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Kill Bill: The Bloodstained Bride
A Vol. 1 + 2 combo NO ANIME cut upscaled to 4K. Runtime 3 hours 45 minutes.
To edit a “definitive” 4K Kill Bill (Vol. 1 and 2 combined) for myself. Cinemassacre had some interesting ideas, but I wasn’t up for chopping away a lot of content just for the sake of a “standard” runtime for a strict three-act structure. Rather, my focus is maintaining a sense of OVERALL rising conflict/action along with the ebb and flow of using a Chapter format.
Two of his ideas that really stood out to me were:
1. Moving the Nikkia scene (seeing the death of her mother) to be a reveal at the end.
2. Moving the House of Blue Leaves (epic fight with the Yakuza gang) closer to the end.
I used the first idea (Nikkia) with my own take on it. For the second one, I didn’t like moving the entire 30+ minute House of Blue Leaves chapter; instead, I split it up into two parts. Only the Crazy 88’s and final fight with O-Ren are relocated closer to the end. The preliminary battle rounds, including the fight with Gogo STAY RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE (right Sophie?). This split gives the combined films an overall feeling of rising conflict.
Cinemassacre’s approach isn’t quite right for me for three reasons:
The extra, often very bloody, footage from the Japanese DVD release (Vol. 1) is incorporated but has been very carefully processed to blend in. Yes the SD actually blends in pretty well in 4K! The only extra Vol. 1 footage I did not use (other than the anime) was two alternate (low quality) shots in Copperhead’s kitchen and one extra second of Sophie spurting blood immediately after her first amputation. The quality was so poor on the DVD (because it was a long shot).
- It aims for a runtime of 2 hours. I prefer to keep as much content as possible (other than anime).
- The reason the flashback to the Two Pines Chapel in Vol. 2 works so well is because we know what is about to happen. Everything is thus framed in an ominous, suspenseful light. Moving it to be an opening scene takes that element away and it mostly becomes an out of context head scratcher (from the perspective of a first time viewer).
- It is imperative to set up the fact that the Bride can pluck out eyeballs well BEFORE the fight with Elle in Bud’s trailer. This way it doesn’t come completely out of left field and it feels like something we should have anticipated yet we’re still surprised about. Cinemassacre’s scene rearrangement would cause the lesser of the two eye pluckings to be shown after the first. Not very satisfying.
Some other great edits also use the Japanese extra DVD footage, but I can tell right away when they switch over to it because of the sudden noticeable loss of quality. I wanted to address that issue in my own personal cut.
The only Chapter completely cut is the anime sequence. The anime itself was ok (nothing extraordinary), but for me, the storyline going on such an unnecessary tangent detracts much more than it adds. If the anime is a dealbreaker, this edit is not gonna be your cup of sake.
Moving a different Chapter (the wedding rehearsal a.k.a Massacre at Two Pines) in place of the anime chapter makes this a much stronger film.
Since the chapel scene now comes much earlier, I hid/removed full shots of Bill’s face during it to maintain his cool, mysterious vibe. And boy it works better than I imagined.
Only after Beatrix gets the upper hand and sends Sophie as a gruesome warning to Bill, does the audience then see Bill’s face in full— when he comes out of hiding to warn his brother, Bud. Bill, at that point, is on the defense, a demystified, regular old human being.
Full Change List:
- Removes/replaces credits given for the original distributor / main producer. F that guy and the company he founded.
- Subtitles for foreign language parts are burned in using a font with an Asian aesthetic. Split and re-times sentences to line up with the spoken rhythm, so we feel the same sense of apprehension as the spoken part.
- With the Miramax intro gone, uses an alternate and longer version of the Shaw Brothers intro logo.
- Keeps both the opening tribute and the Klingon Proverb.
- Adds THE BLOODSTAINED BRIDE to the title.
- Adds artwork to Chapter cards.
- In Copperhead’s kitchen, uses mostly the US version of the scene but with a cut to the coffee cups.
- Retitles the Chapter The Blood-Splattered Bride to be less similar to the title of this edit. Now it’s called The Blood-Spattered Angel (which is what the sheriff actually calls her).
