Kill Bill and Revenge Film Tropes

Oddly enough, when I was between the two Kill Bill films, I stumbled upon this article. It focuses on female protagonists in revenge films such as Kill Bill. It asks a question that seemed similar to the one posed on the Girlpower syllabus:

Do they truly offer feminist depictions of female characters or just misogyny in disguise?

The article argues that a problematic aspect of Kill Bill, and other revenge films–especially rape revenge films–is that they teach us that “a woman must first fear a man before she can beat him.” It also argues that the power these female characters have is problematic because it is “predicated upon being a victim.” It concludes by saying that while these issues exist, Tarantino’s depiction of an empowered female character is more ¬†feminist than the ones in other films in the genre.

Kiddo’s power is “predicated upon being a victim”

I appreciated this article because I hadn’t quite thought about this genre of films in quite this way before. I agree with the ways the author argues Kill Bill is problematic. However, it makes me wonder about female action heros in general. For example, how would this author read Lara Croft? If I’m not mistaken, Croft was never a “victim.” Would the author of this article read her as a more feminist character in this regard?


One thought on “Kill Bill and Revenge Film Tropes

  1. Although I do agree that this a common trope in many films, I did not get the impression that Kiddo ever feared Bill or Buck, or any of the men in the films. I felt her anger more than anything. As for women being victimized before they can be heroes, I think that goes for both genders. More often than not, one faces an obstacle or hardship before one fights for a cause. If they have no cause, they are not really heroes. She is attempted murder victim who kills her attackers. However, she is in no way a strong female role model as the author of the article states. She is a killer. She makes others into victims. While her cause for killing her attackers is just in its own way, she was a killer before the start of this film and continues to kill innocents throughout the film.
    (trigger warning) There is a problem with Tarantino’s use of rape in this film. It follows the trope but I cannot understand why he created it if he wasn’t going to follow through with the trope, instead of being a minor subplot like the article states. What purpose does this serve in the film?

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