I haven’t seen this since it premiered. Teenaged Me was really into Tarantino, and also Counting Crows and Gin Blossoms and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and Wayne’s World and Tim Burton and Mortal Kombat, and most of those things are no longer good, so sometimes I forget that Tarantino still is.
Anyway, here’s what happens in Kill Bill Volume 1:
Whole wedding party is wiped out, execution-style by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.
The Bride shows up at Vernita’s house (Vivica A. Fox, lately of Empire). A quick knife fight, then relaxed conversation, then sudden death.
Flashback to the aftermath of the bloody wedding, investigated by the cop from Grindhouse, then Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) is sent to assassinate the Bride in her hospital bed but Bill calls her off at the last minute. We never find out what the Bride did, exactly, to deserve this treatment.
The Bride awakens, righteously murders the dudes who have been coma-raping her, and hits the road in a stolen Pussy Wagon.
O-Ren Ishii animated backstory, which is basically Lady Snowblood.
The Bride talks the retired swordsmith Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba of bunches of Kinji Fukasaku films) into making her a perfect sword.
The Big Finale of Part 1: The Bride shows up at the House of Blue Leaves, taking on crazed teen Gogo (Chiaki Kuriyama of Battle Royale, The Great Yokai War)…
and O-Ren herself (Lucy Liu)
“Is she aware her daughter is still alive?”
Wedding reprise, she introduces Bill as her father to groom Tommy (oscar-winning makeup artist Chris Nelson)
Budd (Michael Madsen) has a horrible strip club bouncer job and a pointless life, but he has been warned that the Bride is coming, and he gets the drop on her then buries her alive.
In flashback, Bill sends the Bride to be tutored by Pai Mei (Gordon Liu, star of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin with comical white hair), who teaches her “it’s the wood that should fear your hand,” and she destroys the coffin and emerges from the ground living-dead-style. 95% of movies would open with the training scene, then when she’s in trouble an hour later have a voiceover reminder of the training scene, then victory… it seems more effective to structure it this way (hopeless situation / flashback to training scene / solution).
Elle kills Budd via snake, and a close-quarters swordfight with the risen Bride follows. Elle loses her other eye. Frequent sightings of the movie poster for Mr. Majestyk.
The Bride visits Bill and rescues her daughter via the five point palm exploding heart technique.
“The lioness has rejoined her cub and all is right in the jungle.”