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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

Kill Bill Vol. 2 [Blu-ray]

(aka "Kill Bill: Volume 2" or "Vol. 2")

 

(Quentin Tarantino, 2004)

 

 

 

 

 

Kill Bill - Volumes 1 & 2 [Blu-ray]

(Amazon.com Exclusive)

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Miramax Films

Blu-ray: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: A

Runtime: 137 min

Chapters: 19

Size: 50 GB

Case: Locking Amaray Blu-ray case with Slipcover

Release date: September 9, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC MPEG-4

 

Audio:

English 5.1 Uncompressed PCM (48 kHz/24-bit); English & French 5.1 DD. Extras: English 2.0 DD

 

Subtitles:

Feature: English SDH, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese & Korean. Extras: English SDH

 

Extras:

• The Making of Kill Bill, Volume 2 (26:03)

• Damoe Deleted Scene (3:37)

• Chingon Musical Performance (11:32)

 

 

The Film: 8.5
Much has already been written about Quentin Tarantino and his extended essay in the ultra-violent: Kill Bill, the two volumes conceived as a single film, but released theatrically just six months apart. I imagine it's no accident that the second part doesn't really have a title card. The movie begins with a brief recap of the opening of Volume 1 where Bill shoots The Bride, then a quick cut to where that film leaves off: Ms Thurman driving in her convertible declaring that she's killed a lot of people to get to this point and she finds him, she's gonna kill Bill. Then the title card: Vol. 2. Cool, huh.

But I digress. Taken together, the two parts of Kill Bill sets up the how and, later, the why, of The Bride's revenge for Bill having let loose her former assassins in arms (I like to think of them as Charlie's Devils) on the day of her wedding, killing everyone in the church, and leaving the place a lot more holey than they entered it. The first volume is as bloody as a manga: lots of killing – and for good reason. The second volume is a philosophical essay by comparison.

I like it – both parts. If you haven't seen it, you should. If you find something worthy in A Clockwork Orange or amusing in Pulp Fiction, I think you'll like it.

 


 

Image: 8.5/9  NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVDs, including SD 480i.

Volume 2 makes use of more problematic film stocks, especially in the Pai Mei episode, which is downright dismal (and always was). Overall, compared to the Region 1 SD, which was pretty good in its day, the Blu-ray is just enough more filmlike to make it worth the upgrade on its own. Shadows have more detail, black & white footage is damn near palpable, colors are more vibrant without oversaturation (In fact, the color balance is much the same). It's the by now familiar fact of increased sharpness, resolution and dimensionality, not entirely apparent in the comparative screen captures. The picture needs to be in motion to appreciate the difference. Somehow, the flat, grainy picture that we once felt was quite satisfactory just doesn't cut it anymore. If you want to see just how vivid this image gets, slide forward to the episode with Michael Parks as Esteban Vihaio.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 9/8
Once again another demonstration of how uncompressed audio rules: This is harder to describe than to hear. The hearing of it is instant proof. Talk is just, well, inadequate to the task, but I'll give it a whirl. Sure, uncompressed audio (PCM, Dolby, or DTS) delivers more punch and more bass and treble – and that's nothing to sneeze at. But there's another thing – let's call it "dynamic nuance" - that breathes life into every line reading (particularly Carradine's), but does likewise for the music if it's well-recorded to start with. Two cases in point: the first when The Bride walks out of the church to take a break and finds Bill outside playing his flute. This ought too be a magical moment, pregnant with nostalgia, with hints of trepidation. It's all there in the visuals, but on the SD, if you close your eyes, it disappears. Not so with the Uncompressed PCM track. Later, when she walks into the hacienda where she will soon encounter Bill and her daughter, the music suddenly builds as she enters their suite, not just in the numbers of instruments, as we can plainly hear on the 5.1 DD track, but taking a leap in complexity and volume that simply doesn't exist on the earlier mix. Nor could it. For this is the natural consequence of compression (and it is why, prior to Blu-ray, I had always preferred to hear the two channel mix via a high quality digital-to-analog converter: at least the audio stood a chance.)

 

 

 

Operations: 8
As with the Blu-ray of Volume 1, though this is a Buena Vista release, there are NO promos or previews in advance of the menu, only a lone Miramax Films logo. As in many other recent Blu-ray DVDs, I found the menu operations to be sensible, listing the length of the various segments along with a brief description. And it's easy to return to the menu from the bonus features. Always a plus.

 

Extras: 6
As with Volume 1, all the extra features are ported over and retained in 480i. And, as with Volume 1, the image quality varies. The Chingon piece, which features director Robert Rodriguez at the Kill Bill Vol. 2 premiere, is lifeless – dark and noisy. The music is OK,
but not very well recorded. The Damoe segment is worth watching and will have you wondering just how it would have worked if left in the film: In a B&W sequence, we see Bill and his Bride walking peacefully through the streets of a village when they are suddenly
accosted by a gang of samurai that Bill dispatches skillfully as his Bride watches. On the other hand, the 26-minute making of featurette is well worth the effort. The image quality varies here too but mostly it is very good 4:3.

 

 

Bottom line: 9
Absolutely!

Leonard Norwitz
August 31st, 2008

January 2010

 

 

 

 

 

Kill Bill - Volumes 1 & 2 [Blu-ray]

(Amazon.com Exclusive)

 

 


 

 





 

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