Kill Bill, the much-hyped "fourth film from Quentin Tarantino," is a genre fan's dream. A cinematic love letter to the type of grindhouse flick that QT grew up on, Kill Bill is a tale of revenge told in the best possible way: with loss of blood, loss of limbs and loss of life, though not necessarily in that order.
Once the deadliest woman on the planet, the assassin known as Black Mamba gave everything up for a normal life. However, old times came calling on her wedding day, killing her husband-to-be and leaving her in a coma for four years. Now the bride is back, and she wants just one thing; to clear up some unfinished business. To kill Bill.
You just gotta love a movie that revels in its unabashed violence, particularly when that movie's so damn fun. Kill! Hack! Maim! Slash! Even more than that, you gotta love a toy company that recognizes that fans will buy action figures based on said orgy of viscera. Go NECA!
It hasn't taken NECA long to prove themselves one of the best toy companies around today. It was just last year that their first line of action figures, Hellraiser, hit shelves and sold out within weeks. They've torn through the market, grabbing the licenses that even the other "maverick" companies are afraid to touch. Their newest, and so far best, is a set of five Kill Bill figures. And you know no line of Kill Bill figures could be complete without the Bride.
Beatrix in her bike leathers, and it also shows the type of references Tarantino digs: this is obviously inspired by Bruce Lee's jumpsuit in the abominably butchered Game of Death, last seen in action-figure form from Art Asylum. Now a two-piece, the outfit looks great in plastic form.
What doesn't look great is the Bride's face. Yeah, it looks like Uma Thurman, but she's not an attractive woman. While it seems that Quentin's got some kind of jones for her, he's not exactly Mr. Handsome himself, you know? The Bride's got a great look on her blood-splattered face: you can tell she's not looking at her attackers, but beyond them to her real target. Dave Cortes is one of the best portrait sculptors around, and he did a great job on the Bride, from her stringy hair to her (fully licensed) Asics.
Uma Thurman had approval rights over more than just her likeness - she got final say over every stage of the process from pose to packaging, and she used it to make sure that The Bride was wielding her sword accurately. The figure is depicted in a haso no kamai, or horse-riding, stance. In this warning posture, the Bride is telling her enemies that she intends to cut their heads off in one stroke. Her hands aren't in exactly the right position, and she should be holding the sword higher - with the tsuba (handguard) up by her eyes - but it's a decent effort for a "silly Caucasian girl [who] likes to play with samurai swords."
The figure comes with her Hattori Hanzo sword, though the blade isn't quite as curved as it is in the film. The metal bits have been vac-metallized to make them look more realistic, and the lion crest near the hilt has not been forgotten. The sword can fit in the included sheath, which is as accurately styled as everything else.
The Bride also includes a replacement right hand, which is molded to hold her final accessory: a board with a nail in it. Well, three nails, but you get the idea. It's perfect for smashing things. Or people.
The Bride comes with one of two bases, both from the showdown at the House of Blue Leaves. The first, originally intended to complement the base of O-Ren Ishii, is a pile of snow. The second is for the Crazy 88s, a section of the glass-covered zen garden from the bar's interior. NECA did a good job of making the base look like real raked sand, and though the "Blue Leaves" base is a very irregular shape, it fits together with the Crazies' bases to form a nice little diorama.
It's great that we've gotten such cool figures of such a killer movie. It would be better if they were more articulated, but you still get a wider range of motion out of these ass-kickers than you did from McFarlane's Matrix line.
Kill Bill 2: better or worse than the original? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.