As with "Kill Bill, Volume 1," Quentin Tarantino shows his maturation as a bonafide filmmaker--here, he takes familiar themes from westerns and embeds them in a story that rises above the usual action movie fare. In the second half of the tale of "The Bride" (revealed here finally to be "Beatrix Kiddo" in a scene that features an even more witty screen name), Tarantino and star Uma Thurman explore the ramifications of her revenge. At stake are the lives of her innocent daughter and the nefarious Bill, played with terrific, snakelike charisma by David Carradine, who hasn't been this good since TV's "Kung Fu." (People familiar only with the silly 90s TV sequel really missed out on this talented--and under-utilized--actor's ability to carry a scene.) Featuring the great Gordon Liu (seen briefly in the first film), the always oily Michael Madsen, and that other blonde virago, Darryl Hannah, the supporting cast is topnotch, but once again, it's Tarantino's sense of vision that dominates, even if he lifts quite a few images from elsewhere. Check out "homages" to John Ford's "The Searchers," for instance, as referenced in a broken-down trailer. And, as with the previous film, there are great music bits, only some of which, sadly, make it to the soundtrack CD. Fans expecting the faster pace and over-the-top violence of the first film may be disappointed, but those able to get involved in the characters' plights may discover that this film actually delivers a bit more than its predecessor.