Stephen King wrote a bluntly negative review of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1, and there’s one main reason why the legendary horror author hated the movie. King, who dumped a bucket of pig’s blood on Carrie White and massacred the children of Derry in It, was unimpressed by the ultraviolent antics of Uma Thurman’s Beatrix “The Bride” Kiddo in the first half of Tarantino’s revenge-seeking epic. King’s review compared Kill Bill with Clint Eastwood’s sobering drama Mystic River. He described the latter as “one movie that definitely mattered” and Kill Bill: Vol. 1 as “one that didn’t; one that was, in fact, pretty blah.”
Not one to mince words when it comes to his opinions about movies, Stephen King once tweeted that he walked out of the first Transformers movie and he notoriously hates Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. With an 85% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 81% audience score on the same site, it’s clear that Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is a popular movie. But not everybody was won over by its blood-soaked charms. Based on the harsh words in his review in Entertainment Weekly, King would’ve preferred if Kill Bill was given a rewrite.
Stephen King Thought Kill Bill Was Indulgent
The main point of Stephen King’s negative review of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was that the movie exhibits indulgence on the part of its writer-director. While admitting that it’s “certainly well-made,” King described Kill Bill as “narcissistic,” “dully full of itself,” and “the bonfire of Quentin Tarantino’s vanities.” With elements of martial arts films, Spaghetti Westerns, blaxploitation movies, and an emotional anime flashback segment, Kill Bill is arguably the most ambitious genre cocktail of Tarantino’s career. Since he had two feature films to tell one story, whatever Tarantino’s imagination conjured up could find its way into the project.
Kill Bill has lengthy dialogue scenes in between its action set-pieces, which could be construed as a directorial indulgence, but King didn’t much care for the film’s violence, either. Despite the ample bloodshed in his own work, King criticized the stylized murder spree depicted in Kill Bill: Vol. 1: “The violence is choreographed like an Esther Williams swim routine… blood spurts from amputated limbs.” Based on his distaste for Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Transformers, and his dissatisfaction with the Schwarzenegger-led adaptation of his novel The Running Man, it would seem like King just doesn’t like action movies.
King Thought Uma Thurman’s Performance Was The Best Part Of Kill Bill
Stephen King’s review of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 wasn’t entirely negative. He did enjoy Uma Thurman’s performance, but he felt that she was let down by limited material. He wrote, “Thurman tries hard, and she’s the best thing in the movie, but in the end she’s stuck playing a woman who’s a label instead of a human being: She is, God save us, the Bride.” Part of the appeal of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is that Thurman brings three-dimensional Oscar-caliber pathos to typically one-dimensional genre situations. And, to be fair to Tarantino, he did give the character a proper name in Kill Bill: Vol. 2.
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