Ten years ago this week we got the second installment of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga. While the original vision was one four-hour epic, Tarantino broke the 220-page script into two separate movies after pressure from the studio — as well as his own realization that four hours is a little lengthy for a revenge flick.
Whether or not we ever get the rumored third installment of the film is something we’ll just have to wait for. (Though I do think it’d be a fun project for Tarantino now that his Hateful Eight script has been spoiled.) In the meantime, there’s some juicy trivia to soak up from the first two kung fu bloodbaths.
1. The Bride really knows how to time her battles. In Vol. 1, when O-Ren threatens the Bride with “I hope you saved your energy. If you haven’t you may not last five minutes,” the Bride takes exactly 4 minutes and 59 seconds from the music cue to slice O-Ren’s scalp off.
2. The character Pai Mei is based on Bak Mei, an actual kung fu master. Bak Mei is known for developing the “white eyebrow” kung fu technique and is known in Chinese folklore as a rather villainous character for having sold out other kung fu masters to save himself during an attack on Buddhist temples. Eventually, Bak Mei was murdered with some believing him to have been poisoned just as Elle Driver poisoned Pai Mei.
3. Talk about doing Kill Bill started during Pulp Fiction. Quentin Tarantino came up with the idea of doing Kill Bill while talking with Uma Thurman on the set of Pulp Fiction. The two were discussing the types of movies they liked and he expressed his interest in ’70s kung fu movies. They then started hashing out what would become the opening scene of the beaten Bride in her wedding gown.
4. Bill offers up a nod to the Wu Tang Clan in Vol. 2. After injecting the Bride with a truth serum, Bill interrogates her and refers to her as “a natural born killer” and “renegade killer bee.” Both of these are of course references to projects from the Wu Tang Clan and RZA, who wrote original music for both films.
5. Not that many f*cks to give. Vol. 1 was Tarantino’s first movie to feature less than 100 uses of the word f*ck, only clocking in 17 uses.
6. Elle Driver was the only member whose snake nickname wasn’t venomous. Out of the five members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Elle Driver’s California Mountain Kingsnake is the only one that isn’t venomous. Incidentally, this is why Elle makes a failed attempt at killing the bride when she tries to poison her IV in the hospital.
7. Even Bill’s car is a symbol of his status as leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. While the assassins have snake nicknames, Bill is known as the Snake Charmer and drives the Italian sports car De Tomaso Mangusta, which can be seen behind him when he goes to visit Budd at his trailer. Mangusta is Italian for “mongoose” a mammal known for its speed in killing venomous snakes.
8. Quentin Tarantino loans out the Pussy Wagon. Tarantino has the wagon parked in his driveway and regularly drove it during the film’s release as a bit of shameless self-promotion, and has loaned it out on several occasions for video shoots. It makes an appearance in both Missy Elliot’s video for “I’m Really Hot” and Lady Gaga’s video for “Telephone.”
9. The films’ kill ratios were pretty unbalanced. Naturally, Vol. 1 has a lot more deaths than Vol. 2 with the battle between the Crazy 88s, but the the numbers are still pretty skewed. In the first film we see the deaths of 41 people, in the second only three — Budd, Bill and Pai Mei. (We never actually witness Elle die.) And excluding the animation sequence, every person killed is done so by a female character.
10. The Bride’s FU shoe. As the Bride enters the House of Blue Leaves in Vol. 1 for battle we get a shot taken from below the glass floor. If you look quickly you’ll notice that the bottom of her shoe reads “F*ck U” proving that everything about the girl is bad-ass.