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19 July 2011

Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)

Pai Mai puts Uma Therman through her paces in Kill Bill Volume 2, Miramax 2004

He hates caucasians.
He despises Americans.
He has nothing but contempt for women.

If you loved the first installment of Kill Bill then I think that you're probably going to love the second. But it's not a sure thing! These are two very different films.

Let's remind ourselves of where Volume 1 left off...

Uma Therman gets a bullet in the head for reasons that aren't explained, delivered by her former partners: The Deadly Viper Assasination Squad. She almost dies, but doesn't. So starts her murderous campaign of vengence as she hunts down and kills the poor unfortunate fools who betrayed her.

In Volume 2 Uma continues on her quest to track down her remaining ex-colleagues, and all the while she gets ever closer to the mysterious Bill.

Zombie? No,it's only Uma in Kill Bill Volume 2, Miramax 2004

Whereas Volume 1 was very much an action flick with moody Uma calling the shots, the second has far more of Quentin Tarantino's trademark quirky dialogue. Quentin's got a whole lot of explaining to do after Volume 1, and he doesn't disappoint in Volume 2. It changes the feel of the film, but not necessarily in a bad way. What I will say however is that rambling Bill certainly likes the sound of his own voice! I guess that's the price of being a sage old master.

But don't get me wrong: whilst there's lots of talking... there's also plenty of fighting too!

The legendary Pai Mai in Kill Bill Volume 2, Miramax 2004

My favourite bit in the whole film is where we meet Pai Mai, the legendary Kung Fu master reputedly one of the five elders of Southern Shaolin. He reluctantly takes on Uma as his student, and boy does he bitch about it! It's a real throw-back to the classic master/student situations of early martial arts films. Pai Mai (played by Gordon Liu) looks great; He could easily have stepped right out of a Monkey episode!

I won't go through all the cast again, but I will point out Michael Parks. In Volume 1 he played Earl McGraw, the sheriff who investigates the church massacre. In volume 2 he's back, and you wouldn't recognise him unless you knew. This time he's the sleepy-eyed Mexican pimp Esteban Vihaio. What a talented guy!

Michael Parks as Esteban Vihaio in Kill Bill Volume 2, Miramax 2004

One last thing before I finish...

Have you ever heard of the deadliest martial arts move ever? Does the Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique mean anything to you? If not, then you'd better watch this film. I've been practising all night and now I've knocked a hole in the wardrobe!

On the Triple-B I'm going to down 7 shots and then inject you with some truth serum. You'd better not tell me the truth though... because I can't handle the truth...


  1. They had originally cast someone else as Esteban but he didn't make it to the first read-through of the script. Since Michael Park was already there, reading for Earl McGraw, Tarantino asked if he would also read the part of Esteban. Naturally, he got the role.

    I guess the lesson is: Always go to the read-through if you're an actor.

  2. Great piece of info Pete! Thanks for the comment! I've just read that Michael had previously played Earl McGraw in From Dust Till Dawn and after the reprise in Kill Bill he went on to play him again in Grindhouse. I've seen, but can't remember him in Dusk... and now I'm intrigued to see Grindhouse.