The Villainess – The DVDfever Cinema Review

The Villainess

The Villainess is like a mix of Nikita, John Wick and the videogame Doom, with all its first-person action.

Essentially, it’s a revenge movie, where Sook-hee (initially played by Ye-Ji Min, before changing to Ok-bin Kim – as her character ages ten years, in circumstances that will become clear when you watch it) is avenging the death of her father and violently takes out the bad guys, since the police are useless when it comes to doing so, undergoing training in a facility to become a sleeper agent.

What it lacks in detailed plot, it more than makes up for in action with blistering fight scenes, so action packed with stunts that they forbid you to blink! However, they are sometimes a little bit difficult to follow 100% and require some rewinding, but that’s to their credit, a lot of the time.

Elsewhere in the facility, four male employees are looking for a promotion and a partner in the job and in life, which will be Sook-hee if things work out for one of them. They’re led by Hyun-soo, so you know it’s going to be him, but that’s no great surprise, as it’s one of those in-movie bets where there’s only one outcome in order to further the plot.

The Villainess features a number of one-take-style scenes, during the running, shooting and fighting sections, but while you can spot most of the joins if you’re looking, that doesn’t detract from it at all and it’s just me always trying to find the joins in one-take scenes. In fact, I thought I spotted a few in last year’s Victoria, but later realised it IS a one-take movie!

Sook-hee smouldering…

Some additional random observations…

  • Blood is done with a mix of CGI and practical FX. For the former, it’s only done to give a natural effect that’s not easily done 100% of the time during one-take scenes, and the latter are great for blood splatter over the camera!

  • There’s plenty of incredible stunt work in this film, and in Sook-hee’s first incarnation, she’s clearly got strong arms when she leaps out of a window with a rope in one hand, pulling a certain something behind her, at the end of the opening fight!

  • All that said, you do start to think that things might be a whole lot easier if they just stuck to guns the whole time rather than resorted to a knife fight…

The film also factors in a complex love story, which will become clear as you watch, but I did feel the plot started getting a bit too twisty-turny for its own good, in parts, so while on the one hand it’s a little of a mixed bag, on the other, it’s still a hell of a movie!

The Villainess is released in cinemas this Friday and is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD ahead of its released on October 25th, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.

“I didn’t get it at Tescos, okay?!”

Detailed specs:

Running time: 124 minutes
Studio: Arrow Film Distributors Ltd
Year: 2017
Format: 2.35:1
Released: September 15th 2017
Rating: 9/10

Director: Byung-gil Jung
Screenplay: Byeong-sik Jung and Byung-gil Jung
Music: Ja wan Koo

Sook-hee: Ok-bin Kim
Sook-hee (young): Ye-Ji Min
Lee Joong-sang: Ha-kyun Shin
Jung Hyun-soo: Jun Sung
Chief Kwon: Seo-hyeong Kim
Kim Seon: Eun-ji Jo
Min-joo: Son Min-ji
Eun-hye: Kim Yeon-woo

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.


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