Kill Bill: Volume 1

Rated 3.0

Quentin Tarantino’s first film, Reservoir Dogs, was parts crime story, parts blood bath. His much-anticipated fourth film after a six-year hiatus, an in-your-face homage to comic book violence and Hong Kong action pictures, is parts revenge story, parts sputtering blood geysers. An entire small nuptials party is massacred and the pregnant bride (Uma Thurman) beaten and shot in the head. The betrothed former assassin miraculously survives and four years later proceeds to hunt down and kill the human monsters responsible for the wedding-day carnage. The crisp and clever dialogue, characterizations and plot twists that made Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown so fascinating are nowhere in play here. Tarantino instead relies on delirious, high-octane, imaginative camera work; an anime sequence; and an exhilarating musical soundtrack to punch up a story that loses its intoxicating magnetism well before the final credits roll and only faintly tweaks one’s curiosity about what will take place in Volume 2.