Is Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill one movie or two? Kill Bill is a unique entry in Tarantino's body of work in that it's the only one of his films to have one story told two parts. Segmented storytelling is nothing new in Tarantino's world - films like Pulp Fiction had been broken into chapters - but Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 throw a curveball into the mix, making room for discussion about how these films should be treated.
Both Kill Bills essentially tell one cohesive story: The Bride (Uma Thurman) is one of a team of female assassins, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, all of whom work for Bill (David Carradine). When The Bride tells Bill she is pregnant with his child, he orders the squad to kill her. They fail to do so and when The Bride wakes up from a coma, she goes on a mission to find Bill and her daughter, taking out every one of her former associates along the way.
The path of revenge is a long one for The Bride that plays out through Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. So, the question remains: does the fact that Kill Bill is a singular story make it one film? Or is it two separate films because it's broken up that way, affecting how the larger story plays out?
The Case For Kill Bill As One Movie
The case for Kill Bill being considered one film is fairly straightforward. It was conceived as one cohesive story and Tarantino shot it that way. It's not as if Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are so drastically different in tone, style, casting, or plot to make them entirely different stories. The story never strays too far from the original path for it to feel like a deviation worthy of it being broken up. Each part simply focuses on a different chapter of The Bride's quest for vengeance; together they form one clear picture.
The Case For Kill Bill As Two Movies
On the other hand, the case for Kill Bill being considered two films has roots in why it was broken up in the first place. When Kill Bill was in the final stages of production, producer Harvey Weinstein wanted to cut out a number of extended action sequences for the sake of time. Tarantino, resolute in the position every sequence he wanted to be included should remain, compromised with Weinstein to split the film in two. In doing so, The Bride's journey feels like two separate stories. Kill Bill Vol. 1's focus on The Bride solely going after O-Ren Ishii in Japan ends with her accomplishing that mission, having worked her way back to fighting shape after being in a coma. Kill Bill Vol. 2 also feels like a complete film in how it tracks The Bride killing her other associates, looking for Bill, and including flashbacks to her training with Pai Mei.
The Verdict: Kill Bill Is Two Movies
All things considered, it feels more correct to consider Kill Bill as two movies. Even though it was conceived as a single story and shot as a singular film, it's the end result which should be really be assessed here. Both parts function as complete stories could theoretically stand on their own if shown separately. Regardless of the reasons they were split up during production and Tarantino's original vision, the fact remains: Kill Bill is two movies.
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