Deadly Viper Assassination Squad
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|Deadly Viper Assassination Squad|
They were, as their name suggests, an assassin squad, organised and operated by Bill, during which time he is known to have been carrying on a romance with Kiddo (his girlfriend and protégée), whom he eventually impregnates just prior to her running away and going into hiding.
Although its name suggests that the members of the team are all codenamed with vipers' names, the Black Mamba and the California Mountain Snake are not, in fact, members of the Viperidae family; the Black Mamba is a member of the Elapidae family, and the California Mountain Snake belongs to the Colubridae family of snakes. These two exceptions represent Beatrix Kiddo and Elle Driver, respectively. Which is interesting considering that both share several characteristics, exclusive to them amongst the rest of the DeVAS; they are the romantic interests of Bill at various times, as well as both being blonde, Caucasian, and both having been personally trained by Pai Mei, Bill's own martial arts master.
At the time of The Bride's revenge, the group has largely disbanded. Vernita lives as a housewife with her young daughter, O-Ren is a Yakuza crime boss in Tokyo, Budd is an alcoholic bouncer at a strip club and living in a trailer in the desert, while Bill is depicted mostly as a wealthy, retired killer and criminal, to whom Elle remains steadfastly, if not fanatically devoted, ever jealous of the seemingly unattainable place in Bill's heart which Beatrix stubbornly fills. The Bride, herself, has just recovered from a four-year coma, which started when the others came to her wedding rehearsal and massacred the wedding party, mistakenly leaving her alive. Bill delivers what he believes to be the coup de grâce as revenge for her walking out on him. Their daughter is delivered while she is in coma, and is being raised by Bill, without her knowledge.
Although never explicitly stated, it is heavily implied, and ultimately demonstrated, that Black Mamba is the most lethal and skilled of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, with the possible exception of Bill, himself, thus making her the deadliest woman on the planet. Although, ultimately, she defeats even Bill, making her second to none in terms of strength, skill and stamina.
Many of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad wield katana and, in the case of Bill and Budd, they are forged by Hattori Hanzō, an Okinawan sword maker of legendary standing who, when made aware of her intent to kill Bill, comes out of retirement to make his final masterpiece, The Bride's samurai sword.
Bill, The Bride and Elle Driver are trained by Pai Mei, a Chinese martial arts master who is later poisoned by Elle Driver. Besides their training in the martial arts, they are also fluent in several languages, well-versed in the use of firearms, and skilled in various assassination, espionage, surveillance and weapon combat techniques. Some members seem to have personal specialties. O-Ren seems to favor ranged weapons, as a sniper rifle in her flashback and as throwing darts in the confrontation at the House of Blue Leaves. Vernita favours close combat, opting to use knives, as stated by the Bride, quoting Bill. Elle seems to favour poisons, as seen in a flashback of her using this tactic to murder Pai Mei, and attempting to use poison against the comatose Bride, before Bill stops her. She also indirectly uses poison against Budd by way of a hidden black mamba snake. Budd, himself, seems to favour firearms, as he is seen toting an M4 carbine assault rifle as the DeVAS approach, and enter, the Two Pines wedding chapel, where The Bride is performing her wedding rehearsal. Later, he fires a shotgun shell, pre-loaded with rock salt, into The Bride when she bursts into his trailer to kill him.
Only Bill and Kiddo are never seen to demonstrate a preference for any specific weapon or tactic, seemingly being proficient in the use of all types of weapons and tactics, having fully and properly trained under Pai Mei. Bill's codename – "Snake Charmer" – may refer either to his demonstrated musical acuity with the flute, or perhaps may imply that his specialty in fact lies in his way with women as, save for Bill, himself, and his brother Budd, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad is composed entirely of women.
Beatrix Kiddo kills Vernita Green, O-Ren Ishii and, ultimately, Bill, himself, in her righteous quest for revenge. Budd is killed, quite fittingly, by a black mamba snake which Elle Driver conceals in a suitcase filled with money. As for Driver, herself, it is left ambiguous as to whether she survives; regardless, she is left fully blinded by Kiddo, locked up with the black mamba that killed Budd, ranting and screaming in an isolated desert trailer.
At the end of the film, all the characters who have been killed have their names crossed out on Kiddo's list, but Elle's name instead has a question mark over the top of it, leaving her fate unknown.
The five assassins of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad are a reference to the Five Deadly Venoms, a group of five Hong Kong action actors employed by Run Run Shaw in many old Shaw Brothers martial arts films that were part of the inspiration for Kill Bill. The actors first worked together in a movie called The Five Deadly Venoms, and were referred to as such when seen in later movies together. In another Tarantino movie, Pulp Fiction, Mia Wallace (also played by Uma Thurman) states that she worked on a pilot episode of "Fox Force Five", which included five very different women with special talents that are similar to the talents of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. It was also mentioned in Pulp Fiction that her character was "the deadliest woman in the world with a knife", whereas in Kill Bill Vernita Green is described by The Bride as such. It is also of note that the list of names that Thurman's character makes in Kill Bill is titled "Death List Five". Tarantino also cited the 1973 Ted V. Mikels film The Doll Squad as an inspiration.
- While Sofie Fatale is not an official member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, she was at least involved in their operations and is in personal contact with Bill (who is mentioned to have previously been her mentor).
- Bill has been shown telling at least three members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad that he loves them: The Bride, Elle Driver (on the phone) and Budd (on an inscription on his Hanzo sword).
- The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad are mentioned in the science fiction novel Glasshouse by Charles Stross.