Kill Bill? Kill Me!

So we saw Kill Bill Vol.2 last night after having watched Vol. 1 on DVD a few days ago. What can I say? Tarantino just doesn't thrill me like he did 10 years ago. The older I get the less fascinated I am with blood and gore. I realize that one shouldn't sit through a Tarrantino film if one is squeamish, but I really don't think that torture and rape should ever be considered entertaining--even if the evil doers get justice in the end. And just because you're not afraid to say "nigger" in your films that doesn't make them bold artistic achievements.Did this thing really need to be 5 hours long and split into 2 "movies?" No. There's this new thing called editing. And there's enough fluff and long drawn out scenes that one could easily cut without losing the movie's impact. I'll give thumbs up to some cool cinematography, and a few more kudos to all the 1970s references, but these don't make up for the story's lack of depth. Yes, part 2 goes a long way towards redeeming part 1, and giving us some reason to cheer for Uma, but ultimately there really isn't much there. Like too many high-budget, slick-effects movies, this one relies on the audience to fill in the character blanks. We've seen this story before (many many times), and the players are just the same old glyphs going through the same old motions, albeit with more swords and more finesse. Putting it into a 1970's Kung Fu (or sometimes 1990's Anime) style doesn't absolve it of its cliches (oh, right, now we call it "homage"). Cutting up the "plot" and rearranging it into a non-linear story does not make it more profound. Yes, Tarantino's characters and situations are cooler and wittier than most, but they are just as shallow. The good news is that the movie(s) are fun in many respects. Some of the scenes are beautifully shot--especially the swordfight in the snow between Uma and Lui. And Tarantino varies his highly choreographed battles between wide open and cramped spaces, between drawn out fights and quick and unsympathetic deathblows, between suspenseful situations and absurd ones, between bright colors and black and white. These differnces keep the lead up to the final battle from becoming too repetitive. There's also enough clever lines and quirky situations to keep one entertained. Uma pulls off an astounding array of visual feats, and she has the perfect face for the icy killer. Carradine is fabulous as the heartless Bill, although I was incredibly disappointed that he didn't do more Kung Fu. The problem is that all this flash doesn't make up for the movie's lack of heft. After 5 hours of blood and guts, I still don't know that much about these people (other than the fact that they are all cool bad asses). So why should I care whether or not Uma gets Bill? Here, let me save you five hours: she does.