The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Miramax - 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 111 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Uncompressed 5.1 PCM, English/French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH & Spanish
Starring: Uma Thurman, Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, David Carradine, Sonny Chiba, Julie Dreyfus, Gordon Liu, Michael Parks
Written & Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 9, 2008
"Revenge is a dish better served cold"
The acclaimed fourth film from groundbreaking writer and director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown) Kill Bill Volume 1 stars Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction), Lucy Liu (Charlie's Angels, Chicago) and Vivica A. Fox (Two Can Play That Game) in an astonishing, action-packed thriller about brutal betrayal and an epic vendetta! Four years later taking a bullet in the head at her own wedding, The Bride (Thurman) emerges from a coma and decides it's time for payback...with a vengeance! Having been gunned down by her former boss (David Carradine) and his deadly squad of international assassins, it's a kill-or-be killed fights she doesn't start but is determined to finish!
I have only seen Kill Bill once back when it was released on DVD. My brother in law loved both installments and loaned them to me. I wouldn’t say that I am a Tarantino fan per se but I loved Pulp Fiction and liked Jackie Brown (I own both on DVD). I watched them and found them appealingly different from anything that I had seen. Their impression on me wasn’t strong enough that I rushed out and picked them up though. The one thing that I did recall was that I liked Vol. 1 more than Vol. 2. I realize that the two are like conjoined twins but that was my feeling at the time. I am not going to go into a long explanation about the plot summary about either film because most who are reading this are probably familiar with it. Besides it is not a truly in depth story but a rather straight forward one. I think that these films are really about the characters and the action. We are given glimpses of the events that transpired that lead up to the confrontations between The Bride (Thurman) and her ex-colleagues. What we learn is that four of them are sent by their leader, whose name is Bill, to kill her on her wedding day. The only thing we “see” of Bill is the sound of his voice from the film’s opening and closing segments. In the opening she is shot in the head and left for dead by Bill after his death squad murders everyone at the chapel and beats The Bride to within an inch of her life. She survives and wakes up after a four year comma. She has one thing on her mind and one thing only, payback.
Tarantino cast his assassination squad perfectly in my opinion. Lucy Liu and Daryl Hannah nail their characters Elle and O-Ren. Vivica A. Fox was strong as Vernita but she just wasn’t in the film long enough to make a lasting impression. Michael Madsen is pretty one dimensional as an actor but he plays that character well. I thought that Uma Thurman was marvelous in this role and without her it just wouldn’t have been as good. I really enjoy the fight sequences featured in this film. The opening battle in the living room at Vernita’s house is well choreographed and special because it doesn’t include sword play. The entire House of Blue Leaves sequence which concludes in the exterior courtyard is my favorite between both installments. The Bride’s battle with Gogo during that scene was short but well executed. O-Ren is my favorite member of the Deadly Viper Assassination squad. The scene that takes place at the Tokyo council meeting is priceless. I really liked the animated segment on her background as well. Tarantino uses flashbacks, split screens, anime, black and white film, and well chosen music to create his vision of the world inhabited by these characters. This film sets up the mythology behind Kill Bill and it does so in typical Tarantino style. I have to admit that I enjoyed this film even more this time around.
The rating is for strong bloody violence, language, and some sexual content. This is not for younger audiences, period.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Kill Bill Vol. 1 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Miramax/Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and loss uncompressed 5.1 channel PCM audio that has a constant bitrate of 4.6 mbps.
I had high expectations for this film in high definition and Disney has delivered the goods with this video presentation. Colors are rock solid with vivid textures, vibrant primaries and deep saturation that doesn’t disappoint. Images have a sparkling clarity that makes them visually enticing. Detail is impeccable from nearly every perspective which allows clear perception of the various elements within each frame. Contrast was punchy but not excessive which made fine detail within whites and bright scenes easy to see. An example of this was during the battle between O-Ren and The Bride which takes place in the snow covered courtyard. O-Ren is wearing an all white Kimono that has a pattern sewn into the fabric. The pattern was not only visible during close ups but I was able to make it out from a wider angle shot as well. Later as The Bride throws Sofie’s body down the snow covered hill outside of the hospital the snow’s powdery texture (which of course made it easy to see was fake) was plainly obvious. Blacks were not inky but they had good depth and dynamic range. Detail in dark areas and shadowy scenes was visible but not quite as resolute as I have seen. Grain appeared to be intact and I saw no signs of artificial sharpening or excessive processing of the video.
The lossless uncompressed PCM sound was impressive. This is detail rich surround sound that offers spectacular clarity and solid dynamic presence. I was captivated by the precise imaging and tonal quality of the various sound effects used during the fight sequences. The scene that takes place at the House of Blues put the quality of the mix to the test and it certainly passed with flying colors. The clanking of swords, splintering of wood, or the splattering of blood were all reproduced with audible distinction that made them recognizable even during the fiercest moments in the battle. Dialogue intelligibility was excellent throughout. This is an active surround mix that can be aggressive at times. Whether its to generate the feeling of being in the middle of multistage samurai sword encounter or the wide expanse of a large parking garage the mix created a listening environment within the room that was as good as being there. Low frequency effects produced bass response that was clean, tight, and on a few occasions well extended. The animated sequence that depicts O-Ren’s background produced the deepest LFE in the film and sounded superb. The music added another dimension to the films soundtrack. Lossless audio’s higher fidelity was readily apparent as the select mix of period music utilized the entire surround platform to deliver its enriching audio quality.
The bonus supplements are below average in content and offer a 22 minute making of documentary which is quite good, two music numbers from the 3 piece female Japanese Band featured in the House of Blues scene from the film, and 6 Tarantino movie trailers.
- Making of Kill Bill Vol. 1
- The 5,6,7,8’s - Perform two music numbers - “I walk the line” and “I’m blue”
- 6 Tarantino Movie Trailers - Reservoir dogs, Pulp fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 1 Teaser/ Vol.1 bootleg, Kill Bill Vol. 2 Teaser
Kill Bill is not a film for everyone. For those like Quentin Tarantino’s style of movie making this is a film that epitomizes him at his best. Fans who have been waiting for this epic to find its way to high definition Blu-ray Disc are going to be rewarded with stunning reference quality video and superior high resolution audio that won’t disappoint. I can’t recommend this film to everyone but it is a must own for fans. Highly Recommended.
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