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Kill Bill: Vol.1

USA 2003
produced by
Lawrence Bender, Erica Steinberg (executive), E. Bennett Walsh (executive), Harvey Weinstein (executive), Bob Weinstein (executive) for A Band Apart, Super Cool ManChu/Miramax
directed by Quentin Tarantino
starring Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A.Fox, Julie Dreyfus, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sonny Chiba, Gordon Liu Chia-Hui, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Michael Parks, Michael Bowen, Jun Kunimura, Kenji Ohba, Yuki Kazamatsuri, James Parks, Sakichi Sato, Jonathan Loughran, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Tetsuro Shimaguchi, Kazuki Kitamura, Yoji Tanaka, Issei Takahashi, Satoshi Yamanaka, Julie Manase, Akaji Maro, Goro Daimon, Sun Sugata, Zhan Zhang-Jin, Hu Xiaohui, Ambrosia Kelley, The 5, 6, 7, 8's (= Sachiko Fujii, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, Ronnie Yoshiko Fujiyama), Tuan Shu Lan
written by Quentin Tarantino, based on a character created by Quentin Tarantino & Uma Thurman, original music by the RZA, martial arts direction by Yuen Woo-Ping, make-up effects by K.N.B.EFX Group, visual effects by Centro Digital Pictures, animation sequence by Production I.G.

Kill Bill

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A woman, known only as The Bride (Uma Thurman), enters the suburban home of Vernita Green (Viveca A.Fox), beats the living crap out of her and tries to stab her ... but for a normal housewife, Vernita shows remarkable fighting skills. The two of them only stop when Vernita's 4-year-old daughter (Ambrosia Kelley) comes home from kindergarten and agree on a cease-fire, mainly because none of them want the little girl to witness the violence. A short time later though, Vernita tries to shoot the Bride using a gun she has hidden in a cereal box, but the bride is fast enough to duck the bullet and as a reflex place a throwing knife right in Vernita's heart ... too bad though that the little girl was watching the whole scene ...

What made the bride do it though ?

4 years ago, she was pregnant and getting married when Bill (David Carradine) and his gang - Vernita, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and Budd (Michael Madsen) -, a gang the Bride once belonged to as well, attack the service, shooting most of the guests, the groom and even the reverend, and doing their best to kill the Bride as well. However, even though she's badly injured and gets shot in the head, the Bride somehow survives - even if she loses her baby - and once she wakes up from her coma, she's out for revenge ...

First, the Bride travels to Japan, where O-Ren Ishii (whose origin is told as an anime-style cartoon) has since become the all-powerful boss of the underworld. To kill her in style, the Bride visits lgendary armorer Hanzo Hattori (Sonny Chiba) to make her the best samurai sword there is.

Then the Bride attacks O-Ren Ishii in her nightclub, takes out pretty much her entire gang - who for some reason don't use firearms - and even her mad personal bodyguard in a schoolgirl uniform (Chbiaka Kuriyama), then she and O-Ren Ishii face each other in a final showdown in the snow - where the Bride is finally able to kill her.

Of all of O-Ren Ishii's personnel, the bride has only left her lawyer (Julie Dreyfus) alive, to a) qestion her about the wehreabouts of Bill's gang and b) to let Bill know she's back, and she's coming after him. What the Bride doesn't know though is that Bill has her daughter she thinks she has lost in his power ... but this is a story for another day, and is told in Kill Bill Vol.2.


Truth to be told, Kill Bill: Vol.1 is not as witty and intelligent as Quentin Tarantino's previous three feature films, basically this film is a post-modern action film that pays loving hommage to the Asian and especially Japanese action cinema, both contemporary and from the 1960's and 70's. Every lover of Japanese genre cinema will of course notice the (intended) references to the works of Kinji Fukasaku, Teruo Ishii, Takashi Miike and Seijun Suzuki, to the Lady Snowblood-films, to Sex and Fury, to Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs, and to many more similar films. But despite being highly derivative, the film actually works, thanks to a careful direction, a loving approach to its sources, a great retro-soundtrack that includes vintage Japanese pop-music as well as tunes by Ennio Morricone, Riz Ortolani and even James Last used to full effect, brilliant action choreography (thanks to veteran choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping), and thanks to a certain, non-insulting tongue-in-cheek attitude to the genre as such that keeps the film from becoming ridiculous and becoming just another genre entry.

In all, Kill Bill: Vol.1 is probably no masterpiece and is not the film Quentin Tarantino will best be remembered for in the years to come - but it's totally enjoyable and great fun to watch nevertheless.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD