long pause while both catch their breath]
- The Bride: [in Japanese] Ready?
- O-Ren: [in Japanese] Come on.
- The Bride: How did you find me?
- Bill: I'm the man.
- Here comes the bride.
- In 2003, Uma Thurman will Kill Bill.
- On October 10, speak softly and carry a big sword.
About Kill Bill: Volume 1
- During the 1970s there was a queasy urban myth that, in New York cinemas, drug dealers were skulking down the aisles at midnight shows jabbing innocent moviegoers with needles, so instantly enslaving them to heroin. After one single viewing of Kill Bill Volume 1, starring Uma Thurman - Quentin Tarantino's first movie for six years - I felt like the director himself had cacklingly jammed his hypodermic into my throbbing arm. Really, no one delivers that sheer, aneurism-inducing rush with the same intravenous efficiency as Tarantino. It may not be the best film of the year, nor the best Tarantino film. But it's sure as hell got to be the best way, the only way, to mainline pure adrenaline in the cinema. Whether this results in euphoria or nausea depends on the needle-user.
Brutally bloody and thrillingly callous from first to last, Kill Bill covers its action in a kind of delirium-glaze. Its storyline rolls out in a simulacrum universe, a place which looks and sounds like planet Earth in the early 21st century, but isn't. It's a martial- arts movie universe where the normal laws of economics, police work, physiology and gravity do not apply: a world composed of a brilliantly allusive tissue of spaghetti western and Asian martial-arts genres, on which the director's own, instantly identifiable presence is mounted as a superstructure.
- Peter Bradshaw, "Kill Bill: Volume 1", The Guardian, (9 Oct 2003).
- Blood doesn't just flow in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill-Vol. 1"—it splatters and spurts and rises in fountains so baroque and luxuriant that there are moments when it seems as if it were raining red. It isn't, but only because there's little in this private fetish of a movie that relates to the natural world. Despite the occasional glimpse of the not-so-great outdoors, the first half of Tarantino's two-part anti-epic isn't about life—it's about movie-made death in all its spectacular and foolish excess.
- A blood-soaked valentine to movies, "Vol. 1" is the ultimate film-geek freakout, a compendium of 1960s and 1970s cine-references from blaxploitation to Japanese yakuza, classic chopsocky and spaghetti westerns. But this is no ordinary movie love. From the moment that the logo "ShawScope" flashes in the opening credits (a nod at the legendary Hong Kong studio), it's apparent that Tarantino is striving for more than an off-the-rack mash note or a pastiche of golden oldies. It is, rather, his homage to movies shot in celluloid and wide, wide, wide, wide screen—an ode to the time right before movies were radically secularized, before they were slabs of plastic to be rented, slapped into a home-video player, tossed and forgotten in the backseat of a car. Back to the moment when moviegoing was our great collective ritual.
- There's something sweet about Tarantino—it's his old-time religion. In "Vol. 1" he uses snatches of music from one type of movie—say, a snippet from one of Ennio Morricone's scores for a Sergio Leone western—and lays it over a bit of Japanese-flavored mayhem. Sampling movies like a D.J., Tarantino uses other artists' beats and images to scratch out his own tune. This sort of playful mix-master technique has its seductions, but there are dangers to getting hooked on other people's genius. The penultimate battle royale in a Japanese nightclub has moments of great graphic beauty amid the spurting severed limbs, yet the scene's most stunning tableau—a silhouette of the Bride squaring off against some heavies—is borrowed from Seijun Suzuki, an eccentric master of the yakuza film.
This kind of mad movie love explains Tarantino's approach and ambitions, and it also points to his limitations as a filmmaker. His multiple references are inescapably entertaining—it's like watching a movie programmer strut his cool stuff—but there can be something distracting about them as well.
- "Kill Bill, Volume 1" shows Quentin Tarantino so effortlessly and brilliantly in command of his technique that he reminds me of a virtuoso violinist racing through "Flight of the Bumble Bee"—or maybe an accordion prodigy setting a speed record for "Lady of Spain." I mean that as a sincere compliment. The movie is not about anything at all except the skill and humor of its making. It's kind of brilliant.
