Kill Bill Vol. 2

By Mark Ramsey | 2004/04/18

Is it just me or does David Carradine look like he just came off the night shift at an Indian Casino?

Carradine, whose saddle soaped face doubles as the interior of a used Lexus, is the spawn of legendary actor John Carradine who died in 1988 but kept making movies until 1995, when finally craft services deemed his appearance too unappetizing even for them.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 is getting good word of mouth – especially from Carradine’s mouth, the contents of which seem to have escaped from a lab at 3M a couple weeks ago. I’ve heard of a casting couch but never a casting glass on the casting nightstand. These are some kind of Karate choppers!

killbill2_thekingandi.jpgHow else to explain David’s unfortunate lisp colliding head-on with Quentin Tarantino’s fondness for words containing “s”: “I’ve heard of wedding rehearthalth, but not wedding dreath rehearthalth,” spits David as 32 Orc-like incisors fight the battle of Helm’s Tongue.

Carradine isn’t much for action in Kill Bill Vol. 2, but man oh man he can sure talk. Talk and talk and talk. There are moments in Kill Bill Vol. 2 which could be mistaken for Days of our Lives or at least a day that feels like a life.

Michael Madsen is one of Carradine’s assassins. And from the looks of him, woe unto any twist-off cap that stands between him and his hooch. Madsen, you see, used to have one of those fancy-pants swords everyone in this movie orgasms over, but he tells Carradine he hocked it.

“It was pritheleth!” spits a stunned Carradine.

Once again, Uma Thurman gets used and abused and manhandled and poked, prodded, battered, fried, and – last but not least – buried alive. Beatrix is her name and Beatrixploitation is Tarantino’s game. Fortunately, she heals faster than you and I can say “ouch.”

In the darkness of Uma’s would-be final resting place she struggles to escape. She’s buried alive in a box with only a flashlight and, evidently, an inexhaustible supply of oxygen. Minutes seem to pass as she screams and fights and gropes – minutes during which the screen is completely black and everyone in the audience looks around at each other embarrassed to be in a black room with a lot of strangers facing nothing and watching each other. This must be what it’s like to see a Woody Allen movie.

Uma ventures to far off who-knows-where to study with master Pei Mai, high priest and Pat Morita of the White Lotus Clan. He flips his flowing white beard over his shoulder the way a petulant teenager flips her hair. He wears a stick in his hair-bun like Kung Fu Wilma Flintstone and has eyebrows so massive they could shelter Beijing during a tsunami.

killbill2_pirate.jpgDarryl Hannah’s had some work done. And by “work” I don’t mean remodeling your kitchen, I mean constructing the Taj Mahal. Injected with enough Botox to exterminate every critter that crawls, Darryl wears a patch. Her eye, you see, was plucked out by her teacher, thus making it the only part of her body to be removed and not replaced by a Beverly Hills specialist.

There’s Darryl, zooming down the road in her sporty ride! There’s something about a babe with no depth perception driving at unsafe speeds that makes me want to take the bus.

There are two squeamish moments in this Tarantinoverse: When Uma squishes an eyeball under foot – and when Carradine and Uma brace for a smooch. One is gross and one involves an eyeball.

I had had about enough of Kill Bill by the time the climax approached and Carradine launched into a comic book diatribe: “Clark Kent is Thuperman’th critique on the whole human rathe.” David, maybe a little less slashing with a Thamurai thword and a little more with gnashing with the thpeech therapitht.

Compared to Kill Bill Part 1, this half lacks much of the cartoonish, outrageous fun. It’s darker, chattier, grittier, and there’s more wire work – and I mean the wires stringing together Carradine’s teeth.

I worry about Tarantino. Kill Bill is largely an artist’s rendering of other artists’ renderings. Call it homage, call it tribute, call it derivative geekery, but one wonders whether Quentin has experienced any facet of life that wasn’t at one time or another fed through a projector. When a boy’s best friend is his vast collection of DVD’s, it’s time for a dog.

So what’s next for Quentin? We know he loves to remake the careers of 70′s-era icons.

Welcome back, Kotter!

Photos Copyright ©2004 Miramax Films Corp.


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