By Vic Holtreman
Short version: Sure, it's gory, but if you're old enough to be a fan of 70's kung fu movies you'll revel in this tribute.
Quentin Tarantino may be a weird, obnoxious person, but I have to say this: The man is genius when it comes to film.
A lot of people complained when the decision was made to split the original single film into two separate films. Financially, this was brilliant, instantly doubling the box office take. After seeing both movies, it made sense on a cinematic level as well.
The two films complement each other and balance each other out. Yin and Yang, Tarantino might say. The first film had a frenzied pace... made you feel like you were on some wild rollercoaster ride, while the second film is slower, replacing the frenzy with tension.
I've decided that I'm a fan of non-linear films. Opening the first film with the wedding massacre and then flashing back much later on to what led up to it felt great. It was kind of agonizing to watch Uma and David Carradine in their molasses-slow dialog, knowing what was to come.
And as long as I'm mentioning David Carradine... Wow! What a performance from the man. Who knew? I was riveted watching him onscreen... I felt like the snake being hypnotized by the snake charmer.
Another great aspect was that I had absolutely no idea where this film was headed, and I was constantly surprised by what was happening on-screen. I don't want to spoil much, but one sequence where Uma gets into trouble and must get out of it was fascinating in the way it was handled... similar to the way the wedding sequence was done.
The action was excellent, with just a bit of wire-fu (which I am beginning to tired of). I loved the nods given to those 1970's kung fu flicks. Actually they were more than nods, more like demonstrations of unabashed love for the genre. Being old enough to have seen those originally on the big screen, I had a hard time wiping the grin off my face when those moments took place in the film. :-)
If you're not into violent action films, you probably won't like it, but if you can get past that, this film is truly a wonder to behold!