The Bride (Kill Bill)
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|Kill Bill character|
The Bride fighting the Crazy 88
|First appearance||Kill Bill: Volume 1|
|Last appearance||Kill Bill: Volume 2|
|Created by||Quentin Tarantino
|Portrayed by||Uma Thurman|
Beatrix Kiddo (primarily known as The Bride), codename Black Mamba, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the two-part movie Kill Bill directed by Quentin Tarantino. She is portrayed by Uma Thurman and was selected by Empire Magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Entertainment Weekly also named her as one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.
According to Uma Thurman, the character was created collaboratively during the filming of Pulp Fiction, with Thurman providing the character's first name and Tarantino her last name. After the release of Kill Bill: Volume 2, Tarantino commented that he “love[s] the Bride” and that he “killed [him]self to put her in a good place” at the end of the two-part film.
Tarantino has said he saved most of The Bride's nuanced character development for the second half: “As far as the first half is concerned, I didn't want to make her sympathetic. I wanted to make her scary.” Thurman cited Clint Eastwood's performance in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as a central inspiration for her performance because, in her words, Eastwood "says almost nothing but somehow manages to portray a whole character.”
Beatrix Kiddo's past
Kiddo is a former member of the "Deadly Viper Assassination Squad", an elite, shadowy group of assassins. A formidable, ruthless warrior trained under martial arts master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), she served at the right hand of Bill (David Carradine), her boss and lover, a position that provoked the furious envy of fellow Viper Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah).
Kiddo, a master of the Hung Gar style of kung fu, is the only Viper to learn the "Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique", an assassination method of killing a person by quickly striking five pressure points around the heart with the fingertips. After the victim takes five steps, the heart explodes and he/she falls dead. Pai Mei supposedly refused to teach this technique, which was said to be "the deadliest blow in all of martial arts", to Bill or anyone else. Kiddo's determination wins his respect, however, and he teaches her the forbidden technique – a secret that Kiddo withholds from Bill until they meet for their final showdown.
Kill Bill: Volume 1
These events are described as they happen in chronological order. In standard Tarantino style (nonlinear narrative), the film does not tell the story chronologically.
Kiddo is first seen on the day of her wedding rehearsal in rural Texas, pregnant and living under the name "Arlene Machiavelli", having previously left Bill and abandoned the Vipers. Bill finds her, however, and gatecrashes her wedding rehearsal with the other Vipers and murders everyone inside. Bill then shoots her in the head, leaving her in a coma. Just before Bill shoots her, she tells him that it is his baby.
She remains comatose for four years, during which she is raped and prostituted by an orderly named Buck (Michael Bowen). After being bitten by a mosquito, she awakens moments before Buck brings in a man intent on raping her. She kills her would-be rapist and Buck, and steals his truck. After willing her atrophied limbs into action, she begins a mission of revenge on the other Vipers.
She then travels to Okinawa, where she convinces the legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzō (Sonny Chiba) to come out of retirement and forge a katana for her. After getting the sword, Kiddo arrives at the "House of Blue Leaves", where she intends to kill O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), who is the head of the Tokyo Yakuza.
Kiddo captures O-Ren's lawyer Sofie Fatale (Julie Dreyfus) and brings her to O-Ren, where she cuts off Sofie's left arm and challenges O-Ren to a duel. Kiddo first kills the six members of the Crazy 88 who were with O-Ren, then battles O-Ren's bodyguard Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama) in single combat, killing her as well. The rest of the Crazy 88 – led by Johnny Mo – arrive. She kills, injures, and dismembers them. She then faces off against O-Ren in a dramatic sword fight in a snow-covered garden. At the end of the duel, Kiddo cuts off the top of O-Ren's head, killing her.
After killing O-Ren, Kiddo interrogates Sofie Fatale for the locations of the rest of the members of the Vipers threatening to dismember her more if she refuses to speak. She then sends her rolling down a hill to a hospital for medical attention so she could tell Bill what had transpired. Bill reveals that Kiddo's child is actually alive.
