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Face-Off: Kill Bill vs. Kill Bill 2

For last weeks Face-Off, we put together a match up between two top notch directors in Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro. Peter Jackson took the verdict and the opinion of our readers was pretty damn split.

This week, to celebrate the pending release of Django Unchained, we have put together yet another Tarantino themed match up in Kill Bill against its sequel Kill Bill 2. Essentially the film is one long revenge flick, but for the sake of time the journey was split into two film that managed to have two different feels. These differences justify the debate on whether the first or second part entertained the fans more than the other. So which part of the story did you enjoy more folks? The set up or the conclusion? Let us discuss.
Pace
The first installment hit us with the particulars of the plot at a faster pace and jumped right in to a revenge sequence. Even without the balls to the wall climax which I will discuss in greater detail soon, the moments of levity (if you can call it that) seemed to be more suspenseful than the sequel so this film felt tighter. Maybe pace and action is a funny subject to be talking about when we're covering Tarantino's dialogue driven sensibilities, but it's in this film that a lot is actually going on. Extra points for the manner in which O-Ren Ishii's back story was executed and presented.
I have a confession to make, after previously viewing another movie at the drive-in and following that immediately with Kill Bill 2...I fell asleep pretty quick. When I finally got through it all, it definitely moved at a slower pace but it was no less entertaining than the first. Some may disagree, but after the craziness that was the Crazy 88 sequence I dug the slow burning finale to this film...I felt it was fitting and a brilliant direction to take it. That said, I wish everything leading up to said fitting conclusion didn't seem just as slow
Kills
Swords and blood. And just for good measure more swords and more blood. Even well placed knives and doors come into play. When you take into account the closing minutes of this film and the scalping theme present in Inglorious Basterds...Tarantino seems to have a hard on for the act. O-Ren's untimely demise was definitely worthy of being the money shot for Kill Bill Vol. 1. I don't even need to bring up the beautifully done animated sequence filled with gory revenge do I? Brilliant move, shot in live action could have came off tacky even for this film. Long story short this one brought the goods like you wouldn't believe.
As satisfying to my retinas as all the violence in the first film was, nothing seems more unsettling than dying a slow painful poison filled death the way poor Bud did. They all did indeed deserve to die, but I don't think he meant that way. And the assumed death of Elle was acceptable after that cringe worthy eye crush between the toes, I mean hot damn. It seems Tarantino made up for the slower pace with violence bits that had a bit more of a "did that shit just happen" feel to them. Then there was the foreshadowing theme of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique that I at first thought was a cop out of a death for Bill, but that I appreciate more with every repeated viewing.
Climax
First we get The Bride taking out the Crazy 88 squad, then the wonderful battle with Gogo Yubari, followed by the duel in the snow with O-Ren. As if all this wasn't bad ass enough, we get the bombshell courtesy of Bill that made us anticipate the follow up more than we already were. I've always loved Tarantino's love for paying tribute to the types of films that he grew up loving, and in doing so throwing these homages in our face. The climactic duel was the perfect love letter, so beautiful to look at...while adding Tarantino's own over the top spin to it. I wonder if a sunrise duel on the beach between the Bride and Bill should have been the way to go every time I see the end of this film.
Kill Bill 2 did a complete about-face in terms of conclusion to the story, and while I entertain the thought of a more balls to the wall ending now and again...I loved the way it went. It was a treat listening to Bill explain where his head and heart was at, and the Bride's reaction to this and reacting to her alive and well daughter. You sat there waiting for a crazy battle between these two and when I didn't get it, I reflected on everything that came before it and walked away satisfied. I don't think I would have tolerated this from a director with a lesser flare for putting together some of the most brilliant cinematic conversations I've ever heard. We thought at the end of the first film it would be the Bride confronting Bill, and in the end Bill confronted the Bride.
Memorable Lines
-"It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that I'm sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin'. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waiting."

-"Silly Caucasian girl likes to play with Samurai swords."

-"The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is... I collect your fucking head. Just like this fucker here. Now, if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say, now's the fucking time!"

-"You and I have unfinished business!"

-"You might not be able to fight like a samurai, but you can at least die like a samurai."

-"Wiggle your big toe."
-"That woman, deserves her revenge and... we deserve to die. But then again, so does she. So, I guess we'll just see. Won't we?"

-"I'm a killer. A murdering bastard, you know that. And there are consequences to breaking the heart of a murdering bastard."

-"Now in these last agonizing minutes of life you have left, let me answer the question you asked earlier more thoroughly. Right at this moment, the biggest "R" I feel is Regret. Regret that maybe the greatest warrior I have ever met, met her end at the hands of a bushwhackin, scrub, alky piece of shit like you. That woman deserved better."

-"I...overreacted."
Overall
How do I explain this one? The first Kill Bill took all the elements I loved about the sequel and wrapped them up in a more action packed larger than life bow. I was hooked from the beginning and wasn't let down a single second of its run time. Excellent action, brilliant dialogue. great character development for the characters that took up the latter half of the film...and a hook at the end that was brilliant. I credit this film with turning me on to researching the classic films that inspired Tarantino and found myself loving the genre that brought this tribute to life. Long story short, I think in this film Tarantino fans got what they wanted out of this particular genre of storytelling.
I loved Kill Bill 2 for totally different reasons than what I loved the first one for. This installment was definitely a character study from beginning to end. Loved the implied but not even fully explored guilt within the character of Bill for taking part in the massacre, I loved more of the grudging respect that Elle had for the Bride, and I loved the approach of Bill pointing the finger at Beatrix while taking responsibility for his actions at the same time. We still had all the necessary revenge flick elements, but Tarantino seemed more determined to explore his characters here and I certainly dug that. It's just a matter of what approach you appreciate more.
Kill Bill
Another tough decision for me. But when I take into account how wonderfully ridiculous the film was, and the mystery that still surrounded the story, the way the film was put together, and the over the top nature of it all...I feel the first film deserves the victory. I appreciate the second film on a deeper level, but Kill Bill for me was more of a cinematic achievement. Do you lot agree? Let us know where you stand.

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at [email protected] with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which Kill Bill is your favourite?
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