Quentin Tarantino Couldn't Fit David Carradine And Michael Jai White's Fight Into Kill Bill Vol. 2

One of the supplemental materials on the "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" DVD back in the day was a deleted scene featuring a street fight between Michael Jai White and Bill himself, David Carradine. In 1997, White played one of the first Black movie superheroes when he starred in "Spawn," a full year before Wesley Snipes showed up onscreen as Blade. Over a decade later, on the heels of his appearance as the gangster Gambol in another comic book movie, "The Dark Knight," the blaxploitation-style action-comedy "Black Dynamite" allowed White to show off his skills as a third-degree black belt in Shōtōkan karate. That's just one of the martial arts styles that he's studied in real life, so pitting him against Carradine — star of the '70s TV series "Kung Fu" and its '90s sequel "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues" — led to a legit martial-arts match-up where you can see the actor's faces as they fight.

White shared the scene through his Facebook account in 2016, and while the video isn't the best quality, you can see how it begins with Bill and Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) walking down the street before they run into White's character and his henchmen. In a hammy accent like the one writer-director Quentin Tarantino used in "Django Unchained," White's character explains that he's out for revenge on Bill for killing his master. It's not long before they're crossing swords and trading blows, but moviegoers never got to see any of this in the theater.

In an interview just before the release of "Kill Bill: Vol. 2," Carradine discussed why his fight scene with White was cut. According to him, it had something to do with restructuring "Kill Bill" from one 200-page Tarantino script into two filmed volumes.

From poker game to street fight

Speaking to ComingSoon in 2004, David Carradine said the "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" fight between him and Michael Jai White's character "was supposed to happen in a poker game" originally, but "then Quentin [Tarantino] wrote another scene that he thought superseded that and he didn't think that he could have both scenes."

"He basically cut it out of the picture before we shot it," Carradine added, "but he loved the fight that he'd been working on for a couple of months and he really wanted Michael Jai White in the picture. So he invited him to Beijing just to do the fight and Michael said yes he would, so he wrote a new scene."

This new scene was the street fight viewers would see later in the "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" DVD release. When asked where it would have fit in the overall storyline, Carradine said, "Well, that is the problem; nobody could quite figure that out. I could see one place where he could put it in but it would maybe slow the flow, and in its original concept it didn't belong in there."

"Kill Bill: Vol. 1" withholds the sight of Bill as Beatrix Kiddo — then known only as The Bride — crosses other names off her death list. We hear Bill's voice, but it's not until "Vol. 2" that we see Beatrix come face-to-face with him in black-and-white at her wedding chapel. Carradine explained: "That scene in the chapel is the scene that is not in the original script, that's the scene that replaced the poker scene. We wanted to have this introduction of Bill. It's the introduction, that's what those scenes were made for, and you can't introduce him twice. I think that's why Michael's scene went out."

'Everything we shot was pretty juicy'

David Carradine also estimated that "maybe two-thirds of the 200-page script" Quentin Tarantino had written wound up going into "Kill Bill: Vol. 2," which Tarantino then edited down to 137 minutes (or about 124 minutes of the movie, before the closing credits). This left Tarantino and editor Sally Menke with an embarrassment of riches and meant they had to be more ruthless about what they left on the cutting room floor — even if it meant sacrificing a scene that would demonstrate Bill's fighting prowess and deadliness. "There [are] a few things that were cut out," Carradine said, "and they're all juicy, everything we shot was pretty juicy."

At the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and the Tarantino-owned Los Angeles theater New Beverly Cinema in 2011, the director did select screenings of a re-edited version of "Kill Bill" called "The Whole Bloody Affair," which put both volumes back together, the way they were written. Tarantino himself usually counts the movies as one in his filmography. Still, as of this writing, despite The Bride's survival energy, both volumes of "Kill Bill" are currently unavailable to stream anywhere or for purchase on any digital platforms. That leaves physical media, which "will be the life of the picture anyway," as Carradine remarked.

If you want to see Carradine fight Michael Jai White, go dust off your "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" DVD. (Or fire it up on the Internet Archive.)