1 Man 365 Films 365 Days – Day 77

#52 / 365 – ‘Kill Bill: Volume 2’ (2004) – 136 mins
IMDb Challenge #29 / 250 – Ranked #224 – Via DVD collection

There were five on her list. Now its three. O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green were the first to fall, now The Bride is out to finish the job by killing Elle Driver, Budd, and last of all, Bill. If the final three aren’t afraid now, they better start, because she’s coming for them. However, something has thrown off her plans a bit. Her daughter (whom she was pregnant with as she was getting married) is still alive. What effect will this have on her quest for vengeance is unclear.

The story continues straight off from where Vol. 1 left us, with Beatrix Kiddo AKA – The Bride continuing on her ultimate quest of revenge to kill the Snake Charmer himself.

In this second outing it doesn’t disappoint, with Tarantino and only the way he can displaying a unique montage of stylised action pieces. However don’t get a full-on repetition of frantically choreographed action set pieces, because this time around, the focus is on the characters and why The Bride is intent to Kill Bill. In many ways this decidedly more satisfying.

Each chapter which again is played out of chronological order, brings a new character or a fresh direction for us to follow – from Bill’s younger brother Budd (Michael Madsen, who is simply terrific), Darryl Hannah’s deadly, one-eyed blonde Elle Driver and Pai Mei as the martial arts master, who twiddle with his long white beard – the setting within this character brought thoughts of that old TV series Monkey, who can remember that?

As previously mentioned in my review of Vol. 1, the discussions will forever continue to wherever the two volumes needed to be spilt, to me I would have liked seen them as one complete piece. Kill Bill 2 is a blast of an escapist movie – a fitting conclusion to Tarantino’s ultimate revenge movie, with a plot that never falls into the predictable, and keeping us breathless throughout – and we will have to wait and see what magic Tarantino conjures up next when the Bride strikes again in Vol. 3, in 2014.

#53 / 365 – ‘Rocky’ (1976) – 119 mins
IMDb Challenge #30 / 250 – Ranked #216 – Via DVD collection

A small-fry boxer gets the once in a lifetime chance to meet his heavyweight hero in the ring and compete for the title. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) must prove to himself that he has what it takes to go the distance.

In my opinion this is the second greatest boxing movie of all time – the first being ‘Raging Bull‘.

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, winner of Three – Best Picture, Director and Film Editing. Stallone who penned the script after working on it for three days solid, puts in a truly emotional heartfelt performance as the Italian Stallion who slugs his way to top, in downbeat Philadelphia both in his quest for the title and love of Adrian (Talia Shire).

Rocky is one of my all-time favourites, which makes you feel good after every viewing with its inspirational story and memorable scenes – the training montage and running up those Philadelphia stairs, the believable ice-skating date scene and ending when he’s frantically glancing for Adrian amongst his beaten face all the time this is set a rousing and now instantly recognisable Bill Conti, Gonna Fly Now score.

Infinitely superior to the ‘good’ sequels it spawned, Rocky doesn’t just fly now, it soars.

#54 / 365 – ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (1930) – 138 mins
IMDb Challenge #31 / 250 – Ranked #214 – Via DVD collection

This was my first viewing of this film and it is a poignant and hard-hitting anti-war drama that details life of idealistic young German soldiers, who are inspired to fight with pride in the trenches of WWI. All the time the horrors of war eat away at their idealism, their political certainties struck dumb by a very real confrontation with death.

From four Academy Award nominations, it was to become the first recipient to win Best Picture and Best Director, something later that was to become the norm. The cinematography (only nominated) is absolutely breathtaking and is way ahead of its time for 1930 – the infantrymen vastly marching across the battlefield and the subsequent detailing of the trenches.

Upon research, Steven Spielberg has openly credited All Quiet on the Western Front was a blueprint and influence to his masterpiece ‘Saving Private Ryan’ but to me the similarities are minor at best. The message of the film encapsulated perfectly in one especially harrowing scene involving the films lead, Paul Baumer (Lewis Ayres) – I won’t divulge into the details, for the sake of those still yet to witness this masterpiece, to which I strongly urge you too.

All Quiet On The Western Front sees men cheerfully go to battle with pride and ultimately come back broken and defeated to which it thought provokingly and conveys the powerful question that is asked everyday, why do we go to war?

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