- The movie is all storytelling and no story. The motivations have no psychological depth or resonance, but are simply plot markers. The characters consist of their characteristics. Lurking beneath everything, as it did with "Pulp Fiction," is the suggestion of a parallel universe in which all of this makes sense in the same way that a superhero's origin story makes sense. There is a sequence here (well, it's more like a third of the movie) where The Bride single-handedly wipes out O-Ren and her entire team, including the Crazy 88 Fighters, and we are reminded of Neo fighting the clones of Agent Smith in "The Matrix Reloaded," except the Crazy 88 Fighters are individual human beings, I think. Do they get their name from the Crazy 88 blackjack games on the Web, or from Episode 88 of the action anime "Tokyo Crazy Paradise", or should I seek help? The Bride defeats the 88 superb fighters (plus various bodyguards and specialists) despite her weakened state and recently paralyzed legs because she is a better fighter than all of the others put together. Is that because of the level of her skill, the power of her focus, or the depth of her need for vengeance? Skill, focus and need have nothing to do with it: She wins because she kills everybody without getting killed herself. You can sense Tarantino grinning a little as each fresh victim, filled with foolish bravado, steps forward to be slaughtered. Someone has to win in a fight to the finish, and as far as the martial arts genre is concerned, it might as well be the heroine. (All of the major characters except Bill are women, the men having been emasculated right out of the picture.) "Kill Bill, Volume 1" is not the kind of movie that inspires discussion of the acting, but what Thurman, Fox and Liu accomplish here is arguably more difficult than playing the nuanced heroine of a Sundance thumb-sucker. There must be presence, physical grace, strength, personality and the ability to look serious while doing ridiculous things. The tone is set in an opening scene, where The Bride lies near death and a hand rubs at the blood on her cheek, which will not come off because it is clearly congealed makeup. This scene further benefits from being shot in black and white; for QT, all shots in a sense are references to other shots—not particular shots from other movies, but archetypal shots in our collective moviegoing memories.
- There's B&W in the movie, and slo-mo, and a name that's bleeped entirely for effect, and even an extended sequence in anime. The animated sequence, which gets us to Tokyo and supplies the backstory of O-Ren, is sneaky in the way it allows Tarantino to deal with material that might, in live action, seem too real for his stylized universe. It deals with a Mafia kingpin's pedophilia. The scene works in animated long shot; in live action closeup, it would get the movie an NC-17.
- To see O-Ren's God-slicer and Go-Go's mace clashing in a field of dead and dying men is to understand how women have taken over for men in action movies. Strange, since women are not nearly as good at killing as men are. Maybe they're cast because the liberal media wants to see them succeed. The movie's women warriors reminds me of Ruby Rich's defense of Russ Meyer as a feminist filmmaker (his women initiate all the sex and do all the killing).
- There were a lot of close calls. [Uma] biffed her knee really hard on the couch trying to go over [it]. I got cut with a little bit of glass, landing on that table. I think that that was the one day I wanted to choke Quentin because he didn't realize how hard the table was... I wanted to put a mat down there so I could warm up. And he was like, 'Just get up there and do it.' And I was like, 'Do you know how hard that table is?' So, that was the only day that there was a little bit of grief. And that table, when I landed on it, I landed so hard that my jaw snapped. There were times when you kind of missed or nicked each other, when Uma cocked it a little bit too hard. We filmed it for four days, the fight scene, and I was just covered with bruises and my shoulders were really tired.
- Vivica Fox, "AN INTERVIEW WITH VIVICA A. FOX", IGN, (6 Oct 2003).
- We went out to Kushiyu on Ventura in Tarzana. At dinner, he told me his plan for the film: There would be no quick cuts or getting away with special effects to make us look like real warriors. I had to commit to six months of training, and all of the actors needed to become experts in martial arts to make his vision real on the screen.
- Vivica Fox, "Vivica A. Fox: How Uma Thurman Helped Me Through ‘Kill Bill’ With Quentin Tarantino", Time, (March 20, 2018).
- For three months, Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, and I spent eight hours a day studying martial arts at a gym they put together in Culver City. It was nine to five, Monday through Friday. If you didn't walk in the door between 8:55 and 8:59, you were in trouble at 9:01. I thought I was in the damn Olympics or something.
- Vivica Fox in "Vivica A. Fox Remembers How Uma Thurman Helped Her Survive Tarantino’s Grueling ‘Kill Bill’ Training" by Zack Sharf, Indiewire, (Mar 20, 2018).
- Compared to Q.T.'s slice 'em, dice 'em deli, the much-hyped Neo versus 100 Agent Smiths showdown appears unforgivably gutless and soulless. Moral guardians may be outraged but, after a build that most audiences will find slow, it is the bloody geysers Tarantino uncorks here that will have them joining the queue for the very next showing.
