I watched Kill Bill vol. 1 with my old roommates again this past weekend, and was reaffirmed in my decision not to waste any money on the second installment. I also read the Salon review that Ryan linked to, which thankfully avoided the mindless love for Tarantino that a lot of reviewers seem lost in. It properly criticizes Kill Bill and Tarantino for (a) sadism and (b) being a parody, rather than a homage.
(a) Here’s how I define sadism; not as senseless violence (Laurel and Hardy are guilty of that in at least one sense, after all), but as dwelling on the pain inflicted by violence, senseless or otherwise. Otherwise, in this case, appears to be violence inflicted in pursuit of revenge (or, at least, so I think, not having seen the second part), but it hardly matters. Its really sadism, because the emphasis is not on the swiftness of movement, the grace of martial art or the explosive power of a trained master (these are the things that make wire-fu such a joy to watch) as in your average Hong Kong film (which, by the way, I have watched at least a good dozen of and enjoyed thoroughly), but rather on the damage done to the recepient of the violence, the blood spilt, and (rather disgustingly to me) the pain and trauma of the vanquished foe. This is parody (b), not homage. I find it repulsive, frankly, when Tarantino delights in shots of limbless foes or in letting us hear their screams. And a couple of months of martial arts boot camp don’t make [ ] a martial artist worth watching. Life is far too short to waste my time watching another two hours of this bloody mess.
Oh, and Tarantino is a pretentious jerk, like Ryan said.
If you disagree, why? (You can only disagree with a and b. I would prefer to hear disagreement on (a), because I have already heard the converse of (b) proposed, and I still disagree, so I’m more open to changing my mind on (a). If you can convince me why I should watch Kill Bill vol. 2 and I go and actually enjoy it, I’ll buy you (whoever you are) an ice cream treat. Absolutely no disagreement with the statement that Tarantino is a pretentious jerk will be tolerated, as it is obviously true, virtually a tautology. Any comments stating otherwise will be promptly edited to state that Tarantino is a pretentious jerk.)