Main cast: Uma Thurman (Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride), David Carradine (Bill), Michael Madsen (Budd), Daryl Hannah (Elle Driver), Gordon Liu (Pai Mei), and Michael Parks (Esteban Vihaio)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
I don’t watch Quentin Tarantino’s movies for compelling drama or emotional storylines. I watch them for the gore and mayhem. This probably explains why Kill Bill: Vol. 2 bores me while the original instalment entertains me to no end. This one tries to tell a story by cutting down the action scenes, but it is a story that is plagued by a horrible deus ex machina plot twist and enough stilted dialogues to make me cringe and wish for someone to come over and splatter brains all over the screen as Mr Tarantino’s movie characters are wont to do.
This movie takes off from where the first instalment ends. The Bride, whose name is revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo late in the movie, is now going after the remaining two Deadly Assassination Vipers Squad members before killing Bill. Unfortunately, Beatrix becomes really too stupid when she tries to go after Budd. Just when she is looking more and more like worm food for sure, Tarantino decides to introduce a long and draggy flashback where… ta-da! Beatrix knows some super kung-fu fists of fury powers that conveniently allows her to get herself out of her predicament.
I roll my eyes at that amateurish cop-out of a plot twist and this movie never recovers from thereon because the plot centers around this Super Cop-Out Kung-Fu Power thingie all the way to the end. I am never allowed to forget that Mr Tarantino pulled off a stunt in his script that would earn him an F from any creative writing teacher. The whole movie therefore feels like a badly written script cobbled together hastily and filled with tedious self-indulgent scenes to stretch it to its one hour and thirty minute mark.
The action sequences are dull. The showdowns with Elle Driver and Bill are anticlimactic. While the original movie shamelessly plunders elements from campy Asian action movies with verve and skill, this instalment feels like a laughably inept wannabe. Gordon Liu’s kung-fu master is an embarrassing caricature and the whole Beatrix Does Kung Fu story arc feels like a grade-school reenactment of an old Hong Kong kung-fu classic movie.
Perhaps I will be more emotionally invested in Beatrix’s “dramatic” side if the dialogues aren’t corny and her scenes with Bill don’t feel so staged. Or if her daughter isn’t played by surely one of the worst child actresses to ever grace a movie screen. Or if I know even a little of who she really is. The thing is, I don’t care about Beatrix because she is never allowed to develop as a human being in the first movie, and when Mr Tarantino tries to do a complete turnaround and turns Beatrix into a more two-dimensional character here, he does it so ineptly with wooden and stilted dialogues that I find it hard to appreciate his efforts here.
I miss the cold-hearted Beatrix that goes on a remorseless killing spree in the original movie, because there, she doesn’t bore me. Characters in that movie don’t make me want to yell “Shut the fork up!” at the screen the way I want to do so many times here whenever David Carradine opens his mouth and speaks those long-winded lines that grates on my nerves. Quentin Tarantino isn’t trying to be a master storyteller in the original movie and ironically, he tells a far better and more enjoyable story there compared to his efforts in Kill Bill: Vol. 2.