Angry Robot

Kill Kill Bill

Tarantino’s Latest, “Kill Bill,” Split Into Two Films, a.k.a. Tarantino’s Bloated Mess to Cost Twice as Much as a Normal Film: man am I just dying to give this film a bad review, and of course the world turns on my every opinion, but c’mon: three hours? Twice the cost? Because T-dog couldn’t be bothered to cut down his screenplay and then ran the budget up to $55-million? Three hours for a kung fu film? Is he just trying to stick it to Ang Lee, or what? Is there an international conspiracy to inflate running times? Proposal: if your film involves kung fu, zombies, or Steven Spielberg, its running time can exceed 87 minutes if and only if you submit a detailed written explanation for the overrun.

18 comments on "Kill Kill Bill"

  1. LES says:

    Wad up, yo??? Don’t be dissin’ QT. He wrote the book on fiscal responsibility. He made Jackie Brown for 12 fucking million!! Think about it. You’re the guy who made Pulp Fiction. It costs 8 million to make. I think it earned somewhere around 130 million domestic in it’s original theatrical release. Any studio would basically give you unlimited funds to do whatever the fuck you want. And you choose to do a 12 million dollar movie. A very, very good 12 million dollar movie. And you retain all artistic control. And it turns a beautiful profit.

    The trailer for Kill Bill is fucking awesome. I’m sure the film will be fantastic. I’m sure it will make well over 55 million, which by the way is not that much for a mainstream Hollywood action movie. Furthermore, I love the idea of releasing the film in two parts. I think it’s original and I also think they’re going to make way more money that way.

    You can say what you look about Tarantino’s style, taste, whatever…but he’s a model for all when it comes to the business of making good films and maintaining artistic control. Name any New School American director that even comes close to his business savvy, not to mention the fact that he is undoubtedly one of the most influential and talented filmmakers ever.

  2. D says:

    Did I say anything about any of that? My issue is a) the length and b) the decision to split it into two movies (which is Harvey’s call, not QT’s).

    a) Three fucking hours – that’s in general an insult to the human bladder, but exceptions can be made for epics, I guess. For some reason I don’t mind the length of the Lord of the Rings films, or say 2001, but does every fucking movie these days really have to be over 2 hours long? It’s become de rigeur to say “it was good, but a little long” for movies you liked. I liked Hulk and 28 Days Later, but…. 137 minutes for a comic book and 112 for a zombie flick? And neither of those even comes close to 180 minutes for a kung fu flick. We’ve talked about this… Of all the 70s kung fu flicks I’ve watched for work, and of all the 90s/00s ones I’ve seen recreationally, I can’t think of one that reaches the 2 hour mark other than Crouching Tiger (hence my Ang Lee mention). Iron Monkey is 87 minutes – most of them don’t clear 90 minutes.

    b) split into two: I wouldn’t mind if the goal had always been Kill Bill 1 and then Kill Bill Again. Fine. But arbitrarily splitting a long film into two parts? I wonder if Harvey’s Disney overlords had a hand to play, since in the 80s they had a mantra of no movie over 2 hours long… distributors hate 3-hour movies (for a simple reason: you can show a 90-minute film twice as often in a day for the same cost). I understand why they want to, but I fear the slippery slope… am I going to have to pay twice for all my favourite movies now? How about this: when are they going to release Kill Bill 2? It’s only logical that they bring back Kill Bill 1 so they can run a double bill – but then they’re just showing the movie as it was supposed to be, except charging you fucking twice! Greedy fucks.

    c) I’ve got no issue with QT creatively – obviously. And, despite my hopes for a crapulent trainwreck of a film, odds are I’ll like it anyway since in my books he’s got a perfect record. But let me bitch, yo! Especially about the budget: of course that’s not a ton for a US mainstream film, the only reason why I mention it is that I heard he’s over on it (originally budgeted at $39-mil according to this MTV article). And that probably drives Harvey crazy and gives him another reason to want to split it up.

    d) Could be this whole thing is just Harvey hardball. Maybe he wants QT to cut it down but since he gave him final cut, this is his way of negotiating – “trim half an hour or I’ll charge people twice as much to see your movie.”

