A View to A Kill
Do I really need an intro for this column? Today, we have my review of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill script. 'Nuff Said...
Kill Bill Script Review
MAN'S VOICE (OS)
Do you find me sadistic?
I first saw Pulp Fiction at 15, almost 8 years ago. It changed the way I watched film forever. Quentin Tarantino (with some help from Roger Avary) reinvented the definition of cool cinema for an entire movie generation and me as well. It was a masterpiece of 90s filmmaking. His follow-up, Jackie Brown, was a little different. Some people loved it and others despise it with a passion. I liked it. Being a long time Elmore Leonard fan it was a dream come true to see one of our best cinematic authors take a whack at Elmore's world. After a 5 year wait, Quentin has finally finished a new screenplay. Entitled Kill Bill, it has no date on the draft and is 202 pages long, a little bit smaller then the draft reviewed by Harry Knowles. The screenplay is divided into 10 chapters (including the prologue):
Table of Contents
2.The Comatose Bride......................................18
3.The Man From Okinawa....................................39
4.SHOWDOWN at HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES........................51
5."Can she bake a cherry pie".............................84
6.The lonely grave of Paula Schultz.......................97
7.The cruel tutelage of Pai Mei..........................118
8.ELLE and I.............................................142
9.The blood-splattered BRIDE.............................159
This saga of retribution begin with Bill (David Carradine) and the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad aka DiVAS (Michael Madsen, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah and Vivica A. Fox) obliterating The Bride's (Uma Thurman) wedding. No one survived except the bride herself but she sadly lost the child she was carrying. Awakened from her five years coma, The Bride goes on a path of vengeance on her former employer and his associates. From Pasadena to Austin, Texas and Tokyo, the Bride leaves a trail of devastation. But will she finally kill Bill, the one man who has shattered all her dreams?
BILL'S VOICE (OS)
I bet I could fry an egg on your head about now, if I wanted to. No kiddo, I'd like to believe, even now, you're aware enough to know there isn't a trace of sadism in my actions... Okay - Maybe towards these other jokers - but not you...
Warren Beatty is an idiot. How could he possibly turn down the role of Bill? His performance could have extended his legend for another generation. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to think so. How Pathetic. David Carradine, on the other hand, is an exciting choice. The Kung-Fu star has been enormously low-profile in the nineties. This role will definitely resurrect his career, similar to what Quentin did with John Travolta, Pam Grier and Robert Forster. In chapter five, where we finally see Bill for the first time, it is amazing. He goes into an underground casino for an assignment. It's an astonishing setup for his character. We witness his professionalism and his fury. It's somethin' all right. Don't be surprised to see Carradine win some sort of award at the next Cannes film festival.
It was worth the wait. Quentin was absolutely right about waiting for Uma to do this film. I can't imagine anyone else playing The Bride. It's true I've been admiring Uma for almost a decade now. I had a photo of her in my senior year agenda. Tall, talented, sexy and gorgeous. What more can a guy ask for? Well, can she kick some serious ass? This picture will erase any doubts about that. The Bride aka Black Mamba is a professional assassin and a damn good one too. She can use a knife, samurai sword and her own body to wreak havoc. I'm drooling with anticipation for her fight-scenes. UMA RULES!!! There's also another captivating thing about her character, we only hear her 'real name' in Chapter 8. Till that point, every time someone would say her 'real name' its bleeped. A little outlandish but it becomes an fascinating payoff.
If you ever take your ass out of this goddamn bed for as long as you f**kin live, I will beat it into the ground, bitch!
It was time for Daryl Hannah to make a comeback. She was hugely popular in the eighties (Blade Runner, Splash, Wall Street) but gradually disappeared in the nineties. The 42 year-old actress will define who Elle (aka California Mountain Snake) truly is. In the script, she's never pleasant, one mean bitch. There's something missing from Elle too, her left eye. The story behind that is quite fascinating, I won't spoil it. Daryl has a real shot at making a big return and with Quentin's direction she probably won't miss.
They say the number one killer of old people is retirement. People got a job to do, they tend to live a little longer so they can do it. I've always figured warriors and their enemies share the same relationship.
Who better then Michael Madsen to play Budd aka Sidewinder and Bill's brother? He was incredible in Reservoir Dogs. He and Quentin will easily revive the magic again. Budd is the most sympathetic character of the film, an alcoholic strip club bouncer who lives in a trailer. He believes that Bill and the crew deserve what is happening to them. Still he won't give up his life so fast. Adequately written for Michael, this is another juicy role for him. It's going to be pleasant to see him in a first-class film again. Thanks Quentin!
Swords however never get tired. I hope you've saved your energy. If you haven't, you might not last five minutes.
O-Ren Ishii aka Cottonmouth is one malicious woman. Who better then Lucy Liu to play her? She has the brutal traits to make O-Ren intimidating. Her rise to power in the Japanese Yakuza is one scary story, making for a strong departure from Lucy's comedic characters. O-Ren's crew, the 'Crazy 88' are mad. Their face-off with The Bride in Chapter 4 is going to be unforgettable.
F**k you bitch, I know he didn't qualify it, so you can just kiss my motherf**kin ass, Black Mamba.
(Snorts to herself)
Black Mamba, I should have been motherf**kin Black Mamba.
There is a good chance for Vivica A. Fox to glow in this role. Copperhead (Vernita's code name) is one ferocious housewife. She's the initial victim on The Bride's list that we come across. There's a few more superb supporting characters: Pai Mei, the wise old soul who taught The Bride, Hattori Hanzo, maker of mystic samurai swords and Sofie Fatale, Bill's lawyer. All play significant parts in The Bride's road to revenge. I hope reports of Quentin wanting to play the part of Pai Mei himself were false. That would be preposterous. I like the rumor that Yuen Woo Ping could portray him. The master of Wire-Fu giving Uma on-screen lessons. How cool would that be?
For those wondering if Quentin remains the same pop-culture reference screenwriter he was, here is a little dialog to chew on:
Both O-Ren and the Bride finish the phrase together,...
....Trix are for kids.
What's missing from this script is quite simple. No Samuel L. Jackson scene-stealing character and drugs. Both were a usual fixture of Quentin's world, but they've disappeared this time around. Could it mark a growing-up in his writing? Perhaps. Time will tell. No sitting around a table or watching TV scene filled with dialogs. None of that happens in Kill Bill. Kind of strange but the 21st Century version of QT is definitely fascinating. Nine years after his tour de force, we'll finally witness a different side of his cinematic vision. It's easy to guess that I'm not the only one who can't wait to see Kill Bill.
That's all folks...