Kill Bill-Volume 1 | Lost in Translation

Kill Bill-Volume 1 | Lost in Translation

Kill Bill-Volume 1 has brought Quentin Tarantino his usual reviews: the man is a genius, the man is a schlockmeister, the man is a virtuoso of postmodernism, the man is a purveyor of slickly made junk gussied up as art. May I toss in one more opinion? The man is a boy. Which is a way of saying that Tarantino is a sincere artist but a stunted one.

Essentially, Kill Bill is a multimillion-dollar inflation of the cheesy, chop-socky action movies that Sir Run Run Shaw produced by the cartload in Hong Kong three decades ago. Tarantino loves this genre too much to merely reproduce it, so he exalts it. The cliché characters are inflated into archetypes; the kung-fu brawls take on Homeric scale. Tarantino is like a mad-genius sculptor who garners road kill, then casts the little corpses in gold.

Here’s the plot so far (spoilers follow). The Bride (that’s how Uma Thurman’s role is designated in the cast list), pregnant, formerly an assassin, is shot at her wedding, while her bridegroom, minister, all the guests and-as far as she knows-her unborn child are slaughtered. She survives in a coma for four years, revives, and hunts down her attackers, who are her erstwhile colleagues on the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, led by her former lover, Bill. In Volume 1, she kills several of them. In the next installment she will undoubtedly kill more of them, though complications may set in whenever she learns that her...

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About the Author

Richard Alleva has been reviewing movies for Commonweal since 1990.