The first film in six years from acclaimed writer-director Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. 1 is certain to create a stir. As with all of Tarantino's films, music plays a major role. For Kill Bill Vol. 1, a martial arts flick about an assassin who seeks revenge, The RZA from the multiplatinum-selling Wu-Tang Clan takes centerstage, surrounded by the sort of vintage, quirky tracks that made the soundtracks to Tarantino films such as Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown such fan favorites.
Fashion be damned: Pop culture is just one big Hometown Buffet for writer-director Quentin Tarantino. Nowhere has that sensibility been more apparent than on his hand-picked soundtrack choices, and this oft tongue-in-cheek tale of a female assassin's revenge (his first film in six years) is no exception. With dizzy, almost palpable glee, Tarantino evokes the international hall-of-mirrors influences that energize martial arts films and much of Asian pop culture in general. Thus the hip-hop of Wu Tang's RZA (who, along with composer Charles Bernstein, concocts what passes for the score's traditional cues) somehow finds itself but one ingredient in a heady souffle that includes vintage TV and film cue rarities (Al Hirt's main title from The Green Hornet
, Bernard Herrmann's haunting theme from Twisted Nerve
, the spaghetti western melodrama of Luis Bacalov's "The Grand Duel," Isaac Hayes in full blaxploitation mode on "Run Fay Run"), Charlie Feathers' vintage rockabilly and a pan-kitsch sensibility that encompasses Zamfir, Nancy Sinatra's angst-in-the-pants take "Bang, Bang" and Santa Esmeralda's disco-era workout of "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." Tarantino's contemporary Japan-Pop selections are no less giddy, ranging from Meiko Kaji's sultry "Flower of Carnage" to The 22.214.171.124's loopy "Woo Hoo." It's everything we've come to expect from a Tarantino score (including dialog excerpts and a few sound fx stingers), with a madcap trip around the pop music world thrown in for good measure. -- Jerry McCulley