Some things will always be cool- Audrey Hepburn, Appetite for Destruction, and cigarettes, for instance. They are immune to the usual instability of coolness thoroughly detailed by the “What’s Hot, What’s Not” list in People magazine. Kill Bill knows what’s always cool – namely, Asian cinema – the wuxia kung fu, the heroic bloodshed, the chop socky slice ‘n’ dice ‘em show downs, and the babes ‘n’ bullets who are in the middle of it all. Quentin Tarantino may never live up to Roger Ebert’s post-Pulp Fiction prediction of becoming “a bold new voice in American filmmaking bound to make a movie that cures a serious illness,” but he is certainly passionate. Bill comes across as the ultimate love letter-cum-homage to the Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest films that were first to teach us even a stubbed toe could result in somebody spitting up a quart of blood in slow motion.

In some ways, Kill Bill resembles another recent movie, Once Upon Time in Mexico. They both have subtext about the new American imperialism, but neither was likely meant as such. I’m guessing both were simply intended as high-flying comic books constructed by a couple of video geek, do-it-yourselfers who were making movies for nobody but themselves. Even Johnny Depp, however, could not rescue the narrative chaos that drowned Mexico. Kill Bill, conversely, has an undemanding and predictable story, if it can even be called a story. A one-trick revenge fantasy may be more appropriate. But the chic ballet of violence that Tarantino achieves is a beautiful thing.

I don’t know how this movie will be received by an audience who have been targeted their entire lives by the cynical prostitutes who release Charlie’s Angels and Bad Boys movies. They may not be impressed by the lack of any new-fangled, FX stunts. Or they may be disappointed that the soundtrack by the RZA does not sound more like the Wu Tang Clan. It is my hope, though, that they will be enticed by the operatic orgy of lost limbs and martial arts in the same way a baby is instinctively drawn to its mother’s milk.

Kill Bill is not perfect. It lacks the consistent snap in its dialogue that made Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction so compelling. I also think masking the real identity of the main character in favor of a smooth alias, “The Bride,” may just be a way to inspire the creation of fan-based web sites entirely devoted to discovering her true name (I’ve found two so far, and started one of my own- ).

For some reason, the movie has been split into two volumes. Unless, as my friend pointed out, volume two is four hours long, it’s probably just a way to make more money. That’s money that I will be more than happy to spend unless I can figure a way to sneak in. On a scale of famous body parts in cinema, where Bunny Lebowski’s toe is a 1, and the human torso/guitar in From Dusk Till Dawn is a 10, Kill Bill rates Braveheart’s head, the numerical equivalent of an 8.2.