Sunday, February 13, 2005

Kill Bill

I finally saw Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2. For the longest time I had no interest in seeing the movies at all. The reviewer for the NCCB rated it O, Morally Offensive, and while I've often enjoyed movies rated O, I am one of those who gets irritated at Quentin Tarantino at the drop of a hat. I thought that it was quite a squandering of talent to make a movie whose theme was revenge and whose title says it all.

But I have to admit, I enjoyed both volumes very much. Tarantino is a darned good moviemaker, he makes movies like George Lucas used to make. This was pulp fiction at its best, better than his own Pulp Fiction. Uma Thurman was amazingly assured and athletic as the samurai assassin turned blood-splattered Bride. My son Ish tells me that an authentic samurai sword like the one the Sonny Chiba character made her would cost $100,000 or more, and that they are banned in Japan in an attempt to eliminate samurai once and for all.

Every time the Bride took on one of her fellow female viper assassins, I wanted to yell out "cat fight" like in that Seinfeld episode. But as with the fights between Buffy and Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I too like the spectacle of women fighting.

I can't find anything sacred in it but I can't find anything profane either. What is it about fake violence that is attractive? Real violence is horrible, and I hate realistic violence in movies. But comic book violence - oh yeah, I love it.

1 comment:

Rae said...

Entertainment Weekly has a piece about an academic book titled Savage Pastimes that argues that entertainment has always been gory. He cites an 1895 short film by Thomas Edison titled The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots with a violent beheading, and talks about murder ballads from Victorian times.

That reminds me that ballads are my favorite form of music and the ballads I like best are those about love and death. I also remember that when I first got my library card years ago I discovered the world of fairy tale books with bloody illustrations, and for awhile that's all I read. I still have a memory of a severed head with hair streaming behind it floating down the river, illustrating some fairy tale of murder and revenge.

When my kids were younger, I put Ish and Em in a newly formed orthodox Catholic school that a vibrant woman with an alternative CCD I had my kids in started. I was tired of the " butterflies and flowers" approach to religious education and wanted my kids to learn solid Catholic teaching. My first doubts about this school emerged though when she gave the kids an assignment to create a little book about a bible story, with an illustrated cover. Ish picked the story of David and Goliath -- always a winner with kids -- and illustrated it with cover art showing little David holding up the bloody head of Goliath. I thought it was excellent, just the kind of thing I would have done (the falling apple, you know, and the tree...) but Ish was reprimanded. He had to do the assignment over again, because his cover was too violent.

I hope to be hosting a panel discussion on "Sex, Violence and the Christian Speculative Fiction Writer" at the upcoming Consecration I in Chicago. I would bring up Kill Bill but you can't call Quentin Tarantino a Christian SF writer. That's why I wanted to bring Mark Rogers with me for the panel. He doesn't want to come, though, so oh well.