Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 20th, 2012
BluRay released: April 26th, 2011
Approximate running time: 111 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
BluRay Release: Lions Gate / Miramax
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $19.99
And with those words so begins Quentin Tarantino’s opus to the martial arts and grindhouse films he loved from his youth. A Lot had changed since Quentin Tarantino last film Jackie Brown and a lot was riding on his first film in six years Kill Bill: Volume 1. Genre films were no longer cutting edge and for the most part most the cinema coming out of Hollywood resembled an assembly line. Jackie Brown wasn’t as a huge of a success as Pulp Fiction and Tarantino first film in six years a revenge movie that was running about 3 1/2 hours long. Would his audience follow him or would he have to find an audience. Instead of releasing Kill Bill as one film what we get here is half of a film that stands on its own and for now it looks like Miramax’s gamble paid off.
Covered in blood Bill (David Carradine) sadistically wipes blood from The Brides (Uma Thurman) face before he blows her brains out. The fourth film by Quentin Tarantino starts off with a bang. Kill Bill is Tarantino tribute to the kung fu and grind house films of his youth. In this film he gives us Japanese sword fighting, geysers of blood, and over the top violence rarely seen in American cinema. Tarantino has crafted a beautifully paced tale of revenge full of enough pop culture references and music cues from some of the best B movies ever made.
Fast forward many years later as The Bride lay in a coma were she has been used as a sex toy by Buck the orderly. She wakes from her coma before she is about to be abused again. She kills the man who tried to rape her and Buck. The Bride makes a to ‘kill’ list and she marks the Assassins names off it one by one. Sonny Chiba has been cast as Hatori Hanzo, a master sword maker. Tarantino has long been a champion of Chiba and his films and it is nice to see him recognized in this big budget flick.
Kill Bill: Volume 1 is filled with wonderful performances by all involved and Uma Thurman really shines as The Bride. Initially Kill Bill was to be one film until Miramax decided it was to long and asked Tarantino to split it into two films. I am still not sure if this was a good idea since I haven’t seen both volumes as a complete film yet. The first film did give us just enough and ended with a clever cliff hanger.
Kill Bill: Volume 1 comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This is a solid transfer that boasts nicely saturated colors and appropriately robust when they need too, flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels look consistently strong throughout. Details look always look sharp, there are no problems with compression or DNR. In all this transfer is a significant improvement upon this film’s previous home video release.
This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD Dolby Digital 5.1 mix English, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in French. All three audio mixes sound great, as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Of course the DTS-HD Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English is by far and away the best of the three audio mixes. It does a superb job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack and the film’s soundtrack also greatly benefits more in this audio mix. This release comes with two subtitle options, English SDH and Spanish.
Extras for this release include teaser trailers for Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Volume 2, a trailer for Kill Bill: Volume 1 titled ‘Bootleg trailer’ and trailers for Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. Other extras include two musical performance by the band 5,6,7,8’s ‘I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield’ and ‘I’m Blue’. Rounding out the extras is a twenty two minute ‘Making of’ featurette. Topics covered in the ‘Making of’ featurette include the origins of this film project and each participant covers their involvement in this film. Overall Kill Bill: Volume 1 gets its best home video release to date.