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'Kill Bill: Vol. 1,' a bloody good time

October 22, 2003

Josh Kleinbaum is the city hall reporter for the News-Press, the

Leader's sister publication.

There's black-and-white blood, color blood and cartoon blood.

Blood spills, squirts, pours and, in one perverse scene, even sprays

from a freshly decapitated body like a fountain in a European plaza.

No, Quentin Tarantino did not hold back on the gore in his new

movie, "Kill Bill, Vol. 1," which somehow managed to eclipse his

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debut, "Reservoir Dogs," by using approximately 15,478 gallons of

fake blood.

But once you get past the gore, Tarantino delivers his usual

knockout combination -- innovative directing and interesting

dialogue, two key components most writers and directors overlook

these days.

Tarantino's ambition drove the movie. He made bold decisions

throughout, using both color and black-and-white, filming much of the

movie in Japanese with English subtitles, and using a long

Japanese-style animation for one flashback.

The plot is simple -- Uma Thurman, a one-time assassin, wakes up

from four years in a coma and is out for revenge, hunting down the

people who tried to kill her.

But Tarantino takes the simple plot and riddles it with question

marks. He gives little back story, showing how Thurman was put in a

coma but never explaining why. Thurman's character is known simply as

The Bride -- the failed assassination took place on her wedding day.

Every time her name is mentioned, Tarantino chose to bleep it out.

Why is not clear, but only Tarantino would make a decision like that.

Maybe some of those questions will be answered in Vol. 2, the

second half of the movie, which is scheduled for release in February.

"Kill Bill: Vol. 1" leaves its audience with plenty of questions

and, in all likelihood, a queasy stomach or two. The legacy of this

movie will be determined by the direction Tarantino takes in the

second volume.

But without a doubt, Tarantino proves to be the most innovative of

today's directors.

* "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" is rated R for pervasive strong bloody

violence, language and some sexual content.

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