Beginning with the Bride tooling down a midnight lit freeway, Kill Bill, Vol. 2 instantly realizes its campy potential. With the narrative being plainly spoken by the main character, there’s a sense of simplicity inherent in older, dismissed filmic work – the kind that director Quentin Tarantino fawns over.
Coming to terms with Kill Bill’s complete averagness is probably difficult for viewers, but it appears that Tarantino rendered the film in such terms for a specific reason. The films he enjoyed when a youngster stink. And portions of Kill Bill aim at the same stench. Anywhere from the aforementioned wooden acting during the film’s first installment to this campy opening is proof of that.
But as Uma Thurman’s character quickly runs down a list of people she’s already dispatched, it becomes clear that this second volume in the series isn’t going to be too much better – from an uppity, academic standpoint at least.
And that’s really the crux of the film. Tarantino, desirous of using favored source material, winds up crafting an average flick, but one rich enough with obtuse references and an occasional snippet of clever dialogue to get over on film critics. There’s been disagreement about whether the Kill Bill films are schlock, homage or capacious of transcending both and using its assembled parts to create something completely revelatory to the film world.
That last option doesn’t seem too likely, but with this two hour conclusion, the film’s success is dependent upon its director’s ability to smash all of this together and hope that the cheeseball performances that he coaxes from his stars is sufficient to make the film a cohesive whole.
With the wealth of disparate allusions, it’s not at all surprising that Vol. 2 apes the same structure as its predecessor, but eschews some of the over violence for a bit more verbal sparing. Absent still, is the are the definitive scenes and pairings that so defined Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. But the Bride is able to fill some of that space. But in constructing the film around the concept of simply getting Bill, the conclusion should already be figured – to a certain extent. And it is. Despite the innumerable pratfalls Thurman’s character encounters, viewers should still be confident that it’s all going to work out in the end. If nothing else, we’re all rooting for a bloody end to the film’s antagonist – and we get to see him this time too. Bonus.