Beatrix Kiddo is the protagonist-of-many-names from the two Kill Bill films by Tarantino, and she’s probably one of the greatest, yet most under-appreciated characters the action genre of movies has ever brought us. It’s no secret that women aren’t exactly common in action movies, particularly as protagonists, so Beatrix is a breath of fresh air and certainly worthy of more recognition than she gets. She’s more than handy with a samurai sword, proficient in a number of martial arts skills and is perfectly capable of putting the likes of Bruce Willis, Jason Statham and even Arnold Schwarzenegger to shame.
Here’s a little background. Beatrix is an assassin, formerly a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad led by Bill. When she suddenly falls pregnant with Bill’s baby, she disappears off the map to start a new, more stable life. Of course, eventually Bill finds her, during her wedding recital, and Bill and his squad slaughter every single person in there; except Beatrix, and her baby. Just to clarify, she survives a severe beating by a number of her former colleagues and a bullet to the head. Yep; Bill shoots her in the head.
So, for starters she survives what most would consider a death sentence. Fast forward four years, to the moment when Beatrix pulls up outside the home of Vernita Green, a former assassin and colleague, wherein some sweet hand-to-hand combat ensues, interrupted only by Vernita’s young daughter returning home. A few scenes later, Beatrix literally dodges a bullet shot by Vernita and proceeds to kill the woman in front of her daughter, leaving her with only a few words of bitter consolation and a kitchen floor coated in cereal. Remember that death sentence I mentioned? Cut back to the present and she’s waking up from that death sentence in a hospital bed, ripping out a guy’s tongue with her teeth and dragging herself out of the building and into the one and only Pussy Wagon. Oh, and she practically wills the feeling to return to her legs.
Throughout the series Beatrix continues her acrimonious rampage with her newly-acquired Hattori Hanzo sword, one that the man himself considers his finest blade. Aside from knowing how to handle a sword, she also has at her disposal the teachings of Pai Mei, a legendary kung-fu master and teacher of a number of the assassins including Beatrix. After a considerable amount of respect, commitment and back-breaking labour, Beatrix had mastered the Bak Mei style of kung-fu, the Three Inch Punch, and eventually Pai Mei’s sacred secret, The Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Not only had she managed to master this last move, but she was the only student to have even been deemed worthy of learning it by Pai Mei – clearly no mean feat in itself.
Armed with her ‘Japanese steel’ and her host of kung-fu skills Beatrix takes down the entire Deadly Viper Assassination Squad one by one. She single-handedly defeats the Crazy 88, O-Ren Ishii’s personal army, along with all of her bodyguards, including Johnny Mo and Gogo, an insane 17-year old whose weapon of choice is enough to make anyone consider backing down. She even continues to fight after O-Ren slashes her across the back, eventually slicing off the top of O-Ren’s head and leaving her to die in the snow.
Even when Budd, Bill’s brother and former member of the squad, thinks he’s finally finished Beatrix off by burying her alive, he’s severely underestimated her abilities. Think back to the Three Inch Punch I mentioned before; she uses this to punch through the wood of her coffin, hauls herself through several feet of dirt and makes her way back to Budd’s trailer. Elle Driver, another former squad member, kills Budd herself with a black mamba whilst they make a trade. Before she has chance to leave she is ambushed by Beatrix and a sword fight begins, only coming to an end when Beatrix plucks out Elle’s remaining eye and abandons her, thrashing, screaming and now blind, in the trailer. Even the deadly black mamba avoids her as she makes her leave.
Eventually Beatrix finds Bill, her last target and most lethal competition. When she finds him she also finds her long lost daughter, and after much conversation which includes Bill’s famous Superman speech, a short but sweet fight occurs. Short, because Beatrix quickly finishes Bill using The Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique, sealing his fate and delivering the last blow of retribution.
In conclusion? Don’t mess with Beatrix Kiddo.