year: 2005
author: David Carradine
rating: ****1/2

David Carradine obviously had a few demons in his life, but none appear in this uplifting and somewhat purposely lightweight book chronicling his work on Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL. The journal/journey begins as Tarantino has a falling out with Warren Beatty, originally cast in the role given to Carradine (Quentin then changed the Bill character from a suave James Bond-turned-bad to a tough-as-nails flute-playing rogue). There's a lot of what some would call "ass-kissing" about Tarantino, but this is understandable as David's career wasn't exactly tops... he'd been on a long, slow decline since "Bound For Glory" in 1976 which came right after his groundbreaking stint on the iconic TV show "Kung Fu". But Carradine doesn't put himself down too much: in his perspective this comeback was long overdue. In his opinion, he and Tarantino working together is more synergy than charity (which I totally agree). He writes non-fiction like others write prose; precise, interesting, and completely involving. For fans of KILL BILL, this is a plus. You get to experience all David's scenes (and then some others that he witnessed) but without any gossip - just the facts about what he went through for a rather greuling shoot going from China to L.A. The only drawbacks are about ten pages (scattered throughout) written by the fat goofy self-absorbed founder of and his perspective/teasers (which only really mattered before the film came out). The book has everything, including dabs of David's existential philosophies (often comparing the Bill Murray film "Groundhog Day" to Zen Buddism... strange but cool), a sprinkle of politics (bashing Bush and then giving Reagan full credit for ending the cold war), and tons of romance: some centered on his wife Annie; some on fellow KB cast members (Uma Thurman, Vivica Fox, Daryl Hannah); but mostly on Tarantino, whom, at one point, he considers a superhero sent to earth to free the world... no joke. Carradine is such a good writer you don't feel as if you're reading, but rather, like you're hanging out with someone's really cool hippie dad.

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