Sunday, September 17, 2006

Best Chick Flicks Ever

I just watched Kill Bill Vol. One the other night. And I have to say that it is my kind of 'chick flick', maybe even the best chick flick ever. I have no use for the typical 'chick flicks' because real life is emotional and challenging enough that I don't need to get caught up in some sappy shit in a movie. If I'm going to watch a fantasy about how to deal with life's problems it's a better investment in my time to watch something completely fantastic and outrageous like the Kill Bill movies. I had seen Kill Bill 2 when it came out and liked it a lot, and I just watched it again. While I really like both movies quite a lot, I think I do like Vol. 1 better.

My favorite scene in Vol. 1 is the boardroom scene when O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) assumes her position as the top boss of the Tokyo underworld (mafia). One of the older male under-bosses (Tanaka) is openly and strongly resentful that she is not 'pure' Japanese but is part Chinese and part American (and a woman). After allowing him to express his disrespect and dissatisfaction O-Ren demonstrates her position:

O-Ren Ishii: [after she cuts off Tanaka's head, in Japanese] So you all will know how serious I am, I shall say this in English.

O-Ren Ishii: [in English] As your leader, I encourage you from time to time, and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you're unconvinced that a particular plan of action I've decided is the wisest, tell me so, but allow me to convince you, and I promise you right here and now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is I collect your fucking head.

Just like this fucker here. [holds up Tanaka's head]

Now, if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say, now's the fucking time!
[pause and silence]

O-Ren Ishii: I didn't think so.

O-Ren Ishii: [calmly, in Japanese] Gentlemen, this meeting is adjourned.

Where can I get me one of those personal armies of assassins? ;-) Seriously though, what I especially love about these Kill Bill movies is that the main character (The Bride) is what could be described as the Ultimate Vicious Momma. The revenge she sought throughout the two films was primarily motivated by her Maternal Instincts. Sure, there were some other 'minor' revenges along the way (like with rapist "Buck") that were purely personal and not related to the loss of her daughter. But the big list is all for taking away her daughter, even more so than their trying to kill her. If she'd been through the experience but had never been pregnant she might have still felt compelled to take revenge, but she wouldn't have had the same strength of purpose to actually succeed.

Another aspect of the characters that I really liked was that they, for the most part, recognized and accepted that The Bride was justified in her revenge. They knew that they did her wrong and that it was entirely fair for her to try to repay them. I guess that's part of the 'honor of bandits' or whatever. Not that their acceptance of her revenge meant they weren't going to fight against it. But they knew they 'had it (a fight) coming to them.' These characters were professional assassins (or 'warriors') who understood the reality and philosophy of war, which says that you are allowed, and probably even expected, to retaliate against someone who has wronged you. You have that right to seek revenge, but don't expect it to be easy.*

I rarely get to see movies when they first come out so all of this is probably old news to most people. But I was pretty impressed with the movies and wanted to note it anyway.

*This idea isn't really so different from the "certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" of the Declaration of Independence.

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