Kill Bill—Volume 1 (2003)

kill bill volume 1 poster 2003 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great kinetic action movie

Sometimes Quentin Tarantino's cleverness gets the best of him

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Kill Bill—Volume 1

Studio:  A Band Apart Productions

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  October 10, 2003

MPAA Rating:  R


It appears that this isn’t a good time to say I made a mistake?

Meet the Bride (Uma Thurman):  former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (Black Mamba) and gunned down on her wedding day by the Squad and her former lover Bill (David Carradine).  Waking up from a four year coma to find she has lost her child, the Bride sets out on for revenge against the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad with the ultimate goal…to kill Bill.

Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill—Volume 1 was originally intended to be released with Kill Bill—Volume 2 as a single film.  With a running time of over four hours, Kill Bill was split-up into two films and released on October 10, 2003 with Kill Bill—Volume 2 released on April 16, 2004.  The movie blended genres and adapted the story of Lady Snowblood, and was largely well received by critics (but largely ignored by American awards).


I will kill you all!

When Kill Bill was released, I was having a bit of a Quentin Tarantino backlash.  I felt he was too full of himself and often believed his writing was smarter than it really was.  When Tarantino would go for the “easy laugh” the movies were hurt and felt like he was pandering.  Kill Bill helped restore most of my faith in him (which he later destroyed again with Inglourious Basterds and Death Proof).

I love the cross blending of genres of this film and high kinetic energy.  The movie dips into martial arts, grindhouse, B-Movies, blaxploitation, and anime.  Usually Quentin Tarantino’s effects almost seem like they are done for effect’s sake, but here he has great control over the effects and most of their use feels necessary to keep the kinetic nature of the film going.  Kill Bill—Volume 1 starts with high energy and manages to maintain it throughout.


A killer in the making!

The movie also has a great cast.  Tarantino returns to his Pulp Fiction star Uma Thurman for the lead but also brings back a lot of great actors (like he often does) who show their potential.  This volume brings in martial arts great Sonny Chiba as the sword master and Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver (California Mountain Snake).  Vivica A. Fox as Vernita Green (Copperhead), and Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth) round out the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad targeted in this volume.  You also get the great Gogo Yubari played by Chiaki Kuriyama which Tarantino selected after seeing Battle Royale.


Hi…I’m going to kill you now!

Despite praising Quentin Tarantino, a glaring Tarantino-esque thing really bother me in this movie.  The whole scene with the rapists in the hospital is just Quentin Tarantino trying to be cool (and in my opinion failing).  Not only does it take you out of the movie and slows up the plot, it also leaves the Bride driving the Pussy-Wagon.  While it is a great on-the-spot joke, it doesn’t make much sense plot wise or really add anything…I just imagine Tarantino sitting there going “I got an awesome idea…the Pussy Wagon” and his yes-men followers saying “yeah, Tarantino…that’s funny”.

Kill Bill—Volume 1 is a fun, fast, and furious film.  Extremely bloody and graphic, the movie is so over-the-top and crazy (especially the Crazy-88s fight at the end) that you have to become a bit immune to the cartoon-like voracity of the blood and guts flying in this film.  Kill Bill—Volume 1 was followed by Kill Bill—Volume 2 in 2004.

Related Links:

Kill Bill—Volume 2 (2004)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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