It’s been 10 years since Quentin Tarantino’s revenge epic, so we thought it only fitting that Danica pose in Thurman’s iconic trainers – a pair of Mexico 66 Onitsuka Tigers. Roar indeed.
Thurman’s tracksuit and trainer combo was in turn inspired by Bruce Lee’s iconic duds in Game Of Death. It’s no secret that Tarantino likes to borrow from his favourite genres and films. The Kill Bill movies are ultimately a four-hour love letter from Tarantino to Asian cinema. One of the biggest influences on Kill Bill is chanbara, the samurai cinema of Japan. The original films were famous for their wounded and emotionally scarred characters, who would usually get stuck into some rollicking good sword fighting action in their pursuit of redemption – the obvious blueprint for Thurman’s ultra-cool avenger, The Bride.
During The Bride’s mission of revenge against her former lover Bill, she stops by Okinawa to collect her trademark katana from legendary sword maker Hattori Hanzo. The character is named after a real-life samurai from the 16th century and played by Sonny Chiba, who also played the historical figure in the Japanese TV series Shadow Warriors.
The character of Gogo Yubari – a mace-swinging, bloodthirsty, ultra-violent schoolgirl is played by actress Chiaki Kuriyama. Tarantino cast her in the iconic role after he saw her playing a schoolgirl in another brutal Japanese cult classic – Battle Royale. You dirty devil, QT.
The Kill Bill moviescrowning moment is The Bride’s showdown with the Crazy 88, a gang of Yakuza under the control of gangster O-Ren [played by the saucy Lucy Liu). While the Crazy 88 wear Katomasks, it is in this scene that Thurman dons the class tracksuit and Onitsuka Tiger trainers made famous from Game Of Death. To bring the look up to date she makes her getaway in matching motorcycle leathers and helmet.
During The Bride’s bloody battle with the Crazy 88, Tarantino switches the action to black and white. To the untrained eye its looks like QT at his pretentious best, but he reportedly utilised the trick to reduce the amount of blood seen and get around the ratings system. US television used the same trick when screening kung fu movies in the 1970s and 80s to dupe the censors. Cheeky buggers.
Tarantino tells the back-story of O-Ren in another one of Japan’s most popular cinema styles – anime. The sequence, Post Three in Kill Bill: Vol. 1, is as hardhitting and violent as anything Tarantino has ever put to screen – it is also a remarkable piece of storytelling, giving a human side to an otherwise cold-blooded
Youre barking up the wrong tree if you have a man bag, too. I hate men with bags. That doesnt do it for me. Id actually prefer a rucksack compared to that giving a human side to an otherwise cold-blooded killer. It was developed by Production I.G., the leading Japanese studio behind anime classics such as Ghost In The Shell.
The character Pai Mei, The Bride’s ruthless trainer, is based on Bak Mei, the mythical Chinese figure said to have originated the White Eyebrowstyle of kung fu (hence his whacking great white eyebrows). He’s played by veteran Chinese actor Gordon Liu, a famous figure in martial arts cinema.
The original film to feature the Onitsuka Tigers, Game Of Death, began shooting in 1972 but was put on hold while Bruce Lee filmed Enter The Dragon. Lee died before he could return and finish Game Of Death, but director Robert Clouse cobbled the footage together with newly shot scenes (including stand-ins for Lee) to create the finished movie, which was eventually released in 1978.
Onitsuka Tiger are one of Japan’s oldest brand of footwear, with their origins traced back to the 1940s. They’ve produced shoes for sports across the board – football, athletics, basketball, and pretty much everything else you can think of. Let’s be honest though – they are best worn while engaging in a sword-wielding fight to the death. Not that we’d recommend it.
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