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"Kill Bill Vol. I"

REVENGE TASTES best when served cold... that's how "The 4th film of Quentin Tarantino" begins. The "Reservoir Dogs" director is back after six years with what seems like an ode to Hong Kong cinema, violent though. Incidentally, the opening sequence is a homage to the Shaw Brothers of Hong Kong.

Pregnant bride Black Mamba (Uma Thurman) and members of her wedding party are slaughtered by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. But The Bride, as Black Mamba, is known, survives. She wants her pound of flesh or shall we say, several pounds of flesh! And so, she goes after each one of them, her toughest Viper being O-Ren Ishii also called Cottonmouth (Lucy Liu), the most powerful woman in the Japanese underworld. Her final target, of course, is Bill, the man who fathered her child (that story is reserved for the sequel).

Tarantino loves the martial arts (kung fu, samurai, spaghetti western). Watch the almost poetic fight sequence between Thurman and Lucy Liu towards the end of the film, and you'll understand.

Another beautifully choreographed (by Tarantino and Yuen Wo-Ping) fight sequence is where Thurman single-handedly butchers the henchmen of Liu.

Cinematographer Robert Richardson uses sepia tones and later just silhouettes to capture the drama.

The idea of using animation to tell the tragic tale of Liu works well. In fact, one wonders whether Tarantino is inspired by the Manga comics. The music by hip-hop artiste RZA complements the action.

That Uma Thurman, Tarantino's Muse, has undergone rigorous training is evident. Hers is a power-packed performance, literally.

For Lucy Liu, it's a marked change from "Charlie's Angels". As the ruthless boss, she exudes control.

One thing is for sure. "Kill Bill" is for those who love action, of the blood and gore variety. If you can stomach it, it is visually stimulating.

SAVITHA GAUTAM

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