Kiddo then finds Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), who had renounced her life as a hired killer and started anew in a quiet suburban neighborhood with her husband and daughter. Kiddo shows up at her doorstep and engages her in a brutal fight. However, during the fight, Green's daughter Nikki comes home from school, and Kiddo is unwilling to kill Green in front of her child. Green tries to apologize for what she had done, but Kiddo is implacable. Green shoots at her with a handgun concealed in a cereal box, but misses, and Kiddo quickly throws a knife at Green, killing her. Nikki goes to the kitchen just in time to see Kiddo kill her mother. Kiddo tells the girl that it was not her intent to kill Green in front of her; and that if she wishes to avenge her mother's death when she grows up, Kiddo would be waiting.
Kill Bill: Volume 2
Vol. 2 expands on the circumstances of Kiddo's shooting. While on an assassination assignment to kill Lisa Wong, Kiddo discovers she is pregnant with Bill's baby. Immediately after, she is confronted by Karen Kim, an assassin sent by Lisa Wong to kill her. During the resulting stand-off, Kiddo convinces Karen to pick up the positive pregnancy strip from the floor. The two mutually agree to abort their missions and go home. Kiddo runs away and cuts off contact with Bill and the Deadly Vipers, assuming a new identity as Arlene Machiavelli. She gets engaged to Tommy Plympton and starts a new life working in a used record store in El Paso, Texas. Bill finds her on the day of her wedding rehearsal and pretends to give her his blessing. Moments later, he leads the Vipers in massacring the wedding party in the chapel, and shoots Kiddo in the head, putting her in a coma.
The film then returns to where Vol. 1 left off. After killing O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green, Kiddo goes after Budd (Michael Madsen), Bill's brother. Laying in wait underneath Budd's trailer, she charges in the front door only to be shot in the chest by Budd with a shotgun loaded with rock salt. He sedates her and calls Elle Driver, Kiddo's arch-rival within the Vipers, to bargain a price for Kiddo's Hanzo sword. Budd and an accomplice then take her to a graveyard and bury her alive. During her imprisonment, she recalls her rigorous training sessions under the tutelage of the martial arts master, Pai Mei. Using one of the many techniques she learned from him, Kiddo breaks open the casket and goes back to Budd's trailer just as Driver arrives to claim the Hanzo sword. Driver hides a black mamba in the suitcase of money she brought, killing Budd. Kiddo gets the drop on Driver and engages her in a vicious battle. With Kiddo's sword, Driver seems to gain the advantage, but Kiddo sees Budd's own Hanzo sword and readies herself. During the fight, Driver taunts Kiddo by telling her that she killed Pai Mei. Enraged, Kiddo tears out Driver's other eye, leaving her completely blind, and leaves her inside the trailer with the angry black mamba still inside. Kiddo then pursues her final target, Bill.
When she finds him, from information provided by Esteban Vihaio (Michael Parks), she discovers that their daughter, B.B. (Perla Haney-Jardine), whom she presumed had died in utero, is alive and well. They spend the evening together as a family until B.B. goes to bed, and then Bill and Kiddo talk. Bill shoots Kiddo with a truth serum. While it takes effect, Bill explains – using Superman as an analogy – that even if she had gotten married and lived a normal life, she would never be able to change her true nature. Beatrix admits that she left because she wanted their daughter to have a chance at a normal life, but that she knows deep down that she will never have a normal life herself.
At the end of their conversation, a brief fight ensues where Kiddo fatally strikes Bill using the "Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique." As Bill dies, the two forgive each other and make their peace. He then walks five steps and falls to the ground, dead. Kiddo then disappears with B.B. in the middle of the night. The final scene shows Kiddo and B.B. driving off into the sunset to begin a new life.
Beatrix Kiddo was well received by audiences. Empire Magazine ranked the character 66th out of 100 in its list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Entertainment Weekly also named The Bride as 99th on its 2010 list of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.
- Adam B. Vary (June 1, 2010). "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Thurman, Uma (June 4, 2010). "99, Kill Bill's The Bride".
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- Ansen, David (Nov 13, 2003). Interview with Quentin Tarantino. "Pulp Friction". Newsweek.
- Thurman, Uma (June 4, 2010). "99, Kill Bill's The Bride". Entertainment Weekly.
- LiveScience Staff (March 19, 2013). "Kiddo Wasp Named for 'Kill Bill' Assassin". LiveScience. TechMediaNetwork. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
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