Kill Bill: Volume 2 (Blu-ray) (2004)

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Released 1-Sep-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Making Of-(26:03)
More…-Chingon Performance From Kill Bill Vol. 2 Premiere
Deleted Scenes-x 1
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 136:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Quentin Tarantino
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Uma Thurman
David Carradine
Michael Madsen
Daryl Hannah
Chia Hui Liu
Michael Parks
Perla Haney-Jardine
Christopher Allen Nelson
Bo Svenson
Jeannie Epper
Claire Smithies
Clark Middleton
Larry Bishop
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music RZA
Robert Rodriguez


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 44.1/16 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian dts 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish dts 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
German dts 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
Spanish
German
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“Revenge is never a straight line”

     The Bride, aka Black Mamba (Uma Thurman), has returned from the carnage in Japan and is on the trail of the remaining members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad including Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and Bill’s brother Bud (Michael Madsen). She works her way up the Deadly Viper chain towards a final confrontation with Bill (David Carradine), but not before an unforseen complication arises.

     In true Tarantino style Kill Bill Vol.2 is not told sequentially but jumps around and includes The Bride’s training in martial arts under Chinese master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu). Where Vol.1 was Tarantino's homage to the kung fu and chambara films of the 60s, 70s and 80s, Vol.2 is very different in tone and harder to categorise; it has more back story, is more reflective and slower moving, part horror, part thriller, part mystery and part action. Indeed, the action is more Leone than kung fu, with slow build-ups to short, ferocious and intense explosions of action, such as the fight between The Bride and Elle Driver within the confines of a mobile home. In Vol.2, however, Tarantino does take the opportunity to deliver a purely Shaw Bros sequence in the martial arts training of The Bride by Pai Mei, who is played by the great Shaw Bros actor Gordon Liu (Liu Chai Hui), perhaps best known for his iconic role in the 1978 kung fu classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Liu also appeared in Vol.1 as Johnny Mo, but was hidden under a mask). In Vol.2 there are more silences, more talk, and some of the more usual Tarantino pop culture dialogue that was absent in Vol.1 (this time about comic book superheroes).

     Another major difference in Kill Bill Vol.2 is the music. In Vol.1 The RZA provided the original music plus an exotic mix of popular songs from the likes of Nancy Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Isaac Hayes, Japanese all girl group 5, 6, 7, 8’s, Mexican horns and Ennio Morricone. In contrast, the score for Vol.2 is provided by Tarantino’s friend and fellow director Robert Rodriguez. It is far more cogent, a fusion of Mexican horns and guitars, not unlike Desperado but with added spaghetti western influences. There also remains some of The RZA’s original score plus some Shaw Brothers film music in the Chinese training segment. While the music works fine, to my mind it does not reach the impressive heights of the blending of popular music and score in Vol.1. Indeed, the one place in Vol.2 that does revert to popular music, using About Her by Malcolm McLaren which itself samples The Zombies’ She’s Not There, it is wonderfully atmospheric and effective.

     One advantage of the slower, more intense pace of Kill Bill Vol.2 is that the character and back story of The Bride is able to be developed; Uma Thurman gives a wonderfully vulnerable performance and is not afraid to get down and dirty. David Carradine is also good as the enigmatic Bill although it is Michael Madsen who impresses. His Bud is laid back and rational, a man whose understanding of the consequences of their actions makes him marginally the most sympathetic character in the film – which is a difficult act to pull off, given what he does to The Bride! .

     Kill Bill Vol.2 is more intense, more philosophical than Vol.1 but can still disorientate and distress, such as the scene (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) where The Bride is buried alive. Kill Bill Vol. 2 looks spectacular, features some intense one on one action sequences and some delicious Tarantino dialogue. And of course The Bride finally gets to try to “Kill Bill”.

     The DVD of Kill Bill Vol. 2 was reviewed on this site here. There are no new extras on the Blu-ray but the film does look and sound glorious in the HD format. For the price the Blu-ray can be found, I’d upgrade. If you don’t have Kill Bill Vol.2 the Blu-ray is the way to go.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Kill Bill Vol.1 is presented in a ratio of 2.40:1, close to the original ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p. It looks wonderful.

     This is a film where the colours of the Texas desert are vibrant without being garish and positively leap off the screen. There are exceptions – in the training sequence, the colours are deliberately muted, it is less sharp and the brightness is at a higher level, reminiscent of a 70s Shaw Bros film. Otherwise the print is sharp, detail superb, skin tones natural, contrast and brightness consistent. Blacks are absolutely solid, showing to good effect in the black and white sequences, shadow detail excellent. I did not notice artefacts of any kind.

     Subtitles are available in English, English HI, Italian, Spanish and German. The English subtitles were in a smallish white font that is occasionally difficult to read against light backgrounds. Unlike Vol.1, where the subtitles do not come on automatically when non-English dialogue is spoken if you select “no subtitles” from the set up menu, in Vol.2 when other languages are spoken (in this case Chinese and Spanish) the non-English dialogue is automatically translated in smallish yellow subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio choices are English Uncompressed PCM 5.1 or Dolby Digital 5.1, plus Italian, Spanish and German DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English uncompressed track and sampled the Dolby Digital.

     Dialogue, except where Michael Parks is playing an aged Mexican and was a bit indistinct, was clean, centred and easy to understand. The surrounds were fully utilised for effects and music. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) In the sequence when The Bride is buried alive, the screen goes black and we hear the chilling sound of the dirt crashing on top of the coffin that fills the room with sound. Sub woofer usage was not overdone but provided effective support when needed.

    The Dolby Digital was reasonable but lacks the sharpness and resonance of the uncompressed audio track.

     The original score by Robert Rodriguez is based upon Mexican horns and guitars plus spaghetti western riffs and provides effective support for the visuals. The added song About Her by Malcolm McLaren which itself samples The Zombies’ She’s Not There is wonderfully effective.

     Lip Synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     All extras are SD and are repeated from the previous DVD release.

The Making of Kill Bill Vol.2 (26:03)

     Made in 2004, this covers the differences between Vol.1 and Vol.2, the back-story, character development and music. There are a lot more film clips than was the case in the making of volume 1, some behind the scenes footage, plus interview footage with Quentin Tarantino, producer Lawrence Bender, composer Robert Rodriguez and actors Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah.

”Damoe” Deleted Scene (3:38)

     A scene where Bill dispatches five assailants while The Bride watches. Looks a lot like another homage to Shaw Bros, with more muted colours and Shaw Bros music. Probably rightly cut.

”Chingon" Musical Performance (11:34)

     A musical performance featuring Robert Rodriguez and Chingon playing at the Kill Bill Vol. 2 premiere. Good entertainment.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This Blu-ray is identical to the US Region 0 Blu-ray except for language and subtitle options. We still, however, have none of the extras that were available on the Japanese DVD – see the review link above for details.

Summary

     Kill Bill Vol.2 is very different in tone to Vol.1. Vol.2 is less frenetic, more reflective and complex. It looks spectacular, features some intense one on one action sequences and Tarantino comes up with some delicious dialogue. And of course The Bride finally gets to try to “Kill Bill”.

     The video and audio are wonderful. There are no new extras on the Blu-ray but the film does look and sound glorious in the HD format. For the price the Blu-ray can be found, I’d upgrade. If you don’t have Kill Bill Vol.2 the Blu-ray is the way to go.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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