- Removes the anime chapter (replaced by the Chapter, Massacre at Two Pines).
- With the chapter move/replacement, updates multiple Chapter titles as needed to renumber them.
- Massacre at Two Pines is the only chapter that gets some significant trimming. Bill’s full face is strategically not shown at the chapel.
- When Elle walks into the hospital fixes/reduces a glaring color grade change mid-scene (an error in the original).
- Does not translate to English a few times when Hanzo and his sidekick speak in English (albeit in a heavy accent).
- Beatrix, in narration, does not refer to O-Ren as a “half breed” as this is out of character for her.
- Trims out O-Ren screaming at the boss meeting, making her much more badass in the scene.
- House of Blue Leaves Chapter is divided in half. First half (before the arrival of the Crazy 88) focuses on Sophie and is retitled “The wicked life of Sophie Fatale.”
- After Gogo dies and the “silly rabbit, tricks are for kids” dialogue, we skip forward past the arrival of the Crazy 88’s— on to Sophie getting dumped at the hospital. Adds an appropriate title card to explain the time shift: “Eighty-eight tricks later.”
- Adds scene of Sofie’s 2nd amputation while she explains her ordeal to Bill.
- Removes the early reveal at the end of Vol 1.
- Removes the teaser flash forwards from the end of Vol. 1 and the recap from the beginning of Vol. 2. Keeps the flashback to Hattori Hanzo talking about revenge being like a forest.
- The first we see of Bill’s face is him visiting his brother, Bud.
- As Bill and Bud discuss the Crazy 88 fighting Beatrix, we flashback to some snippets (in black and white) of her sword fighting and plucking out an eye.
- Slight trim of a few facial expressions from Bud as he talks to Bill.
- No cropped aspect ratio when Beatrix is locked in the back of Bud's pickup truck.
- Changes subtitles to reflect what Pai Mei is actually saying. Feels much more genuine. Adds in a rather f'd up line from Pai Mei about a cripple being stronger than Beatrix.
- After Beatrix defeats Elle, we return to the second half of House of Blue Leaves, beginning with the arrival of the Crazy 88’s. This Chapter is re-titled “Bloodbath at House of Blue Leaves.”
- Uses a re-inked (color) version of the High Definition sword fight with the Crazy 88.
- Corrects one of O-Ren’s subtitled lines during sword fight to, “Finish her!” She didn’t actually say “Tear the bitch apart!” She literally says “Do.” The specific word used has a sense of finality so it’s translated as finish.
- Bill, in the end, fully takes the high ground and does not refer to Beatrix (even jokingly) as a cunt.
- As Beatrix cries on the bathroom floor while BB watches cartoons, cuts to flashback of Nikkia witnessing her mother’s murder (idea from Cinemassacre). Flashback is in black and white to parallel the B+W of Beatrix’s inciting incident at the chapel.
- End Credits from Vol. 2 used but changes out the goofy rap song for some good Bacalov from the soundtrack.
- No outtake after the credits.
Some of the 4K in this upscale is really quite stunning, one example is the the snow garden outside the House of Blue Leaves.
For a standard upscale I use the 2x upscale in Topaz which gives a noticeable, good enhancement. This works great on most of the material. But some scenes show even further improvement in Topaz.
Some footage with a lot of visual detail going on and without a lot of fast motion, combines a processing “take” done in Topaz along with separate “take” using Resolve’s standard upscale method. In Topaz a preset algorithm is used for general enhancement— best for objects like cars, buildings, backgrounds, etc. Then people’s faces from the standard upscale are used instead of the rubbery-looking faces from Topaz. With rotoscoping, the two layers are merged together.
The result is an excellent enhancement minus the distracting artifacts.
Updated Chapter List:
Chapter 1: 2
Chapter 2: A blood-spattered ANGEL
Chapter 3: Massacre at Two Pines
Chapter 4: The MAN From OKINAWA
Chapter 5: The wicked life of Sophie Fatale
Chapter 6: The lonely grave of Paula Schulz
Chapter 7: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
Chapter 8: ELLE and I
Chapter 9: Bloodbath at House of Blue Leaves
Last Chapter: Face to Face