'Kill Bill Vol. 1' (2003) Review

by Brett Shupe 8 months ago in movie

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 3 Out of 5 Stars

'Kill Bill Vol. 1' (2003) Review

Before you write to me angrily saying I gave this film way too low of a score, just let me explain my reasoning for the score. Quentin Tarantino is considered a masterful director and one of the best of our time. When I sat down to watch this film I had already heard loads of people praise this movie for its action scenes and linear storytelling. When I finished this movie, if I'm being honest, I was genuinely disappointed in what I watched. Yes, it was well done, the filming was extremely well done with a great assortment of shots and transitions that as a film student who has studied shot composition and filming techniques, his filming seemed quite impressive. But my big problem with this film is not the filming, it's not the actors, it's everything he did in the post/editing phase of the film.

Tarantino was obviously going for a stylistic feel for this film but in my opinion, there is a difference between stylistic and just completely random. For example the fight scene at the end that I've heard so much about, and everyone praises and says it's one of the greatest fight scenes in film history was just ruined for me because the film for no reason at all changed the screen to black and white while she fought the giant group of people. I completely understood it for the scenes that were flashbacks, like the scene with Bill shooting her in the head, but this was completely unnecessary in my opinion, in fact, it took away from the fight to make it less awesome to me. The scene was masterfully filmed and choreographed but it was extremely distracting that the screen just went black and white for no reason!

I'm sure there is a reason behind Tarantino doing this and he's explained it later but that's what's wrong with that kind of decision. If you make a decision like that that is confusing, it should have some plot relevance or at least be explained in the film. If I'm confused about a lot of things in the movie but not in a good way, then it isn't a well-written movie, simple as that. There are movies that do that in the industry but it's on purpose to make the viewer think. This was nothing close to that! It was extremely confusing and I still don't have any explanation for why he did it that I can think of. It wasn't just the random black in white scenes that bothered me though, there were the random post effects in the movie that were extremely unnecessary and it also seemed like the film couldn't pick a song and stick with it. I was watching the film with subtitles on and it would tell me whenever they changed the song in certain scenes, for some of them they let the song play for like 20 seconds then switch it to another one especially in the fight scenes. A perfect example is a song: "Nobody but Me" by the Human Beinz which is a really good song and they started playing it in the final fight scene and I was really getting into it because of that song, then it just changed and threw me as the viewer completely off.

Don't get me wrong, this is NOT a bad film by any means, the film has some very good parts in it, my personal favorite was actually the animated sequence with the backstory of O-Ren Ishii. It was extremely well animated in an anime type style and was very compelling, it made me feel for the girl extremely, not many films accomplish that from me nowadays and no, it's not because I'm a soulless monster. It's because a lot of films skip parts like this, the parts that make you somewhat care for the characters, I'm not saying I cared for the characters extremely in the movie but this scene obviously was there to strike a nerve in the viewer about the main antagonist of the film, and before you come screaming to me: NO! BILL IS THE MAIN ANTAGONIST! I'm gonna say even though this movie is literally named KILL BILL, the main antagonist is not Bill in this film. Bill might be the higher up bad guy in this film but he's barely in it and there is no scene where Uma Thurman's character interacts with him on a face to face standpoint besides in flashbacks. The real antagonist of the story, in my opinion, is O-Ren Ishii. She's in the movie for basically over half of it and the movie literally ends after Uma Thurman's character, The Bride, kills her. I honestly enjoyed Lucy Liu's performance in this movie as O-Ren Ishii, I couldn't help to laugh at the scene were she cuts of the dudes head without hesitation and then becomes all sweet afterward to the remaining people in the room, she gave me a sweet but extremely sinister feel.

One thing people have found out about the film was that Tarantino had based a lot of it on the 1973 Japanese film Lady Snowblood from director Toshiya Fujita. Which after watching the film for about 30 minutes, I realized that the film had huge Japanese influences from movies from their culture, but also seemed to have a western feel at parts which surprisingly mixed well.


  • Shot composition/filming techniques are very good.
  • Great cast (especially Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu).
  • Animated sequence in the film was extremely well animated and compelling.
  • A great soundtrack even though songs were not played for long.
  • The fight scenes' choreography.
  • Some of the Japanese influences were cool.


  • Extremely random and inconsistent with the films story visual effects (black and white).
  • Unnecessary audio effects.
  • Song changes in scenes extremely frequently which kills the mood of the scene.
  • At times, the story is too linear for me to care about the characters.
  • Sometimes the Japanese influences were confusing.
  • The film was extremely overhyped for me before I watched it.


Brett Shupe
Brett Shupe
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Brett Shupe

Movie buff , Gamer, TV series enthusiast and all around lover of animation 

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