After nearly a month of NetFlix making its daily bread from us without us actually getting around to watching much of anything, I sat down very late one night (after a MrsDarwin who had declared herself un-interested had gone to bed) last week to watch Kill Bill Volume 2.
I'd watched Volume 1 a year and a half ago, and enjoyed it. It was in some ways opposite in its content to Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction is a movie that contains far less explicit blood and gore than you get the impression that it does, but it is quite simply hard to watch. It's a race through some very dark places.
Kill Bill Volume 1, on the other hand, is generally pretty bright and cheerful, though at times the floor is literally awash in blood. Uma Thurman (aka The Bride, aka Beatrix Kiddo) wakes from a five year coma seeking revenge and does so in full samurai/martial arts movie splendor throughout. Classic revenge drama, against an offense sufficiently over-the-top that you have no problem at all sitting back to watch Uma leave a trail of bodies behind her.
Volume 2 quiets down considerably, and indeed (where it not for a 3-5 instances of language and one very icky moment with an eyeball) barely earns it R rating. While Vol 1 is boisterous and fun, the second half has a much more mature feel.Part of the feeling of maturity, I believe, comes from the movie's central conceit of taking a Charlie's-Angels-meets-martial-arts-movie set of genre settings and taking it seriously. We discover that the turning-point moment for Uma Thurman's character was when she discovered that she was pregnant -- and realized that the international assassin scene was not where she wanted to bring up her child. (This comes through an fun girl-assassin on girl-assassin scene, with the pregnancy test being checked at gun point. "Good luck with that. Congratulations." says the other assassin, as they mutually back down.)
It is the Uma Thurman character's motherhood (through the first 3/4 of the two movies she thinks she if avenging, among other things, the murder of her unborn child -- only discovering near the end that Bill has been raising her daughter as his own) that ultimately give the pair of movies a human, indeed almost warm finish. For all that it's her unusual characteristics that make the character the subject of a two volume action movie (assassin, martial arts powerhouse, looking like Uma Thurman) it's the character's most universal trait, her motherhood and fierce desire to protect her daughter (from the world and from her own past) that make the character and the movie likeable.
And what of Bill? Well, he had it coming to him. That's all I'm saying.