Time: 136 mins.
SYNOPSIS: The murderous Bride continues her vengeance quest against her ex-boss, Bill, and his two remaining associates; his younger brother Budd, and Bill's latest flame Elle. The surprise that her unborn daughter survived the attempt on her life forces her to re-evaluate her plans.
BOTTOM LINE: The Bride continues her vengeful ways in this continuation of Tarantino's epic revenge saga. Burnished and beautiful Thurman proves just how strong and determined a scorned woman can be. Alive and well, we learn what happened to piss the Bride off so badly and what caused Bill to cut her out of his heart and attempt to take her life. It's a gripping saga told with immense visual finesse and a flair for dialogue that's both lyrical and pure pulp. None of the characters believes in remorse or forgiveness, taking the only avenues of survival open to them. One would almost find the Bride's numerous escapes from certain death unbelievable if they weren't intercut with her formal martial arts training, which taught her how to outlast just these types of circumstances. The months of torture at the hand of master warrior Pai Mei turns out to have been very well worth it. That everything comes full circle is not deep, but it is deeply satisfying.
The killing machine from the first half turns more and more into a full-fledged human being with every frame that passes, elaborating on the pain and effort it took to enable her to gain justice. The irony that she is a paid killer going after assassins who tried to do to her what she did many times herself is not lost on Tarantino or the viewer. In fact, it just allows the fighting to be much more imaginatively destructive. The film culminates with two major confrontations: one a no-holds-barred, fight-to-death battle with the seriously jealous and bitter, one-eyed Elle (Hannah), Bill's new lover; the other, a mental battle with the whimsically devious and elusive Bill himself, where the Bride finally meets her daughter, which momentarily takes the wind out of her sails. Since it's the title of the film, Bill's fate is sort of a given, however, it's the emotional aftermath of his demise that takes the Bride by surprise.
This is the role of a lifetime and Thurman clearly relishes every second. She's rarely been given the opportunity to use her brain as well as her beauty and she makes you care for the Bride's plight despite the brutality involved. In fact, she's so effective you truly believe her old compatriots deserve to die and relish their beatings. Tarantino will never be accused of subtlety, but in this instance his penchant for melodrama and mayhem blends together to create an almost perfect cinema treat. His visceral sensibility is certainly not to everyone's taste, yet he pushes the medium like no other director working today and for that reason alone his films, especially this one, are must-sees.