Fun and games from Tarantino, firmly in fanboy mode here. Kill Bill is 'not about real life, it's just about other movies', as QT puts it, adding: 'When the characters in Reservoir Dogs go to the movies, these are the movies they see.' Which makes it, what? Escapism twice removed? For my money, what's richest in Tarantino is the intersection of genre and reality - but Kill Bill is exactly the kind of movie-movie an action geek would dream of. Just as RZA's score samples Morricone, Herrmann and Quincy Jones, cameraman Robert Richardson's dazzling visual iconography comes from The Bride Wore Black, Nikita and Modesty Blaise, Takashi Miike and Seijun Suzuki, Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone, Kinji Fukasaku and Brian De Palma, Shaw Brothers' chop socky, Jack Hill blaxploitation and '70s TV schlock - and there's even a cool animé section. According to Godard, all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun, and Tarantino takes him at his word - throwing in a samurai sword for good measure. But it's hard to develop a story when you're stitching set pieces together, cutting out the boring bits. The Bride (Thurman) used to hang with the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, until Bill ordered the team to turn her wedding into a bloodbath. She comes to four years later, squares things with Vernita Green (Fox), then heads East on the trail of O-Ren Ishi (Liu). Two down, three to go. And give or take another hundred corpses, that's all there is to Vol. 1 - which climaxes in a 45-minute ballet of dismemberment and destruction, before nodding, cutely, in the direction of the nearest cliff. Cleverly constructed in achronological chapters but a lot less verbal than the average QT script, Kill Bill's blood feast would be utterly indigestible at a rumoured three-hour running time. At 111 mins I found it self-indulgent, tasteless, ultimately numbing. It's all bang, bang; no kiss, kiss. But this is still bravura film-making from a prodigious talent, and Thurman may yet prove its saving grace.
Cast and crew
Vivica A Fox