Less of an action extravaganza, but a wonderful drama that completes the story...
Like many people who saw the film, I remember wondering where the big action scenes in Kill Bill: Volume 2 were. It's not that I got bored by the movie. I did see what I wanted to see: the rest of the story and how the remaining three in the Bride's death list are eliminated. Plus, I got to see more of Uma Thurman after being impressed by her performance in Volume 1. So do I like Volume 1 or Volume 2 better? I'm tempted to pick the former since I felt a sense of awe after seeing it. At the same time, I like both films for what they are.
Let's start with the remaining characters. We get to see who Budd is since he was seen in Volume 1 only in brief glimpses. Now it is clear that he's a strip club bouncer living in a trailer in the desert. Elle Driver, who tried to kill the Bride as a nurse in disguise, is back as she and Budd make a deal: the Bride's Hattori Hanzo sword for a briefcase of cash. The big fight scene involves the Bride and Elle in Budd's trailer, which is as exciting to see as the fight with Vernita Green in her house.
Like Volume 1, it takes the time in the movie's third chapter to take a trip through the past. Here, the flashback scene tells the story of how the Bride learned martial arts from the brutal Master Pai Mei. The master happens to be played by Gordon Liu, who appeared in Volume 1 as one of the Crazy 88s. Both characters are tough fighters, but in Volume 2, he plays one who is invincible. Despite being a man who, as Bill warns, hates Americans, Japanese, and especially women, Pai Mei is willing to turn a weakling like the Bride into an adept fighter.
All of this leads up to the final chapter, titled "Face to Face," where the Bride finally confronts Bill (David Carradine), the last name in her death list. This is where the real surprise is. Many would anticipate something as climactic as the swordfight with O-Ren Ishii, but instead, Quentin Tarantino turns our expectations upside down. The scenes seem to involve more love than bitter hatred. It doesn't mean the Bride is going to let Bill go. What I mean is that it doesn't follow the typical formula of a revenge movie. What we have is a set of scenes that have some of the best dialogue in the film.
Although the original single Kill Bill epic was split into two films, it was split in a way that results in two halves that connect but are still unique in their own way. The first is an action film and the second is a drama film, though both have elements of the other. What's interesting is that after seeing Volume 2, I could go back and note details in Volume 1 that I didn't notice the first time around. So yes, I enjoyed Kill Bill: Volume 2 simply for what it is. It's a smart film that finishes the story and leaves us all smiling.
For more information about Kill Bill: Volume 2, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review for Kill Bill: Volume 1.