Saturday, October 11, 2003

Kill Bill

"This my finest sword. If in your journey you should encounter God, God will be cut."

This is exuberant moviemaking!

It is waaay bloody. Samurai Swords and Bushido Honor Code run all through the movie. The combination consistently leads to blood and death.

You forgive the blood because the movie is a modern fable/cartoon. It is Japanese Anime come to life. A realistic fable wouldn't be as much fun- and, come to think of it, wouldn't even be a fable!

The movie is all about action. Roger Ebert: "The movie is all storytelling and no story." He means it as a compliment.

More Ebert: "Quentin Tarantino is so effortlessly and brilliantly in command of his technique that he reminds me of a virtuoso violinist racing through 'Flight of the Bumble Bee.'"

Another reviewer says the movie "is for the 15 year old boy in all of us."

The movie is for the 7 year old boy in me, because that's when I was introduced to the "Green Hornet" TV show, and the Green Hornet's trusty sidekick "Kato"(Bruce Lee). Since that age, I have never doubted that one exceptional martial artist could dispense with 6 or 12 or 20 sequentially attacking opponents. If you doubt this premise, or the premise that one's opponents naturally attack in sequence instead of en masse, then this is not the movie for you.

I am not an expert, but I noticed nodding homages to:

Chop Socky (of course)

Star Wars- with an overt nod to Yoda and Luke, and even "The Force"


Pulp Fiction

Dressed to Kill, which itself was an homage to Psycho

Smokey and the Bandit

The Amazing Bob

Just saw an adrenaline-fueled pregame skirmish be thwarted by Texas and OU coaches, who charged headlong into the middle of the gestating riot and forced their respective players back to their areas.

Watching Bob Stoops scream and shove and gesticulate at his charges, I was reminded of nothing so much as a lion tamer at the circus- a Siegfeld and Roy fighting back the big cats, armed only with hubris and self-assured body language.

All Stoops was missing was a whip and a chair: "Watch the Amazing Bob place his head inside the Defensive Tackle's mouth! Let's give him a hand! Now watch the Amazing Bob call for a fake punt on 4th and 8!"

Tiger Stadium

Just watched LSU come onto the field at Tiger Stadium for the Florida game. Every college team coming onto the field is a good moment, but LSU has raised it to an art.

When the Tigers come out of their locker room, a video feed goes out to 100,000 fans, who jump to their feet and begin to build the din of noise. On video, the fans watch the players walk down a short ramp and touch a tasteful "Win" sign as they squeeze through ancient double doors and assimilate under a goal post. The sign is the only touch of moderation in this stadium at this moment.

The LSU band has formed thick parallel columns on the hash marks, walling an alley from the goal line to the 25 yard line. Each column is a full 5 yards of thickness, and is dense with horn players and flautist packed in a tight formation. The columns are imposing. They convey power and strength.

The fans are fueled with alcohol and adrenaline. They are screaming for their heroes. And now the heroes start through the columns, not wildly and out of control, but slowly, like a composed and formidable lava mass that spreads when it exits mouth of the columns, devouring the earth before it. And now the band blasts the familiar and exuberant notes as noise in the stadium crescendos into a louder roar- like that of a jumbo jet approaching and passing directly over your head. Scowling tiger roars can be dimly heard over the stadium loudspeakers. It is quite wonderful, and worth the price of admission.

No comments: