As The Passion slides down the box office charts and prepares to make its inevitable exit from the top ten, extreme violence continues to dominate the screens this week. This time, though, the violence is in service of revenge tales—one an outrageous, tongue-in-cheek, martial arts spectacle, the other a simple comic book adaptation.

Kill Bill 2: Tarantino's strengths, weaknesses divide critics

The Bride (Uma Thurman) is back in Kill Bill Vol. 2, this week's box office champ. In this episode, we learn her name and a whole lot more. We learn why her fiancé and her wedding party were slaughtered by a killer named Bill (David Carradine). We learn what happened to the Bride's daughter, who was revealed to be alive at the end of Vol. 1. We also meet her trainer, an indignant, impish martial arts master named Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), and we learn the extent to which she has mastered murderous maneuvers. These deadly talents then assist her in her desperate quest to find and destroy her malevolent nemesis.

While the film certainly serves up the graphic violence you'd expect from a Quentin Tarantino film, it also delivers far more character development, dialogue, and storytelling than Vol. 1. This is catching many critics by surprise, impressing some of them, discouraging others. It is worth noting that the Bride is fighting in order to break free from "the life" of a criminal, just as Samuel L. Jackson's character did in Pulp Fiction. But her methods for doing so are not as level-headed. She's on "a roaring rampage of revenge."

Mainstream critics, who condemned The Passion for its onscreen violence, suddenly seem to have decided that there's nothing wrong with R-rated brutality whatsoever. Most of them give KB2 high praise. ...

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