  3. LES says:

    Yo. I may have been overly defensive about Q.T. Arantino. I know you love his work too. My feeling, however, is that if QT wrote a 200 page script it’s because he felt the story warranted it. You can’t really compare Kill Bill as Kung-Fu film to other because it’s more accurately Tarantino’s version of a Kung Fu film. And to be frank, without having seen the film, I’m sure it’ll be far superior to 95% of Kung Fu films made to date. I’m confident it will be far superior to ‘Catch Me If Steven Can’, ’28 DVCam/Britpop-music Videos Later’ and Mr.Ang Lee’s work. Of course I might be digging myself into an embarrassing hole right now, but I feel that strongly about Q.T. Arantino’s talents.

    On a final note, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a 3 hour film, it’s just that most of them don’t warrant their length and are not able to sustain enough entertainment value that one is able to ignore to stinging sensation from one’s bladder. For all we know Kill Bill could be the most exciting 3 hours filmed in 20 years and will be unfairly split into two 90 minute segments.

    Thanking you.

  4. D says:

    Maybe you’ve hit it there – if it works as a 3-hour movie, it shouldn’t be split in two.

    My views on running time are agonizingly inconsistent. To argue, as I have, that horror and action demand shorter running times than, say, historical drama, is to argue that genre distinctions are value judgments, if not to argue that kung fu films are inferior – because of their genre. Most definitely I do not believe that. Genres are categorization aids, not measures of quality. If it works as a three hour film, then good for it. However, most three-hour films would be good two-hour films, but as three-hour films they are draggy and tired. I guess as a director you’re setting yourself up for extra criticism – no-one complains that your 87-minute film (I swear this is a magic number) is too long. And there’s an air of self-importance about a long running time.

    I’m sure it’ll be far superior to 95% of Kung Fu films made to date.

    Yes, but so is Wing Chun. And frankly, I admire your confidence, knowing how few kung fu films you’ve watched! In the end the comparison to Crouch-Tiger will be inevitable, but probably non-informative, as I’m sure they’ll be very different beasts. I’m just worried QT’s will be the fat, lazy beast.

    Then again, he has Yuen Woo-Ping on fights, and RZA on the decks, so we can expect quality supporting art – although shithead lawyer-wannabe Lars Ulrich is also reported to be doing music (see MTV link). I can’t even visualize how he and RZA will work together… but now I’m seeing Ghostface biting down on Lars’ skull with his hip-hop teef…

  5. ÿ says:

    I don’t have a problem with a 3 hour film if it’s done by someone who knows what they’re doing. I do have a problem paying to be left with a ‘To be Continued’ credit. I love open-ended movies, but ‘Now Wait Around a Year’ is like “Hey, anyone want to buy the first half of my novel? It’s finished, I just make more money this way!” And it bugs me that I have no option on this. Do you know how many times we heard the Royal With Cheese-thing in our lives? You have to see that shit when it comes out or it’s ruined. And I have to see the second for the same reason. And I’m not saying they won’t be good on their own, only that I’d just like that option. They should at least release the three hour version at the same time as they open the second. In which case I could enjoy the continuity of the experience, inspite of the fact the first half would be a re-run. But that won’t happen, right? We’re looking as far as what, 2005 for that final special triple DVD action? Way to go guys! Way to make lots of money!

    You’re so right though LES, Jackie Brown showed class.

  6. soup du jour says:

    Don’t forget, Akira Kurosawa’s all-time classic ‘Seven Samurai’ runs 3 hours and 22 minutes.

  7. Simon Phoenix says:

    You’ve got that backwards. Any film should only be UNDER 120 minutes if and only if you submit a detailed explanation for the lack of story.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I generally do not like movies that there has to be a sequal to end the story. Its usually amarketing ploy. I will say I think Tarentino;s chances of making it work are better than most. I remember only two movies that have done this. Back to the Future II and Lord of the Rings. Back to the Future made me mad and I guess Lord of the Rings irked me a bit too. Lord of the Rings was a book. They could have ended where the book ended and started back again where the next book started

  9. D says:

    Dear Simon Phoenix,

    That’s just plain stupid. As I’m sure you know, TV shows can tell a story in 44 minutes – or even 22! Beyond that, there’s even this thing called the “short film” that can be 10 minutes long – or even less! AMAZING! There are even music videos that tell stories, and they can be as short as – get this – 3 MINUTES!!! OH MY GOD!! And hold onto your ass: get ready, this is going to rock you harder than anything you’ve ever been rocked by before – there are ADS which TELL STORIES in 30 SECONDS!!

