A superb action picture, chalk full of blood splatter, samurai swords, and Uma Thurman getting her revenge on. For the first time Tarantino holds back his extremely stylish dialogue scenes in favor of story driven moments backed by varying music cues. Each character takes on a life of their own within the grander world being explored (the O-Ren Ishii anime sequence brilliantly conveys the personal within the stylistic), leaving Tarantino little room to mess around with his usual antics.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 rewards with repeat viewings, not just because of the memorable and bloody sword fight at the end but because it’s the origin of an iconic character, The Bride, who Uma Thurman gives increasing levels of humanity throughout. This unflinching and sadistic revenge hero has no business being this complex, especially considering Tarantino’s insistence on character posturing in past works. But The Bride is a work of art, and Uma’s the main reason why, her yellow jump suit blatantly tainted with the blood of her enemies and the unseen guilt of a hidden past. While a precursor to the wordier and more jumbled Vol. 2, this initial Kill Bill remains the standout of the pair, a film which never gets overwhelmed by its director’s childish nature nor it’s own genre history. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is a beast of story questions and foreshadowings, which ironically offers greater pleasures than the answers themselves.