It has been almost 9 year since the first volume of Tarantino's love letter to 1970s Japanese Cinema was released. In the years proceeding the release of the second volume Tarantino has often spoken of his vision for The Bride's story to be told in one long film. Fans eagerly anticipated this director's cut version, but they have been disappointed and teased with placeholders on IMDB and Amazon.com.
(INSPIRATION: Lady Snowblood (1973) Sex and Fury (1973))
In 2004 something close to this vision was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, but nothing for the American public. In February of 2010 Tarantino bought The New Beverly Cinema, but allowed the previous owners to continue running it and just wanted to offer programming suggestions from time to time. To celebrate his birthday this year Tarantino programmed the entire March calendar and decided to include the print that was shown at Cannes all those years ago (mildly distracting french subtitles and all).
I arrived at the New Bev at around 5:30 and was already 20 odd people down the line. I didn't leave the quaint Jewish neighborhood that the theater resides in until well after midnight. This cut of the film is a serious endurance trial, but worth it! I imagine the experience must have been similar to my father seeing The Ten Commandments in theaters (all 220 minutes of it), there was even an intermission thrown in.
What were the differences? Here are some that stand out:
- The quote at the beginning is no longer a Klingon proverb but a dedication to Kinji Fukasaku (who I know as the director of Battle Royale).
- The O-Ren Ishii anime sequence has a bit more footage of the pedo-boss being cut open and displaying his gizzard but the much rumored additional 20 minutes of anime was not in this cut.
- Some dipshit in the audience made an awful big deal about the scene where Uma Thurman gets her piggies wiggling after climbing into the Pussy Wagon. No one was impressed pal.
- The hurlyburly in The Hose of Blue Leaves is in full beautiful color with all the red red kroovy you could hope for. The blinking to change from B&W to color is gone. A few additional (and bloody) de-limbings are added and the kid who The Bride spanks for "fucking around with Yakuza" makes another appearance. This scene comes before the power is shut off and Uma Thurman's character dispatches a handful of 88s and then stops short of lopping the kids head off and chucks him into another pile of 88s instead.
- The scene with Sophie in the trunk is much longer and includes the onscreen removal of her other arm. "Gimme your arm!" The Bride snarls, and then lops it cleanly off with her Hanzo Steel.
- The biggest difference which makes the whole movie take on a completely different tone is that Bill doesn't drop the bomb at the end asking if The Bride knows her daughter is alive. In the original version that was the cliffhanger to keep audiences waiting in between the two volumes.
- Intermission with music from the showdown with O-Ren.
- The fluff in the beginning of the theatrical Vol 2 has all been removed, and instead after the intermission we get right back to business with the Massacre at Two Pines.
I love shitty Kung Fu movies. I love Lone Wolf and Cub. I love ultra violent Japanese flicks from the 70s with an awful lot of nudity and more simulated sex than Cinemax at around 10pm. Tarantino took all of the aspects that made these films so incredible and made a beautiful and respectful homage to all that came before him. I tip my hat to you god sir, and I eagerly await the day when Kill Bill will be seen in all its glory. Let's just hope this doesn't turn into another The Thief and The Cobbler fiasco!
PS: Have you guys entered the dumb contest we have? Its not too late. See previous blarg.