The Villainess

The Villainess

Jung Byung-gil (2017)

18 Certificate


Our Score
Few films deliver as many violent thrills than are packed into the first five minutes of this audacious action extravaganza from South Korea. The opening sequence offers a delirious video-game-style first-person shoot, slash and beat 'em up that introduces our revenge-seeking heroine, Sook-hee. Apprehended by the authorities, she is given a new face and identity in order to be used as a sleeper agent, preventing her from living the normal life she craves with her young daughter. Director Jung Byung-gil skilfully drip-feeds Sook-hee's backstory into the unfolding narrative, revealing her to be more victim than villainess. The twists, flashbacks and reveals are slightly piled on in the latter stages, but there's plenty here to admire, with the precision editing and fight choreography matched by an acrobatic, roving camera that is breathtakingly deployed during a sword fight on motorbikes. With a doomed romance subplot adding emotional resonance, this is extreme Asian cinema with substance as well as style.

Cast & Crew

Sook-hee Kim Ok-vin
Chief Kwon Kim Seo-hyung
Joon-sang Ha-kyun Shin
Hyun-soo Jun Sung
Kim Seon Eun-ji Jo
Director Jung Byung-gil
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Other Information

Language: Korean +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Arrow FilmsGuidance: Violence.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 15 Sep 2017