The Bride (Uma Thurman) was once part of a group of world-class female assassins until her employer and husband, Bill (David Carradine), and other members of the group turn against her and have her shot. Five years later, she awakens from her coma. She heads off around the world seeking revenge with plans to kill each person involved, saving Bill for the grand finale.

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It's been six years since Jackie Brown and we fans of Quentin Tarantino have been waiting... for Kill Bill, which Miramax head Harvey Weinstein decided to release in two installments starting with Volume 1. This revenge fantasy that brings in elements of Chinese kung-fu, Japanese samurai films and Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns has former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Black Mamba - or The Bride - Uma Thurman, being slaughtered in El Paso during the rehearsal of her wedding. All nine other members of the party hit the dust.

The Bride, left for dead but in a coma for four years, awakes with full memory, seething with revenge for her former colleagues who comprise Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Vivica A. Fox, and Lucy Liu who' s since become the top dog of the Tokyo underground. Bill, an unseen David Carradine, is the leader, the guru of the squad. Killing Bill is something to look forward to in Vol 2, but in the meantime The Bride has her bloodied hands full with Viveca A. Fox and Lucy Liu.

It's impossible to give you the idea of this film in the time we have here. It's enough to say that Tarantino has made the movie he would most like to see on the screen. Using balletic non CGI action moves, a ruthless sensibility, a sense of the codes and moralities within which he's working, he ducks and weaves, blends and steals from all the genres on his hit list. The result, which at first seems just to be another reworking of his obsession with violence and genre, is an absolutely exhilarating transcendance of that obsession.

Lacking Tarantino's traditional post-modern gabfest, the film nevertheless incorporates stupendous skill in displaying his love of genre and his ability to reinterpret it. It's a film that's full of references, but it doesn't matter if you don't get any of them. It's still great, if you don't mind gallons of blood. And the soundtrack is to die for.

 

Comments by David Stratton
Though exceptionally violent, even by Tarantino standards, this is a perversely enjoyable revenge action adventure, inspired by both Hong Kong martial arts films and Japanese samurai movies of another era. Uma Thurman is amazing as the intrepid heroine, but the film does seem a little too incomplete; I can't wait to see how it all turns out.