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Thursday, May 22, 2008

KILL BILL: Volume 2 (2004)

Word on the street had the second half of Quentin Tarantino’s battered bride revenge pic satisfying all the doubts & missteps of Vol. 1. Word was wrong. This is a tired, parodistic & overextended work with Uma Thurman permanently checking off stray obstacles before reaching her ultimate nemesis, the eponymous Bill. If the first film was an Asian-influenced martial arts pastiche, this is Sergio Leone-a-go-go, with grand vistas, Morricone music cues, slow burn violence, the works. Plus some goofy retro zoom lens stuff for the brief scenes with an ancient Asian martial arts master. But neither the step-by-step revenge tale nor the has-been tv actors Tarantino favors holds the screen the way Leone’s fables & mythic stars did. Michael Madsen manages a new take on an old routine, but everyone else tries too hard to be cool. This is the Tarantino who slummed his way through those ghastly omnibus pics during his first blush of fame; the creepy jerk who thinks he's a Broadway leading man, the blowhard know-it-all who acolytes cheer even harder when he’s off form. And yet the talent's all still there, waiting for someone to awaken it.

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