The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Miramax - 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 137 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, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Gordon Liu, Michael Parks
Written & Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Music by: The RZA Robert Rodriguez
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 9, 2008
"Revenge is a dish best served cold"
With this thrilling, must-see movie event, writer and director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) completes the action-packed quest for revenge begun by The Bride (Uma Thurman) in Kill Bill Vol. 1! Having already crossed two names from her Death List, The Bride is back with a vengeance and taking aim at Budd (Michael Madsen) and Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), the only survivors from the squad of assassins who betrayed her four years earlier. It all leads up to the ultimate confrontation with Bill (David Carradine), The Bride's former master and the man who ordered her execution!
I have only seen Kill Bill one time which was 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. In Volume 1 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. In this follow up to the first installment we find out why. Details are revealed about The Bride’s past including how she wound up in the situation that opens the story. Elle and Budd are dealt with and she subsequently comes face to face with Bill. There is background on her training which is shown as a flashback sequence. Last but not least is the revelation that her daughter is in fact alive and has been living with Bill.
As over the top as the extended fight sequence at the House of Blue Leaves restaurant was (in terms of reality) in Vol. 1, the sequence here where she is buried alive and the events that follow (I don’t want to give it away) make that look trivial. This film spends quite a bit of time on flashbacks that offer details on either what has occurred or what is about to. There were times where it felt necessary and others where it didn’t. The training flashback segment with Pai Mei is well worth it though. Gordon Liu is great in the part. I thought Daryl Hannah was so good as Elle and the whole sequence beginning with her arrival at Budds Trailer through her confrontation with The Bride is great stuff. For me this didn’t have the same flow as Volume 1 and seemed a bit longer than it needed to be. After watching Volume One & Two again I found that I still am still partial to Volume One. Regardless, Volume Two was still lots of fun and it brought things together quite well in the end.
The rating is for strong bloody violence, and language. 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. 2 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Miramax/Disney featuring AVC 1080p encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless uncompressed PCM 5.1 channel audio that has a constant bitrate of 6.9 mbps.
The video presentation had attributes that were very similar to those of Volume 1. Here are some of my comments from that review:
” 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. Blacks were not inky but they had good depth and dynamic range. Detail in dark and shadowy areas of the picture were 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.”
While Kill Bill is one long film that has been divided into two parts however its two parts do have some visual style differences. Heavier grain was used during the black and white sequence filmed at the chapel in the film’s opening which gave it a grittier texture. It was also used with the same effect during the Pai Mei flashback training sequence. Colors were intentionally muted during that segment which gave it a softer and less appealing aesthetic. A couple of the shots that were filmed at night were not as crisp and detailed which made them appear softer. An example of this was the flashback where Bill relates the tale of Pai Mei to The Bride as they sit around a camp fire. The dark sky in the background had a grainy texture that made it appear noisy. These are minor complaints that when measured against this presentation as a whole didn’t detract from its otherwise excellent video quality.
The lossless uncompressed audio presentation had attributes that were identical to those from Volume 1. Here are my comments from that review:
” 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 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 it was to generate the feeling of being in the open air of the desert or confined to inside of a pine box casket 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 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”.
I was blown away by the sounds that encircled the room and slowly closed in during the scene when The Bride is being buried alive. The pounding of the nails, the sounds of dirt landing on the exterior of the casket and spilling off of the sides and finally the trailing of voices from above were incredibly realistic. That scene alone makes this soundtrack worth having.
The bonus supplements are below average in content and consists of a 26 minute making of documentary, which is seems to be a continuation of the retrospective featurette from Volume 1, a deleted fight sequence scene, and a live musical performance that was shot during the Volume 2 premiere.
- Making of Kill Bill Vol. 2
- ”Damoe” deleted fight sequence where Bill takes on a gang in the street while “B” looks on
- ”Chingon” – Live musical performance featuring Robert Rodriguez
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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