Monday, November 03, 2003

Kill Bill update
I was talking to a some friends last night, and a couple things were brought to my attention in relation to my previous post on "Kill Bill".
1): I've been living under a rock. My friends who teach in the high school say that all their students are super excited about the new “Kill Bill” movie. Partly because high school students always like these kind of violent movies, but the Japanese theme of the movie is also important to them. “Kill Bill” is filled with a lot of little references to Japanese cinema, which were all over my head, but not lost on the Japanese viewers. Also, I guess Tarantino has been on Japanese TV and Japanese game shows recently, because of this new interest in him and his movie. I suppose since I work in the Junior high and elementary schools, a certain amount of my ignorance towards the attitudes of High schoolers can be forgiven. I don’t really have a good excuse for not knowing Tarantino has been on Japanese TV regularly. Just goes to show I don’t always know what I’m talking about, and you should always take what I say with a grain of salt. But I still think there was some truth in my previous post, so I've chosen to write this addendum rather than go back and edit the original. The two different posts should perhaps balance each other out.
2): Also (and this is interesting), apparently the Japanese version of "Kill Bill" contains some scenes that were deemed too violent for American audiences. Specifically I guess the animation sequence was longer and more violent in the Japanese version. Also the climatic fight sequence at the end was apparently in black and white in the American movie theaters. Is this right? It was in color here in Japan. And also twice as long, with again more blood and violence than the American version.
So, if you read my previous “Kill Bill” post, and you thought, “Boy, he’s getting a bit squeamish, isn't he? I saw the movie, and I didn't think the violence was that bad.” Then this is possibly because we saw two different movies.
Which brings me to a bit of social commentary: Do you remember the movie, “Bowling for Columbine” when Michael Moore makes the point that it is kind of silly to blame violent media for the violent crime in America, when Europe and Japan have the same violent media, and a fraction of the violent crime? It was a good point I thought, and this is a good example. Another good example is the Japanese film “Battle Royale”, which was a huge hit in Japan. But because of the graphic depictions of high school students killing each other, no major distributor in the US would touch it, and it was essentially unreleaseable in the US. And yet Japan has barely any violent crime, and violent crime in the US is off the charts. Just some food for thought.
Although to be fair, violent crime in Japan has gone up slightly in recent years (still nothing compared to the US, but it has gone up slightly). And some politicians in Japan have blamed violent media like “Battle Royale”. Also refer to point number one--always take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I don’t always know what I’m talking about.
Finally quick movie trivia: Did you know the really evil high school girl in “Kill Bill” was played by the same actress who played the really evil high school girl in “Battle Royale”? No you probably didn't, because it’s almost impossible to find a copy of “Battle Royale” in the US. But it's true.
[My spell checker is telling me "unreleaseable" isn't a real word, but I'm using it anyway].

Kill Bill Update update: Since I originally posted this, I did some surfing around on-line, and confirmed what my friends had told me. Indeed, as mentioned above, the Japanese version is more violent and bloody. You can surf the net and see for yourself if you like. I found conflicting reasons given on line, so I'm not sure which is accurate but either
1) It was trimmed down to secure an R rating in the US or
2) It was decided the Japanese audiences could handle the extra blood and gore better

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