Few people on the planet share Quentin Tarantino’s undying passion for film. His projects are love letters to movies that inspire him and he often uses his name to bring attention to films and genres that are not well known by the masses. With help of muse Uma Thurman, Tarantino created The Bride, an assassin who almost loses her life when she tries to chose family over a life of murder and must destroy her former team and defeat the man who taught her how to kill in order to find her daughter. It marries kick ass action scenes, humor, and strong character as only Tarantino can.
After surviving a beating that should have been fatal and a bullet wound to the head, a former assassin known as The Bride or Black Mamba (Uma Thruman) tracks down and kills her former crew (the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) one by one, before setting her sights on her old mentor and lover, Bill (David Carradine). Her quests spans two films and features a series of memorable fight scenes and vignettes showing the various crew members’ origins. While the violence is at time gory, the films still have a lot of humor and pop sensibility, which has come to be expected from Tarantino.
I think what makes this story so strong is it’s a completely justifiable killing spree. When The Bride wakes up from her years long coma and realizes that she is no longer pregnant, her reaction is heartbreaking. Knowing Bill, she assumes her baby was killed. The audience doesn’t learn otherwise until the end of Volume 1. It would be hard not to emphasize with the pain of a mother who has lost her child and the rage she feels towards those responsible. The Bride’s mission is a completely identifiable, if hyperbolic, way of showing what one mother will do to avenge her child.
While Tarantino is known for violence, I find him to be one of our more feminist directors. While his directorial debut lacked a single female character, his more recent work, Kill Bill in particular, feature strong woman not only kicking ass but for admirable reasons. These women are also allowed to keep their femininity and have a sense of humor, attributes often missing from tough female characters. Writers can bring their vision of a perfect world to life, and I think Tarantino would love to live in a world where women are as sassy as The Bride.
Originally intended to be one film, I think it possibly would have been stronger if it had stayed this way. Volume Two is a little on the slower side (after a jammed pack Volume One) and the constraints of one film could have led some of the less necessary portions to be scaled back or cut entirely. However, the films show how much Tarantino has matured as a storyteller while still retaining his voice. He’s definitely a filmmaker who keeps things interesting, even when you’re not entirely into what he’s currently obsessed with.