When Quentin Tarantino began shooting Kill Bill, he originally intended to make only one film. However, as he was shooting, it became obvious that he had shot enough footage for two films. Instead of trying to widdle the story down to an acceptable length, Tarantino wisely decided to produce two films that were released six months apart. Whether Tarantino intended to or not, Kill Bill -Volume 2 turned out to be a vastly different film from the first, and served to give the entire Kill Bill saga a truly epic feel.
The first time I went to see Kill Bill - Volume 2, I was worried about the level of gore. I just assumed Tarantino would up the ante and try to put even more sadistic violence in the volume of his tale. However, after a violent introduction, the film is driven by narrative and character development. While martial arts is still a part of the story, it's merely a device used to move the story along. This may disappoint some of Kill Bill's fans, but I think Kill Bill - Volume 2 is more likely to appeal to a broader range of fans.
The second installment delves deep into the characters of The Bride (Uma Thurman), Bill (David Carradine), and the one-eyed witch, Daryl Hannah. We also meet (in-depth) a few new characters including Bill's brother Budd (Michael Madsen) and the master trainer, Pai Mei (Chia Hui Liu and voiced over by Quentin Tarantino. Most of the other characters from the first flick will pop up in a flashback or two, but Kill Bill: Volume 2 is really about The Bride's (Uma Thurman) checkered past as well as her motivations for leaving the world of professional assassins.
The story tells us a lot about the history between The Bride and Bill. We get a better understanding of the type of relationship the two of them had, why she seeks revenge and what made her lose sight of human reality. In the first volume of Kill Bill, there was so much fighting and bloodshed that we didn't really get a sense of who The Bride was, what made her tick. Volume 2 gives us a back story and a tangible reason to care about The Bride. Kill Bill - Volume 2 is a strong enough film that it could stand on its own without the first volume. If you just watch Volume 2 you'll be able to see an engaging story, crafted by a truly gifted filmmaker. However, I don't want to throw Kill Bill - Volume One to the curb. If you skip that one, you'll miss most of the blood, guts and Uma killing everybody.
Overall, I think this film is the much stronger of the two and maybe that is simply because I'm not a fan of all the fighting and much prefer the character development. I admire Tarantino for doing things his way. The writer/director has certainly created a genre of films that is unique his own, while showing himself to be a master of his craft. While the Kill Bill saga is not always an easy pill to swallow, I can't help but recommend it highly.
Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, Kill Bill - Volume 2 looks stunning. Disney has continued their use of the AVC Mpeg-4 compression codec and the film has been given plenty of room to breathe with a very high bitrate encode. There is a fair amount of grain presented in this film and this Blu-ray encode handles it effortlessly, lending the movie a very natural and film-like look.
The audio is presented in a superb Uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack that amplifies the subtle richness if the films soundtrack. Dialogue is the primary sound element here and it is flawlessly presented.
Much like the supplements included for Kill Bill - Volume 1, there's not much to this small set of extras included with Kill Bill - Volume 2.
• The Making of Kill Bill 2 (26:05) - Tarantino, cast and other crew discuss the making of the film.
• Premiere Chingon performance (11:00) - A live performance by composer (and filmmaker) Robert Rodriguez and his band of some of the songs and music he composed for the film.
• Three minute deleted scene.