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Kill Bill (2003 and 2004)

Related: Quentin Tarantino - grindhouse film - "post-VCR" cinema

Tarantino's Kill Bill series are an homage to exploitation and grindhouse cinema. [Jul 2006]

Kill Bill relies heavily on film influences that Tarantino wished to pay tribute to. These include the spaghetti western, Kung Fu movies of the 1960s and 1970s, Chinese "Wuxia" and Japanese martial arts films, revenge-themed movies such as Lady Snowblood, and films like The Seven Samurai. There are also several references to other films either written and/or directed by Tarantino. Some elements of the story and the character Elle Driver in particular are inspired by the Swedish movie Thriller - en grym film. [Jul 2006]


Kill Bill is the fourth film by writer-director Quentin Tarantino. Originally conceived as one film, it was released in two separate "volumes" (in Fall 2003 and Spring 2004) due to its running time of approximately four hours. The movie is an ambitious, epic-length revenge drama, notable for its homages to earlier film genres, such as Hong Kong martial arts movies and Italian westerns; for its extensive use of popular music and pop culture references; and for its deliberately over-the-top bloodletting. Its stars include Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Michael Parks, Sonny Chiba, and Gordon Liu. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Bill [Jul 2006]

Kill Bill as “post-VCR film”

Chris Hyde argues that Kill Bill wouldn’t have been possible without the “influence of the late 20th century’s technologies on the cosmopolitanism of film audiences”:

“The effects of the VCR on post-1980 cinema are many and varied, and it is hardly in Tarantino’s oeuvre alone that the invisible influence of videotape can be seen. But it’s also no surprise to find that the director toiled as a clerk in a video store during some of his formative years, and all of his work contains referential asides that make it patently obvious that his style has been heavily influenced by what he has seen.” --http://blog.epistemographer.com/?p=77 [Oct 2005]

Sonny Chiba

Sonny Chiba is one of Japan's best-known and most successful film and television stars. His prolific 40-year career has also earned his a significant international following. He rocketed to international fame in 1975 when a film known in Japan as Sudden Attack: The Killing Fist, was released internationally as The Streetfighter. Chiba made a strong impression in the title role as the ruthless mercenary Terry Surugy. Distributed in the United States by New Line Cinema, The Streetfighter quickly became a drive-in and grindhouse cult classic, one of the first movies ever to be rated X for violence alone. --http://killbill.movies.go.com/vol1/castCrew/cast-sc.html [Jun 2004]

Vol. 2

Much like how Volume 1 was an homage to Asian "grindhouse" movies of the 1970s, this finale will pay a close homage to the Italian "spaghetti western" genre.

Grindhouse cinema [...]

Before I did my original post, I wrote a letter to Entertainment Weekly correcting their definition of grindhouse. Here's what they put in a sidebar to the KILL BILL article:

"Grind House [sic] A generic term for violent or pornographic films shown in an extremely run-down movie theater. Tarantino has always said that KILL BILL was his grind-house movie."

Here's the text of my letter to EW:

"In the KILL BILL 101 sidebar, your first entry, 'Grind House,' offered a misleading definition of the term, which is actually properly spelled as one word. Grindhouse was a term coined and perpetuated by the trade paper, Variety, to describe theaters on big-city downtown movie strips, like New York’s 42nd Street or San Francisco’s Market Street, which ran double (and sometimes triple) features of films continuously, practically around the clock, with little or no time between films (i.e., the films 'grinded' up against each other). Such theaters don’t exist anymore. When we talk about 'grindhouse movies,' we refer to the types of action and exploitation movies that played at these theaters (blaxploitation, Italian westerns, kung fu, slasher, etc.)." --Brian Camp , 09/28/2003, 08:56:54 via http://www.mhvf.net/forum/general/posts/124245630.html

Kill Bill 1 (2003) - Quentin Tarantino

Kill Bill 1 (2003) - Quentin Tarantino [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Vol. 1 is trash for connoisseurs. From his opening gambit (including a "Shaw-Scope" logo and gaudy '70s-vintage "Our Feature Presentation" title card) to his cliffhanger finale (a teasing lead-in to 2004's Vol. 2), Tarantino pays loving tribute to grindhouse cinema, specifically the Hong Kong action flicks and spaghetti Westerns that fill his fervent brain--and this frequently breathtaking movie--with enough cinematic references and cleverly pilfered soundtrack cues to send cinephiles running for their reference books. Everything old is new again in Tarantino's humor-laced vision: he steals from the best while injecting his own oft-copied, never-duplicated style into what is, quite simply, a revenge flick, beginning with the near-murder of the Bride (Uma Thurman), pregnant on her wedding day and left for dead by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (or DiVAS)--including Lucy Liu and the unseen David Carradine (as Bill)--who become targets for the Bride's lethal vengeance. Culminating in an ultraviolent, ultra-stylized tour-de-force showdown, Tarantino's fourth film is either brilliantly (and brutally) innovative or one of the most blatant acts of plagiarism ever conceived. Either way, it's hyperkinetic eye-candy from a passionate film-lover who clearly knows what he's doing. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com

Kill Bill 2 (2004) - Quentin Tarantino

Kill Bill 2 (2004) - Quentin Tarantino [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"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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