Kill Bill: Vol. 2 [2004]

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
"The Bride" (Uma Thurman) gets her satisfaction--and so do we--in Quentin Tarantino's "roaring rampage of revenge," Kill Bill, Vol. 2. Where Vol. 1 was a hyper-kinetic tribute to the Asian chop-socky grindhouse flicks that have been thoroughly cross-referenced in Tarantino's film-loving brain, Vol. 2--not a sequel, but Part Two of a breathtakingly cinematic epic--is Tarantino's contemporary martial-arts Western, fueled by iconic images, music, and themes lifted from any source that Tarantino holds dear, from the action-packed cheapies of William Witney (one of several filmmakers Tarantino gratefully honors in the closing credits) to the spaghetti epics of Sergio Leone. Tarantino doesn't copy so much as elevate the genres he loves, and the entirety of Kill Bill is clearly the product of a singular artistic vision, even as it careens from one influence to another. Violence erupts with dynamic impact, but unlike Vol. 1, this slower grand finale revels in Tarantino's trademark dialogue and loopy longueurs, reviving the career of David Carradine (who plays Bill for what he is: a snake charmer), and giving Thurman's Bride an outlet for maternal love and well-earned happiness. Has any actress endured so much for the sake of a unique collaboration? As the credits remind us, "The Bride" was jointly created by "Q&U," and she's become an unforgettable heroine in a pair of delirious movie-movies (Vol. 3 awaits, some 15 years hence) that Tarantino fans will study and love for decades to come. --Jeff Shannon

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Bill:
Once upon a time in China, some believe, around the year one double-aught three, head priest of the White Lotus Clan, Pai Mei, was walking down the road, contemplating whatever it is that a man of Pai Mei's infinite power contemplates - which is another way of saying "who knows?" - when a Shaolin monk appeared, traveling in the opposite direction. As the monk and the priest crossed paths, Pai Mei, in a practically unfathomable display of generosity, gave the monk the slightest of nods. The nod was not returned. Now was it the intention of the Shaolin monk to insult Pai Mei? Or did he just fail to see the generous social gesture? The motives of the monk remain unknown. What is known, are the consequences. The next morning Pai Mei appeared at the Shaolin Temple and demanded of the Temple's head abbot that he offer Pai Mei his neck to repay the insult. The Abbot at first tried to console Pai Mei, only to find Pai Mei was inconsolable. So began the massacre of the Shaolin Temple and all sixty of the monks inside at the fists of the White Lotus. And so began the legend of Pai Mei's five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique.

The Bride:
And what, pray tell, is the five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique?

Bill:
Quite simply, the deadliest blow in all of martial arts. He hits you with his fingertips at five different pressure points on your body. And then he lets you walk away. But after you've taken five steps, your heart explodes inside your body, and you fall to the floor, dead.

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