Quick hits: KILL BILL, I, SPY
April 14th, 2004
Review(s) by Honest Abe
NOTE: The screenplays we review are often in development and may experience many rewrites, some could end up being completely different than what is reviewed here. It is our hope that our reviews generate more interest in the film. Thank you.
KILL BILL (positive, minor spoilers)
After a long absence, Quentin Tarantino returns giving us what we love. Quirky, violent fare. For starters, the script is broken up into chapters with names like "the comatose bride" and "the cruel tutelage of Pai Mei". If I'm not mistaken, these and other words will be superimposed on the screen. The basic storyline is this: Uma Thurman is The Bride. After being shot and left in a coma the day of her wedding, she awakens seven years later to extract revenge on the man who nearly killed her. Her former boss/pimp/whatever: Bill. She will also go after everyone who works for Bill and that helped Bill put her down. We're talking over 35 people here. While most of them are simple no-name hired guns, some are trained assassins like Elle, O-Ren, and Vernita. And it seems that everyone who matters is proficient in martial arts and can handle a samurai sword. (I was half expecting Butch from Pulp Fiction (Bruce Willis you nits!) to show up and display a little swordsmanship.) At the very least, this script contains some of the best written fight scenes I've read.
Throw in a cameo by Sonny Chiba as Hattori Hanzo, the master swordsmaker. Then there's Bill's brother, Budd, who almost gets the best of The Bride. Some of the action happens out of sequence which is a Tarantino trademark and it plays well. It breaks up the basic narrative. There is also a long sequence where we witness a younger Bride being trained by Pai Mei who's basically a martial arts Yoda. (Rumor I heard is that Quentin is planning on playing this character!!! well, life ain't perfect I guess.) Finally there's an extended sequence, the final confrontation between The Bride and Bill. And of course, it's not without a major surprise.
The one thing to watch out for is that there is a lot of narration by The Bride. For the most part, narration doesn't work because it tends to pull you out of the movie. It's like you can't figure it out for yourself so it's a cheat. (Blade Runner anyone?) Well, only once or twice did I find the narration to be cumbersome. Look, bottom line, this should erase the memories of Jackie Brown from your mind. I'll make a prediction that the trailer alone should whet your appetite. Short of a disaster, this should be a fun evening at your local theatre. (I wonder if The Bride's sword says "Bad Motherfucker" on it?)
I, SPY (slightly positive, minor spoilers)
Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson step into the shoes left by Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. Let me start off by saying that I have never seen the original tv series. With that in mind, I don't understand why this even has to have the title it has. It could be just any other type of spy movie. Anyways, Owen is Alex Scott, a hotshot undercover operative. He's slick but he's good and gets the job done without fail. Eddie is Kelly Robinson the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. What brings these two together is a supersecret spy plane that has been stolen and sold on the black market to an arms dealer named Gundars. Gundars is hosting a heavyweight bout in his lil euro-trash country and the agency decides to use Kelly as their inside man to find the whereabouts of the plane. Alex poses as a member of Kelly's entourage to get close enough to reclaim the plane. (sounds hokey but it actually works). What works, believe it or not, is the set-up. The banter between the two leads plays quite well. Where there could be potential trouble lands squarely on Eddie Murphy's shoulders. If he plays Kelly too extravagently, too over the top, it will kill the momentum the script leads to. He's a ham and he's supposed to be a ham but if I want a ham to ruin a potentially good action comedy, I'll call Jim Carrey. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Eddie fan. Always have been. This role though teeters on the cusp between over the top and comedically subdued. Throw in a surprise villain and lots of really cool gadgets and there is great potential here. I don't know who is directing this but he's got his work laid cut out for him. As long as Eddie doesn't mug, I'll be there opening weekend. Let's see how the trailer looks first.