- Colin Kennedy, "Kill Bill: Vol. 1 Review", Empire Online, (12 Apr 2016).
- I actually didn't think she was tough. I didn't, I thought she was a really cool character to play because she was a survivor, you know what I mean? She had so many reasons why she had become what she was. She had to continue fighting all her life to basically stay alive, from the moment that her parents were killed. He (Tarantino) pretty much lays it out for you... O-Ren Ishii wasn't the type of person who was ever gonna die peacefully in her bed, you know what I mean? She was going to die fighting and that was how it was gonna be. She died the best way that she could have ever imagined, with the Hattori Hanzo sword. So ultimately, it was a very respectful death, and I think her character is more of a survivor than someone who's tough, you know?
- It's a really important moment... I didn't think it was gory, because it wasn't a lot of blood, it was just the head was gone, at the end. I just feel like it represents how important it was for her to go to Japan and get that sword made by Sonny Chiba's character, Hattori Hanzo. Hattori Hanzo's sword is in itself its own individual character in the movie. And to have that payoff in the end, with how strong it was, it could just slice her head off like that, through a skull, which is very difficult to do. It really takes, it comes all the way back around for why she went to get that sword and why it was important, and how for her character, she had always wanted one of those swords. To die by that sword is really the only way that she could have died with respect. I think the Bride knew that. So they sort of allow each other the respect that they deserved... You'd have to think that if you do something that's not such a great thing, even though she was taking orders from Bill, that it's going to come back at you, and you have to take responsibility for that moment. I think that she probably knew at some point that that was going to happen.
- Lucy Liu, "AN INTERVIEW WITH LUCY LIU", IGN, (7 OCT 2003).
- In an interview following the release of Reservoir Dogs in 1992, Tim Roth ventured that "I honestly think you could take the same script but reshoot it with women and it would work. It would be the most controversial film ever. ... You could call it Reservoir Bitches." It took more than a decade, but with Kill Bill Volume 1 (out on video this week), Quentin Tarantino finally made his Reservoir Bitches. And while it's not the most controversial film ever (nor even of the past twelve months), that was clearly the director's aspiration. Originally conceived as a single film but split into two "volumes" due to its length (Volume 2 opens in theaters on Friday), Kill Bill is, by most accounts, the most violent film ever released by a major studio. If that weren't enough to ensure its notoriety, the vast majority of that violence is performed by officially hot actresses Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, and Vivica A. Fox.
- The violence is ridiculous, in the literal sense of the word: When a baddie (there are no goodies) is decapitated, the neck-stump sprays blood like an infernal lawn sprinkler. These abattoir antics might amuse in limited doses (though John Cleese's Black Knight proved 30 years ago that the joke is not in the mutilation but in the obliviousness to it). Yet transgressing limits is Tarantino's whole point, and so we get stabbing after stabbing, severed limb after severed limb, arterial spray after arterial spray, until the walls are painted red and the floor piled high with body parts. And though the carnage is composed by famed martial-arts choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping, it lacks both the athletic poetry he brought to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the dizzying spatial geometry he presented in The Matrix. Rather, with the exception of a single sequence featuring a ball-and-chain, the fight in the restaurant (which runs to more than 20 minutes) feels like what it is: a long, mostly earthbound slog through bone and sinew. By the end, it's not funny, or beautiful, or even shocking. It's merely tiresome, an hour spent at the Safeway meat counter.
- Christopher Orr, "The Movie Review: 'Kill Bill Vol. 1'", The Atlantic, (Apr 13, 2004).
- WITH its relentless bloodshed and scrambled, inconclusive narrative, Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited fourth feature, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, is certain to provoke both awe and revulsion. The film's detractors and its fans are likely to agree, however, that the movie, a densely referential pastiche of B-movie attitudes and situations, is above all an exercise in style.
- In parts of Pulp Fiction (1994) and in his last picture, Jackie Brown (1997), Mr. Tarantino seemed to be using the action-exploitation formulas of which he is so enamored as stepping stones toward an exploration of plausible characters and authentic emotions. Now, it seems, his interests have swung in the opposite direction, and he has immersed himself, his characters and his audience in a highly artificial world, a looking-glass universe that reflects nothing beyond his own cinematic obsessions.
- While being so relentlessly exposed to a filmmaker's idiosyncratic turn-ons can be tedious and off-putting, the undeniable passion that drives Kill Bill is fascinating, even, strange to say it, endearing. Mr. Tarantino is an irrepressible showoff, recklessly flaunting his formal skills as a choreographer of high-concept violence, but he is also an unabashed cinephile, and the sincerity of his enthusiasm gives this messy, uneven spectacle an odd, feverish integrity.
