(2004)4Perry SeibertConsidering his über-moviegeek persona, it is easy to forget that Quentin Tarantino is a writer. The reason he has traditionally taken so long between projects is that he hones and shapes his screenplays to near perfection. His camera movements, his editing rhythms, and his soundtracks are fully in his head before he shoots a single frame, and every element of filmmaking is utilized to serve the story -- all while he remains loose enough on the set to adapt to the moment (as he did throughout the creation of the fight sequences in Kill Bill). That unique blend of passion and craft -- call it freewheeling deliberateness -- makes Quentin Tarantino one of the best directors of his generation. The first half of Kill Bill, released to theaters six months before the conclusion, celebrated the moviegeek elements of Tarantino's personality -- specifically the geek who has absorbed every Sonny Chiba movie. Where Volume 1 offered the most visually freewheeling Tarantino work ever, Volume 2 showcases how deliberate his intentions are. Take the training sequence with Pai Mei: This looks like every kung fu movie that ever played on a Saturday afternoon on your local UHF station. The cheesy zooms, the arch dialogue, and the faux-mystical bearded mentor are all intricately planned and in place. These elements are not kitsch; Tarantino genuinely loves these genre tropes and wants nothing more than to share that love with the audience while never taking his eye off the story. This is exactly what he accomplishes in Kill Bill, and he does it with confidence. For each Perils of Pauline-like death that awaits The Bride, Tarantino has taken great effort to explain how the skills she has developed over time allow her to escape. That is never more true than in the climactic face-off with Bill. Thank goodness Warren Beatty ended up not playing the part because it is hard to fathom a more perfect choice than David Carradine, whose work here, with his deep, laconic voice and subtly menacing physical confidence, recalls Robert Mitchum. Their nearly 40-minute showdown is much more mental and emotional than physical. That the performers, the film, and the audience so easily adjusts to this new battlefield reveals the writer in Tarantino -- and makes clear his remarkable achievement. Tarantino proves, as he has with each of his films, that a good story well-told will support any and all visual flourishes. He has not transcended the generic revenge story line he has utilized, he has simply made one of the best possible films of that type. While other movie geeks will spend years cataloguing the various musical and camera lifts in Kill Bill, the people who understand and appreciate fine storytelling should marvel at how -- in just four movies -- Tarantino has become arguably the best crime writer of his generation.