Welcome back to Women Who Wow Wednesday, the series about female characters I admire in film and TV. If you’re looking for additional WWW Wednesday posts, you can find them under the Features box of this site. Have fun!
Boy, oh, boy… I’ve wanted to write about this character for so long. I think it’s time. Back a few years ago, she rocked my world. I just hope I can do her justice with my homage to her character. Bear with me as I gather my thoughts.
In the first movie, the audience simply knows her as The Bride, a blonde of unassuming demeanor. Beaten to an unrecognizable blob by members of her own gang the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, she rises from the pool of her own juices, seeking those who betrayed her. One by one, she exacts revenge, leaving no one behind.
Who is she?
She’s Beatrix Kiddo. Although we don’t know that until the second movie where with her bare hands she cracks open the coffin they buried her in and continues to spread her wave of terror on those miserable traitors who left her for dead. The conclusion is when she comes face to face with the mastermind of the perpetration—Bill.
When the studio A Band Apart Films released Quentin Tarantino’s ode to the Seventies Kung-Fu genre, it placed a solid bet of its success on the performance of Uma Thurman. After all, she worked in Tarantino’s first movie Pulp Fiction, how could they lose? Wow, did they sure win on that wager. The statuesque actress’ character cut, maimed, killed, decapitated, disemboweled, hurt, pounced, exterminated, vanquished, conquered, splattered, squished, destroyed, terminated, disfigured, mutilated, injured, slaughtered, and slew anything and everything that stood in her way. Here was a character with the single-minded resolve to hunt down and kill any collaborator who had turned on her. She was perfect.
And the box office loved her. A $30 Million budget—the film grossed $180 Million worldwide.
Her weapon of choice? A Samurai sword fashioned by Hattori Hanzo. The finest katana sword he ever created. And, the deadliest. With it, The Bride cut down the Crazy 88. But let her bare hands not fool you. She used them to pluck the eye out of Daryl Hannah’s character Elle Driver. And let’s not forget the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique she ultimately delivered on David Carradine’s character, Bill. She gave a whole new meaning to the phrase: He died of a broken heart.
If anything is clear, when the character The Bride made her debut in 2003, she not only made money for the studio, she also became a symbol of what was missing in movies a decade ago: A strong, leading lady, with determination and potency well above her male counterparts.
What do you think of Uma Thurman’s brutal portrayal of The Bride? Did she set the bar too high, leaving other female leads to rethink their acceptance of leading roles in action flicks? Let me know. Leave me a comment!