Thursday, April 22, 2004

Thwap! Crack! Slash! Awww!

We saw Kill Bill 2 the other day, and I have to say that while it's less inventive and certainly less violent than the first, it's probably the better film. Of course, I'm fully aware that technically it's not "Kill Bill 2" and that it's not a separate film to the first, but I care not for pedantry. At least not tonight. It's far more standalone than the first half too, and could probably be watched on its own without confusion. In fact, taken as a whole, it's rather lopsided, with all the craziness in the first half and all the drama in the second half. It makes me wonder what Kill Bill will look like in a few months when it inevitably turns up in a special edition two-volume boxed-set. I wonder if it'll be recut to balance the halves out a bit more?
I'm also trying to work out whether the film(s) is feminist or not, and if it is, whether it's feminist in the way Aliens is, or whether there's something else going on. Either way, I find it funny that Quentin Tarantino, surely a bloke's film-maker (although I doubt he would want to be thought as such), does a kung fu revenge thriller that turns out to have a feminist message.
I think that the very last word of the film is the C-word (don't worry, that link doesn't go to a porn site). What I found interesting about that was that the last line of the film was greeted with a stunned silence, apart from myself and a woman somewhere behind us, who both laughed. We laughed not because of the taboo word, but because it was a genuinely funny line (well that's why I laughed - I don't know about the mysterious unseen woman). I just found it interesting that this was an audience who'd sat through countless "f***s" and "s***s", and even more violence, but were visibly disturbed by one instance of "c***". I'm not sure whether British audiences would be so stunned, and I'm even less sure of what it means in terms of cultural differences, but it struck me as intriguing.
The final oddity occurred during the trailers. There was a trailer for the Jet Li film Hero, which returns him to his proper brand of martial arts cinema. Trust me, if all you've seen of him is the stuff he's done in the West, then take a look at The Legend Of Fong Sai Yuk. Anyway. This trailer wasn't notable because Miramax have sat on the film for two years, although that is cause for concern. What made me raise an eyebrow was that suddenly, Hero is "presented by Quentin Tarantino". Obviously the success of Kill Bill means that Tarantino's going to get his name slapped on every martial arts film released for the next ten years, and if that gets what are some very good films to a wider audience, then that's good. But I just hope that it doesn't go the way of "Wes Craven Presents" and be a brand name for a sub-genre of absolutely terrible films. That would be terribly unfair to both Tarantino and martial arts cinema.
On a related note, here's a fascinating IMDb Board discussion concerning the political commentary in Hero. It's fascinating not only because of the content, but because it's a rare case of the IMDb Boards not being used by morons to call each other morons.

Right, I'm off to find recipes for General Tso's Chicken. Yum!

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