Kill Bill Takes Aim at Box Office

Auteur filmmaker Quentin Tarantino unleashes his fourth feature across North America today with the release of Miramax’s Kill Bill Vol. 1. The love letter to kung-fu classics features anime sequences animated by Production I.G.

Writer/director Tarantino follows up Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown with a simple revenge story that weaves in visual references from ’70s chop-saki theater fare and Bruce Lee works like The Green Hornet and Game of Death. Uma Thurman stars as an assassin who was gunned down at her wedding by her own employer, Bill, played by David Caradine of TV’s Kung Fu. Having survived the attack, "The Bride" proves that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

The anime segments are interspersed throughout the film, much like the use of animation in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. Production I.G., founded by producer/director Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and character designer Takayuki Goto, has previously been involved in the production of Ghost in the Shell (1996), Mobile Police Patlabor (1990) and the series Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). More recently, the studio has produced original works such as the feature Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1998), the CG-2D hybrid Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) and the series Kaidomaru.

Production I.G also creates games for Sony Playstation, Namco, Sega Saturn, and Microsoft Xbox. Currently in the works is the theatrical sequel Innocence: Ghost in the Shell.

Tarantino intended to release Kill Bill as one four-hour movie but Miramax chose to follow suit with the Matrix sequels and break it up into two installments. Kill Bill Vol. 2 is scheduled hit theaters next month.

Also competing for moviegoer cash this weekend is Universal’s romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty, MGM’s talking-dog flick Good Boy and Artisan’s zombie fest House of the Dead, based on the Sega video game of the same name.