Though I was a big supporter of the first "Kill Bill," the second film actually turned out to be my favorite of the two. What really makes "Vol. 2" stand apart from the first film is the emotional depth of this half of the saga. "Vol. 2" connects on more than a surface level. Where the first movie set up the story, with The Bride (Uma Thurman) slicing and dicing her way through an assortment of victims (including the killer Crazy 88s), the second half allows the audience to really get into the mind and heart of The Bride (and yes, we do find out her real name and no, I wont include it in this review).
Keeping this entirely spoiler free, we know going in The Brides prime objective is to kill Bill (David Carradine). What was only hinted at and vaguely referred to in the first movie about their personal relationship is now fleshed out. Members of the DiVAS who made brief appearances in Vol. 1 are showcased in "Vol. 2." As Bills brother Bud and the only male member of the DiVAS, Michael Madsen (still the epitome of a cool actor) plays a major role in this one. Daryl Hannah returns as Elle Driver and gives the movie its best action sequence as she and The Bride destroy Bud's mobile home during a fight to the death. Theres also an extensive segment featuring The Bride training with Pei Mei (Gordon Liu). Its fairly obvious that if Tarantino had to settle for just one movie, we would probably have lost those training sessions scenes only to have them as bonus material on the DVD. That would have been a tough cut for Tarantino to make as losing these key scenes of Thurman and Liu really flesh out the story.
As in the first film, Quentin injects sick humor whenever possible and again spends way too much time focusing on Umas feet. Theyre not the prettiest parts of her body so that obsessions just a little creepy. Id have liked the second film to mix it up and focus on her thumbs or her earlobes or anything other than her toes, but whatever. Maybe thats what Quentins saving for the future in "Vol. 3" - a film about Umas elbows. As long as hes over the foot obsession, I could deal with it.
The only real strike against "Vol. 2" lies in the amount of time between the two parts. Had the DVD release of the movie been a good month ahead of "Vol 2," it would have allowed audiences who missed the first part, or who wanted to refresh their memories, more time to pick up a copy. Or, if the movies release had been planned a little closer to "Vol. 1," I wouldnt have felt so unsure of my semi-faulty memory. "Kill Bill Vol. 1" on DVD did brisk sales during its first days in release but moviegoers who missed "Vol. 1" in theaters and havent had time to go to the video store, or havent received their copy in the mail from Netflix, have to skip "Vol. 2s" opening weekend. With studios pulling films faster than you can say Gigli, theres no guarantee the movie you want to see will even be out there a few weeks after its theatrical debut. Placing the DVD release just a couple of days before "Vol. 2s" theatrical release does a disservice to potential Kill Bill fans. And despite a few ads Ive seen to the contrary, you absolutely must see "Vol. 1" before you see "Vol. 2."
Paying homage to multiple movie genres, Tarantinos "Vol. 2" is less lethal than the first film, letting dialogue a secondary ingredient in "Vol. 1" - be the primary focal point in "Vol 2." As with "Vol. 1," the cast is brilliant, the editing and cinematography are first-rate, and the pacing holds your interest throughout the film.
"Kill Bill Vol. 2" is a killer movie that doesn't let you down. It leaves you wanting more of Tarantino's stylized direction and hoping he doesn't take another long absence from directing.
"Kill Bill Vol. 2" was directed by Quentin Tarantino and is rated R for violence, language and brief drug use.