    AAAAARGHH!! So put that in your Magnolia and smoke it.

    Sorry for the runaway sarcasm.


    Manager, d/blog

  10. Horace says:

    I was fully supportive of splitting Kill Bill into two releases when I first heard about it. I figured, if that’s what it takes to tell the story, so be it. No one has to go watch it if they don’t want to.

    But now that I’ve seen it, I’m just pissed. How can they justify making a 47 minute movie?! It costs us like 13 bucks just to get in, we have to sit through 20 minutes of previews, and then a 47 minute movie? Christ.

  11. D says:

    Hrm, IMDB lists Kill Bill 2 as 90 minutes, did you hear different, Horace?

    I saw it yesterday and obviously have some thoughts… for the front page, later.

  12. kevin says:

    i understood that Quentin kept this film on budget – not “ran up to $55 million.”
    I also read it was H. Weinstein’s idea to cut the film into 2 parts after seing the intial cut – not Quentin’s! (although he was thinking about it…)

  13. Camrizzon says:

    Ok. Here’s the deal. I saw KB last night and found it to be one of the most entertaining movies Ive ever seen. On the topic of length : Well QT got a little carried away will cool ideas which unfolded onto layers of other cool ideas that he couldnt let go. And why should he? He is making his masterpiece. I NEVER got bored in the 2 hour long KB:Vol 1. Thus I was entertained and perplexed. I cant wait till the next one comes out. And the fact that its split into two movies I thank them because my ass would have been as flat as a pancake had it been. As well ,anyone who hasnt seen endless hours of anime, kung fu, or John Woo movies can’t fully appreciate the style of this flick. Which is what this movies comes down to. BEING REALLY COOL AND ENTERTAINING.

  14. D says:

    Ah, style vs. substance…

    For continued discussion of Kill Bill, including – thrill of thrills! – a longass review from me, go here.

  15. BD says:

    This was definitely one of the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen. It goes beyond just cool and entertaining. It is an incredible feat of storytelling. Yes, there are cool devices like the use of anime, black & white scenes, spagetti western music, and of course so many traditional kung fu devices. But these devices are not used as gimmicks; there seem to be very specific reasons why they are used, specific things that QT is telling us, and when the device is used for a long extended sequence, it gives us time to stop and think about why he chose to say it that way. And let’s not forget the other devices used, that are not seen all that often in hollywood films, particularly not in the action genre: literary devices like foreshadowing, dramatic irony, and pathos.

    You know what? At the risk of gushing, I’ll even say that I like the fact that it was split into two volumes. Knowing that Bill was not going to be killed in Volume 1, and not knowing exactly how long Volume 1 is (somewhere in the ballpark of 90 to 130 minutes), and also not knowing exactly how long I had been watching since I was having so much fun, I was left to wonder for the entire final third of the movie: “This film could end at any moment! There is no need for them to wind things up. This battle might still be underway when the credits roll, like in Matrix Reloaded, or it might not. The Bride might be left for dead, again, when the credits roll, or she might be victorious in this part of her quest. For that matter, QT could flash forward at any moment to show us something else, leaving this storyline hanging and starting up a new one. We just don’t know!” The tension is absolutely esquisite.

  16. Sassy says:

    I absolutely loved this movie!!! At first I was a little bothered that they cut it in two and I would have to make a separate trip to the movie theatre and pay more money to see the second part but I was so awed and pleased with the Volume 1 that I can’t wait to see Volume 2.

    Can’t believe the fighting scenes there were absolutely sick, Uma Thurman was incredible, read somewhere that she trained and practiced martial arts for nine hours a day for five months non stop, she is my hero, fuck Charlie’s Angels and all these other wannabe femme-bots, Uma blows them all out of the water!

    QT is a genius, ’nuff said.

  17. Reub says:

    I saw Kill Bill Vol 1 for a dollar. It was worth it.

  18. Reub says:

    I saw Kill Bill Vol 1 for a dollar. It was worth it.

Comments are closed.