Review: The Villainess

Blu-ray: The Villainess (2017)

Hailing from South Korea, The Villainess has one of the most violently frenetic openings I’ve ever seen in an Asian thriller…or ANY movie. The sequence sees Ok-bin Kim as our ‘heroine’ Sook-hee, but from a first person view, channeling so many video games and a lot of Hardcore Henry as she hacks, stabs, punches, kicks and creates a one woman carnage show. There’s no explanation as we are thrown into the pit with her. Gradually we learn Sook-Hee’s story, and like her predecessor (Luc Besson’s) Nikita, she is an innocent caught up in wrongdoing and can only survive if she becomes a government assassin. After some plastic surgery and an unexpected birth she begins her training.

It also includes a romance with a neighbour, slightly changing it from the norm by making him ‘in’ on the deal, as undercover agent Hyun-soo (Jun Sung) is sent to keep tabs on her. It’s something the audience knows from the start while she’s kept in the dark and it does add some genuine emotion to an otherwise cold ‘all out action film’.
Sook-Hee’s backstory is given to us in flashback snippets, and we must piece together who did what to whom, which did remind me of Kill Bill Vol.2.

However, this is a film that is literally all about the beginning, and the end. These feature two action pieces the likes of whichI’ve never seen before, and although totally bonkers and hyper unrealistic, they are a mixture of The Raid and Oldboy, but with a totally believable (yes you do think she’s more than capable) woman protagonist.

A fun, if extremely violent slice of action. If only Cynthia Rothrock did a cameo!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Optional English subtitles
• Original 5.1 DTS HD-MA
• Audio commentary with filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin
• Trailer
• More TBC

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Anton Bitel

The Villainess will be released on October 30th and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes!

Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films via Fetch Publicity.