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Kill Bill Foundations: Good and Worthy Death

Here’s more prep work for discussing Kill Bill Vol. 2, the second of my two reflections on Kill Bill Vol. 1. Again, I’ve changed only coding and pronouns.

Originally posted 31 October 2003

Last time, I wrote about why I don’t like the characterization of rapists in Kill Bill. While I still don’t and don’t concede any of my objections, I have a thematic defense for it.

This is a revenge movie, but we don’t know (and perhaps never will) the reason why revenge is necessary. Sure, The Bride is betrayed by her (former?) fellow Assassins and left for dead, a massacre carried out at the word of the father of her unborn baby. But what’s her motivation? I joked that The Bride now has to wipe out all the people who’d seenher whimpering and begging not to be killed to be able to live with her bad-ass self, and in retrospect I think that could be partly true. There’s a pattern of how people die and how they deserve to die. An honorable warrior deserves an honorable death.

Other than giving me Tyrtaeus flashbacks, what does this involve? I’m not entirely sure; I was too caught up in Tyrtaeus. Still, the point is made early in the movie. Vernita and The Bride are evenly matched when sparring with knives and life histories, finding almost a comfortable camaraderie, but this changes when Vernita changes the rules. As quickly as she shoots from behind the symbolic shield of her daughter, she is killed conclusively and bluntly. Against an opponent who fights by whatever code they recognize, The Bride allows the battle to be a contest of skill and athleticism and all sorts of endurance, but those unworthy of such a display are summarily slaughtered.

It’s possible that this is why the rapists are basically caricatures, because without honor and principle, they are nothing more than beasts. They have no humanity, no depth because they are not a part of the world The Bride acknowledges as human, as on her own level. They die bloodily but easily, without fighting back. The dull die quickly.

I’ll go ahead and post this now and then go away for the weekend, part of which will be spent discussing the movie. Maybe I’ll understand more or better on my return.