How many films has Quentin Tarantino made? Your answer depends on your personal opinion of the director's sprawling revenge opera, Kill Bill. Is the Uma Thurman-led film Tarantino's fourth AND fifth film? Or just his fourth, forced to be split in two by producer Harvey Weinstein instead of subjecting QT to the demanded edits of "Harvey Scissorhands"?
This is a debate that erupted on the most recent episode of ReelBlend, a weekly podcast hosted by myself, Kevin McCarthy and Jake Hamilton. We were debating our favorite movie openings of all time, and swirled our conversation around Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction. But when I said to my co-hosts that Kill Bill was two films -- and that Vol. 2 is significantly worse than Vol. 1 -- their heads exploded. They only see Kill Bill as one movie, because that's how Tarantino intended it to be shown. For real, listen to their heads explode in this week's episode:
So, we put it to a poll. And ReelBlend listeners largely agreed with me: It's two movies. One story, maybe. But definitely two movies.
ReelBlend listener Chris Folk acknowledging that Vol. 2 feels different from its predecessor.
So, what are the arguments? Those who stand by "Kill Bill is one movie" point to the fact that Tarantino filmed Kill Bill in one shot, and only relented to two Volumes after Harvey Weinstein started pushing for the removal of sequences that he considered vital to the movie's success. Knowing that he didn't want to cut huge chunks out of the overall story, the director allowed them to be split. In fact, Quentin Tarantino has a full cut of the Kill Bill saga, known as The Whole Bloody Affair, which was rumored to make it to DVD and Blu-ray... but hasn't yet. Tarantino screened The Whole Bloody Affair at his New Beverly theater in Los Angeles on the occasion of his birthday. So there's that.
Those who see Kill Bill as two movies point to the fact that Vol. 2 exists. Yes, Quentin Tarantino was pressured by Harvey Weinstein to cut the full movie in half, but the director agreed to do it. Plus, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 don't seamlessly merge together. Vol. 2 actually has its own opening credits, with a full sequence of Uma Thurman explaining everything that happened in the first movie. If Vol. 2 truly was a straight continuation of Vol. 1, these add-ons wouldn't be necessary. And if there was one long cut of Kill Bill, QT wouldn't put credits in the middle of his movie.
Ultimately, it doesn't change much. However you perceive Kill Bill doesn't alter the story. But we found it funny that different groups of Tarantino fans can have staunchly different takes on the perception of the director's film (or films). So tell us, in the poll below, where you stand on this heated topic!
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.