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Kill Bill: Vol. 2′ fails to make the cut on DVD

Brandon Hollihan | Monday, September 13, 2004

Of all the films just dying for extras – bonus footage, interviews, commentary, whatever it may be – the “Kill Bill” DVD series is a truly disappointing release, in light of all the buzz created while the films were still at the box office. This is like an Irish victory at Florida State being followed up by a home loss to Boston College, in case you need an idea as to how let down you should feel.At least “Vol. 2” is the better of the two movies. Picking up where “Vol. 1” left off in Tokyo, we open with the Bride (Uma Thurman) giving a prologue speech recalling her apparent death and subsequent revenge. “I’ve killed a [heck] of a lot of people to get to this point,” she sneers, “but I have only one more,” that being Bill (David Carradine), her former boss/lover and the one most responsible for her attempted murder. Along the way the Bride encounters two other remaining members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad: Budd (Mark Madsen), who’s allowed his life to take a turn for the worse; and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), Bill’s current flame and the Bride’s ultimate rival. “Vol. 2” hits its peak and most fun in the middle of the plot. Here, the action and exchanges between the principal characters are at their most engaging, plus there’s the bonus of the indescribably great ‘Chapter 8: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei,’ with Gordon Liu uncannily assuming the role of the White Lotus priest and thus creating one of the best movie characters ever. Carradine’s portrayal of Bill is also convincing and entertaining, but I feel we see too much of him. His interaction with other characters ought to have been limited to just the Bride and their child; a concept of mystique to his character needs to be upheld. Any flaws the film may contain, however, are negligible when compared to the packaging of the DVD as a whole. As with “Vol. 1,” there is no audio commentary – a pretty ludicrous mishap, given that Quentin Tarantino’s insight is the kind of stuff fans of his films would die for. There is movie premiere footage on the DVD, but it’s just Robert Rodriguez’s band Chingon playing a song from the film’s end credits. There’s also only one deleted scene, a showdown between Bill and a thug named Damoe (Michael Jai White) and his cronies, which is nothing to write home about.The major special feature is a behind-the-scenes look at “Vol. 2,” which is decent, but even then it leaves you wanting more. For example, Tarantino discusses Carradine’s star turn in the 70’s TV series “Kung Fu,” or Liu having been worked in films outside of the “Kill Bill” series that featured the character Pai Mei. Would it really have been too much to dig up some of these things and do features on them? Tarantino shares his love for classic martial arts films with great intensity, and yet the viewer feels left out in the cold.That’s why the “Vol. 2” DVD doesn’t get the recommendation one might think it would have deserved. If you’re an owner of the “Kill Bill” set, take heart in the fact that you have a pair of very fun movies in your dorm room, and that many people in your section respect you and find you very cool. Otherwise, this set is for fans only, at least until the inevitable “Kill Bill Special Edition Box Set” shows up somewhere down the line.