September 19, 2005

Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

136 mins. · R
Letterboxed · 2.40:1

Format
UMD

Audio
English - DD 2.0

Subtitles
English

Extras
Deleted Scene

Starring
Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen

Review by
John Carpenter


Rating



(2004)

After crossing two names off of the list, there are plenty of obstacles to face before confronting Bill. "Kill Bill: Volume 2" picks up where its predecessor left off by filling in gaps with past conversations and startling revelations. We even get to find out the name to a character we know only as The Bride. It may not have the video game like appeal of "Kill Bill: Volume 1", but this UMD will complete an epic by showing us if Bill does indeed get killed.

We are quickly brought up to speed on The Bride's quest for revenge. While the first volume of the film is a fast paced whirlwind of violence and mayhem, the second installment is a dialogue driven adventure. I still remember sitting in the theater and hearing the moans and groans around me as audience members grew tired of the pace of "Kill Bill: Volume 2". One of the guys around me implied that he was ripped off by spending money on Tarantino's latest. Were we ripped off when we met Butch in "Pulp Fiction"? Did Tarantino pull one over on us by developing the relationship between Mr. Orange and Mr. White in "Reservoir Dogs"? These are both examples of Tarantino slowing the pace of a movie to deepen his stories by developing characters and plot. A prime example is Budd. He is probably the least flashy character in the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, but he manages to leave an impact. We see how he lives, where he works, how his co-workers treat him, and get some backstory on his glory days as an assassin. We actually begin to feel sorry for Budd and his current situation. When The Bride does finally arrive, we see Budd slip back into a sadistic nature that would make his brother Bill proud. Budd provides a great storyline for the movie and provides The Bride with more motivation to kill Bill. By taking the time to slow things down, we are left with a memorable character whose subplot has more story than many action movies have at all.

Another reason the slower pace fits "Kill Bill: Volume 2" is we get to see the human side of the characters. Seeing how much love and respect The Bride has for Bill when he shows up at her wedding rehearsal allows us to see just how badly she was betrayed. It wasn't like she was seeking revenge on a random killer from a random shooting. This was a planned assassination from her past to eliminate her future. At her most vulnerable, she is kicked in the face by a life she was trying to set herself free from. We see Elle Driver and how she views killing The Bride as a rite of passage for her as a warrior. The when Bill is finally found, he continues to fight The Bride by attacking her with mind games and emotional weapons. "Kill Bill: Volume 1" has the questions and "Kill Bill: Volume 2" provides the answers. The two combine for a story that shows revenge can be served in a variety of ways, but it takes patience to dish it out.

Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the quality of "Kill Bill: Volume 2" is outstanding. The black and white flashback sequences are very clear, providing an unbelievable amount of detail in each shot. Colors during all other scenes are rich and defined. The blacks are deep and even the night scenes showcase green grass and silver headstones rather than shadows and muddy backdrops. The yellow subtitles during Pai Mei's tutelage never blend into the picture, allowing the story to progress without distraction. Even by adjusting the brightness on your PSP, the picture quality in the sun will affect the movie. The dreamlike glow of Pai Mei's sequence is about the only thing not completely lost when outdoors. Utilizing a carrying case to help deflect sunlight will help reduce the glare enough to get you through a movie on a hot afternoon.

Sound is an area I was concerned about on the PSP. Between the music, mayhem, and burial scene, I thought some of the impact "Kill Bill: Volume 2" could be lost in the audio department. I cannot stress the importance of ignoring the PSP speakers when watching movies. The headphones or powered speakers are the only way to go to ensure detail and clarity in the sound department. With that said, the sound quality is excellent. You can hear the gravel scratching the asphalt under Budd's boots as he strolls across the parking lot to work. The music and dialogue are both at decent levels. I prefer earphones for this UMD since they immerse you in the movie more. They help drown out noise around you and allow the story to develop with minimal outside distraction. Considering it can be watched anywhere, this will help keep the focus on the story.

The extra feature is the deleted scene also found on the DVD version. Though it is a small scene, it is a nice addition to the UMD. The menu is easy to navigate and gives easy access to the 19 chapter stops. Subtitles are optional and default to only appearing while Japanese is spoken.

Overall, the UMD for "Kill Bill: Volume 2" hold up well. With 136-minute runtime, be prepared to sacrifice some battery power to watching the movie. This is an easy recommendation for Quentin Tarantino fans or those looking for a little depth in their portable movie collection.

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