The Good

Quentin Tarantino has made a moody, layered film that mixes many genres like only he can.

The Bad

I would have liked a few more supplemental materials on this UMD.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 is a thickly layered film that flies directly in the face of all those people that claim American audiences need their movies spoon-fed to them like chopped up music videos. This film is so slow at times, I wondered if Tarantino forgot to tell the actors to "cut". However, it is only slow because we have so much expectation for what Tarantino might deliver. All of his movies come with a degree of expectation, and as such I sat watching this film waiting for things to happen. It wasn't until it was over that I realized I'd been wrong all along. Something had been happening the whole time, even during those moments when it seemed like the all movie had been leading up to was that action sequence.

Both Kill Bill films were very popular with younger audiences (precisely the demographic that those in the know say can't sit through these sorts of movies), because they were being given something that interested them. It seems you don't have to force feed an audience needless action, just don't bore them either.

Features

Deleted Scene

This is a rather interesting scene because we get to see Bill defend the bride. While I think it was cut for both time and tone reasons, it is clear that Tarantino was exploring a lot of avenues when he made both the Kill Bill films. In fact, since he was left to his own devices, one can only watch this scene and guess what else was shot, put in the first cut and then ultimately left on the cutting room floor.

Video

Widescreen. There are bars on the top and bottom of the screen. It finally hit me watching this film how truly ambitious a project Kill Bill was. In fact, it's almost as if Tarantino was trying to merge his world with that of the visual palette of John Ford. One look at the scene with Michael Madsen in the hills and it's apparent that Tarantino has certainly borrowed some of his shot composition. That's one of the things that makes this film work so well on the PSP player. Because the screen is so small we get to take in every facet of Tarantino's directorial style. At the very least, it's worth a long look.

Audio

Stereo. Another thing I like about this movie is it's ability to be quiet. Sure, this movie has Tarantino's typical charismatic flair (look at how many TV shows and commercials have used the Kill Bill score?), but I was more impressed with the many moments of the film where nothing was being said. It's as if the first Kill Bill movie was diametrically paced differently than the second one. As a result, we end up with two separate movies but also two films that play very well off one another. It's very bold nowadays to let characters be seen really thinking on screen. Kill Bill Vol. 2 does it with impunity.

Package

Uma Thurman aka The Bride stands holding a samurai sword against a red background. No longer donning her iconic yellow suit, this film seems to be saying the viewer should expect something different than the first movie. The back cover features a description of the film to get us up to speed, an "Extra Features" listing and some technical specs for the player. While I like that the artwork for Kill Bill Vol. 2 is understated, I think it could have benefited if a graphic novel designer had gotten their hands on it. Frank Miller, anyone?

Final Word

It was interesting rewatching this film on the PSP simply because it played much differently than in the movies. When I first watched Kill Bill Vol. 2, I kept thinking that it was a dreadfully slow movie. Not in a bad way, but I was surprised that Tarantino let the camera linger in spots for so long. Watching it now, everything seemed to play a lot smoother. It was as if knowing how the movie was paced, made it so I could sit back and really enjoy it. I saw lot of things and a lot of nuances about the characters that I hadn't noticed at first.

He doesn't make movies very often but when Quentin Tarantino does they are very much worth the wait. He has shown that he knows how to captivate audiences and it is my sincere hope that his films never become homogenized. Kill Bill Vol. 2 is a clear sign that that will not happen.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 was released April 16, 2004.