Old movies are not the sole focus of his obsession. The most vivid emotional connection in Kill Bill does not take place between any of the characters, but between the director and his star, Uma Thurman. Mr. Tarantino has referred to Ms. Thurman as my actress, and as Marlene Dietrich to his Josef von Sternberg. Accordingly, much of the perverse energy of Kill Bill arises from his near-maniacal fascination with her. She is at once his idol, his alter-ego, his dream lover and his muse, the way Anna Karina was for Jean-Luc Godard in the early 1960's.
- The sordid creepiness that occasionally seeps into Kill Bill makes you wonder what Mr. Tarantino is trying to do, and whether he is entirely in control of his own imagination.
- Q: Kill Bill is an eclectic movie, stitched together from samurai movies, Yakuza movies, spaghetti westerns...
- A: I just grew up watching a lot of movies. I'm attracted to this genre and that genre, this type of story, and that type of story. As I watch movies I make some version of it in my head that isn't quite what I'm seeing - taking the things I like and mixing them with stuff I've never seen before.
- Q: You describe Kill Bill as your "grindhouse epic". Aren't you worried that Western audiences won't get what you're doing?
- A: I'm a little hesitant about saying this out loud - I'm not trying to crow - but I'm influenced by movies from all different countries. I don't really consider myself an American filmmaker like, say, Ron Howard might be considered an American filmmaker.
If I'm doing something and it seems to me to be reminiscent of an Italian giallo, I'm gonna to do it like an Italian giallo. And if I'm gonna do something that begs to be done in the vein of a Japanese Yakuza movie, or Hong Kong Triad movie, I'm gonna do it like that. I understand a lot of audiences from a lot of different countries and, to me, America is just another market.
- Quentin Tarantino, "Kill Bill: Volume 1", by Michaela Latham, BBC, (10/06/2003).
- I don't like realistic violence. In fact, I don't really like violence full stop. The violence is Quentin's thing. I don't groove with him on it. But I think the way he executes his violence is comic, creative, dramatic and playful, and not titillating in that horrifically realistic way. It's clearly a creative expression. If you look at the House of Blue Leaves sequence in Kill Bill Volume 1, the reason he wanted it to be so operatic and absurdist was because, if it had been less ridiculous, it would be more upsetting.
- Uma Thurman, "Uma Thurman: Pulp friction", The Independent, (16 April 2004).
- Like a dick-swinging flasher, Quentin Tarantino lets all his obsessions hang out in Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Some people may want to kill him for it, and not just because they'll have to pay again to see Vol. 2, set for release on February 20. Kill Bill is an act of indecent exposure. Everything that makes Tarantino tumescent — kung-fu fighting, samurai flicks, spaghetti westerns and babe-on-babe head bashing, preferably with swords — is stuffed into the 110 minutes of Vol. 1. No use hammering Tarantino for raiding the lost ark of 1970s pop culture when his movie is killingly funny, wildly inventive, bloody as a gushing artery and heart-stoppingly beautiful. Tarantino has the talent to show us what's sacred about the profane, even if you didn't enjoy a misspent youth in seedy theaters with floors sticky from God knows what. In Kill Bill, Tarantino brings delicious sin back to movies — the thrill you get from something down, dirty and dangerous.
- For Tarantino, who set aside his skill at dialogue to show he can do pure action, the film is a challenge to his ego. Ads trumpet Kill Bill as “the Fourth Film by Quentin Tarantino.” Talk about hubris. Fellini didn't even start counting till 8 1/2. But moxie is part of Tarantino's DNA. Who else would make his first film in six years a wet kiss to kung fu and pack it with his fetishes for ultraviolence, Uma Thurman's feet and music from Nancy Sinatra to RZA? And who else could pull it off? Kill Bill is damn near as good as Tarantino thinks it is.
- Peter Travers, "Kill Bill Vol. 1", Rolling Stone, (Oct 9, 2003).
- David Carradine – Bill/Snake Charmer
- Uma Thurman – The Bride/Black Mamba
- Lucy Liu – O-Ren Ishii/Cottonmouth
- Sonny Chiba – Hattori Hanzo
- Chiaki Kuriyama – Gogo Yubari
- Daryl Hannah – Elle Driver/California Mountain Snake
- Vivica A. Fox – Vernita Green/Copperhead
Encyclopedic article on Kill Bill: Volume 1 on Wikipedia