Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Blu-ray Review
PictureAs with volume one, BVHE have presented us with a theatrically correct 2.40 : 1 1080P encode, and pretty much everything that was said about volume one can also be said of volume two.
This means that although the disc does not present us with a completely unblemished transfer, it certainly beats any previous version on home formats hands down.
If anything, the transfer on Volume two is better than the first one, but only because it is more consistent. Volume One was stunning at its best, but also displayed some flaws on a few occasions. We see none of these flaws in this volume.
The sharpness and clarity of this transfer is simply breathtaking, and this is clearly shown when we get close ups of the weather-beaten face of Carradine. His face is what may be termed in polite terms as “interesting” and the detail brought to the screen here is exactly what hi def is all about.
Volume Two doesn't use as many distinctive styles as volume one - but there are definite variations, all of which are rendered perfectly. The main scenes are beautifully rendered as already mentioned but there are also some key black and white scenes which are beautiful in their clarity and detail. The blacks are deep and dense, and the whites leap off the screen such is the level of contrast. Apart from the wedding scenes, which do display some washed-out characteristics, the black and white scenes are as impressive as the coloured ones, if not more so.
As mentioned in the main review, an extensive section of this film deals with the training of The Bride. This section is an extended homage to seventies Kung Fu movies, and as such is shot with a kind of grainy mask, to make it look like it originated during this time. Whereas this may make the scene in question stand out against the rest of the film, it is most definitely intentional and not a fault of the transfer.
Overall, this is so much better than the DVD version it is untrue. Anyone who has previously been watching that version will see previously undreamt of levels of detail in this transfer. Highly recommended.
SoundSome controversy was engendered by my comments on the sound in Volume One . I took off a mark because despite the perceived high quality of the actual mix, the rears were far too silent for me to offer it top marks. Unfortunately, the second volume suffers from exactly the same design flaw.
However, all the great points also apply here. The PCM mix (there is also a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix) is quite simply stunning in its level of clarity. The sound is clear and dynamic, and the front separation is excellent. The music, the sound effects, and the music is all amazingly dynamic, bringing new life to a well known soundtrack.
Maybe it could be argued that the rears are needed far less in the second volume. After all, it is less an action movie and more a drama. However, I do still feel that some ambience could have been introduced in key scenes. It is not that the rears are completely silent in this volume, in the same way that they aren't in volume one, but I just feel they could have been worked well.
This said, however, the caveat is that this is still an excellent mix and a vast upgrade to what has been available before.
ExtrasAgain, all the extras from the previous DVD are included - but sadly as in volume one there is not much here.
The Making of Kill Bill Volume Two is another EPK type feature, culled together from various PR materials. The difference between the two films is discussed in quite an interesting way - but this is pretty lightweight overall.
The disc is finished off with a deleted scene which is very enjoyable to watch, but would not add anything if it was put back into the film, and a Musical performance by Robert Rodriguez's band at the Premiere party.
VerdictEverything that was said about the first volume can be said equally of the second. All the AV strengths of the first one (great picture, clear and dynamic sound) is true of this, and all the faults (paucity of extras, poor rear speaker use) is also present here. However, in terms of an upgrade over the DVD the two are like chalk and cheese. If you want the very best version of the film, then without doubt this is the one to get. If you are a fan of the film, then the upgrade will absolutely be worth it.
As a film, though, Kill Bill Volume Two is quite a tricky one to call. It is the diametric opposite of the first volume. Whereas the first was Tarantino's bloody action movie, volume two is his character study, concerning himself more with motivation. This makes it a very interesting and necessary companion piece to volume one, but is not as accessible to casual viewers as the first was. If you are considering purchasing Kill Bill then you really need to own both parts. The second one may be slower, and more philosophical - but it brings volume one into much needed focus.
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