|Kill Bill Vol. 2|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Sunday, 21 September 2008|
Tarantino continues the 1970s kung-fu style of the first volume here in the sequel. The structure of the film is divided into unorganized chapters that in the end make perfect sense. In fact, the sequel feels more like a separate film from its predecessor. It recaps the first film at the beginning, but then takes off in a new direction. The plot is more complicated than the "out-for-revenge" plot of the first film. Volume 2 borders on the standalone movie that is somewhat still dependent on the first film.
After killing O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green in the first film, Beatrix Kiddo (or The Bride or Black Mumba) sets out across the world to hunt down Budd and Elle, leading to the showdown with Bill. After unsuccessfully trying to kill Budd, Bill's brother, Beatrix is buried alive. While lying in a coffin, Beatrix reminisces about her training with Pai Mei. This is a great segment that opens us to Beatrix's past.
After her escape from the cemetery, Beatrix makes her way back to Budd's trailer, just in time to watch Elle Driver show up to visit Budd. While Beatrix watches from the distance, Elle takes care of Budd for her. And before Elle can take off, Beatrix kicks her across the trailer. A great fight scene ensures, leading to a climax that is quite gruesome, but for some reason quite expected.
With all the murderous team members six feet under, Beatrix travels to Mexico in search of Bill. Visiting Bill's father-like friend, Beatrix gets the information she needs. With her sights set on Bill's death, Beatrix rushes toward his villa. Upon arrival, Beatrix is shocked beyond imagination with the existence of her thought to be dead daughter, now four years old. After a few stories and some bonding time with her daughter over "Shogun Assassins," Beatrix returns to the living room to confront Bill with the presence of their daughter. This is the point at which we discover exactly what took place to make Beatrix leave her assassin's life and team behind.
When the stories are finished, and Bill has consumed numerous alcoholic shots, an extremely brief battle between Bill and Beatrix takes place. Bill meets his end with an all too predictable, five-point palm exploding heart technique, taught to Beatrix by Pai Mei. This is where the story ends, as Beatrix takes her daughter and begins to live the life that she dream of four years prior.
The video transfer of Volume 2 is slightly worse than the quality of Volume 1. While there are some stylistic choices that make it seem worse, there are also some other issues. Many will find the Pai Mei and black and white sequences to be a bit jarring, and may even think that the video quality is poor. However, these sequences are intentionally imaged this way. The Pai Mei shots are intentionally shot and post-produced to looks like 1970s kung-fu films. This means that the shots are very noisy and lack details. The black and white sequences look a bit soft and are also noisy. So, while these are stylistic choices, there jarring considering the rest of the film is filled with vibrant colors and practically noise free images. The blacks are crushed again in Volume 2, making black clothes and dark shots lack in texture. Other than these shots, the first of the film is much the equivalent of the first volume. While not flawless, the transfer is fairly decent, especially when there is no edge enhancement, which is beginning to plague many of the Blu-ray transfers.
The audio quality is once again outstanding. The audio is presented in both English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Uncompressed PCM 5.1 tracks. Auditioning the Uncompressed PCM track, I found the dialogue to be crisp and clear, with no unevenness in volume present. In fact, the dialogue and effects are extremely tight-knit. While the audio transfer is not compressed, the mix has been tweaked form the original. Watching the film in the theaters, dialogue and sound effects varied greatly in level. The Blu-ray disc tightens this difference. There were several points in the film that I found myself prepping for sudden changes in audio levels. However, they never occurred. The surrounds are consistent, but slightly disappointing. They are not as aggressive as most major motion pictures in this genre. However, when the surrounds are used, they are given great detail. The audio transfer itself is, for all intensive purposes, flawless.
All of the DVD special features have been ported over to the Blu-ray, and left in standard definition. The first bonus feature is a documentary on the making of "Kill Bill Vol. 2." The "Damoe" deleted scene is of particular interest. It reveals interesting tidbits about Beatrix's and Bill's pasts. The final bonus feature is a musical performance by Chingon. There is not much here, but the deleted scene is definitely worth a watch.
"Kill Bill Volume 2" gives the audience exactly what is expected after seeing the first film. This may be the downfall of the film series. However, I was able to overlook the predictability of the sequel and enjoy the journey it takes you on. The video transfer suffers a bit in its cohesiveness, but the audio is superb. The entire film series is highly recommended, both in terms of films and Blu-ray quality. Definitely add Volumes 1 and 2 to your Blu-ray collection.