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The Villainess (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 23, 2017 by  



“The Villainess” is no doubt one of the craziest, high-octane revenge action films that I have seen come out from Korea and Asian in general in the past few years.  If you are an Asian cinema fan who loves violent action films, then “The Villainess” is for you!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Next Entertainment World. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Villainess

FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 124 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen), Korean and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: N/A

RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2017


Directed by Byung-gil Jung

Written by Beyong-sik Jung, Byung-gil Jung

Cinematography by Saba Mazioum


Starring:

Ok-bin Kim as Sook-hee

Ha-kyun Shin as Joong-sang

Jun Sung as Hyun-soo

Seo-hyeong Kim as Chief Kwon

Eun-ji Jo as Jim Seon

Ye-ji Min as young Sook-hee


Bloody revenge is at the heart of this stylish, kinetic action-thriller that gives a welcome shot of adrenaline to the classic femme fatale story. Honed from childhood into a merciless killing machine by a criminal organization, assassin Sook-hee is recruited as a sleeper agent with the promise of freedom after ten years of service – and she jumps at the chance for a normal life. But soon enough, secrets from her past destroy everything she s worked for, and now nobody can stand in her way as she embarks on a roaring rampage of revenge.


From the filmmaker  Byung-gil Jung who wrote and directed “Confession of a Murder” comes his latest film “The Villainess”.

Co-written by Byung-gil Jung and Byeong-sik Jung, the film stars Ok-bin Kim (“Thirst”, “The Front Line”), Ha-kyun Shin (“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”, “Thirst”, “The Front Line”), Jun Sung (“Pluto”, “High Society”, “Shut Up Flower Boy Band”) and Seo-hyeong Kim (“Late Spring”, “The Berlin File”, “Sweet Sex and Love”).

Screened for its world premiere at the 70th Cannes Film Festival and was well-received by the audience, the film will now be released in North America on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film begins with one woman named Sook-hee (portrayed by Ok-bin Kim) slaughtering dozens of men before being captured.

We then see the past of Sook-hee as a 10-year-old girl, being told by her father to hide under the bed.  A group of men comes after her father who stole something from them and then she sees him killed and then bludgeoned by a sledgehammer.

While Sook-hee didn’t see the face of the man who killed her father, she sees the guy with a sledgehammer coming back into the room and it happens to be Jang Chun, a friend of her father.  She immediately thinks he is responsible for her father’s death, when in reality, it was Lee Joong-sang (portrayed by Shin Ha-kyun) that did it.

Jang Chun sells Sook-hee to become a prostitute but Lee Joong-sang ends up saving the little girl and takes her into his gang where she is trained to become a killer.  For Sook-hee (adult version portrayed by Ok-bin Kim), as she gets older, her goal is to kill Jang Chun as revenge for killing her father.

And Sook-hee gets her revenge on Jang Chun, but Jang Chun tells her that he wasn’t responsible and before he could tell her the truth, he is killed by Lee Jong-sang.  But Lee Joong-sang does all he can to make sure that Sook-hee doesn’t know the truth of who was responsible for killing her father.

And as she is trained and raised to become the perfect assassin, she falls for Lee Joong-sang.  But because she is falling in love with him, he is upset by that and cuts her off by planning a fake marriage with her and stages his own death and upset and what took place, we learn that the opening scene with the many kills by her at the beginning of the movie was in reaction to Lee Jong-sang’s death.

She is arrested but because of her mercenary talents, she is taken in by Korea’s intelligence agency along with other similar girls who will take on deadly jobs.  And for Sook-hee, because she is pregnant, she is given a chance of freedom to live with her daughter if she works for them for 10 years.

Sook-hee agrees to the terms, raises her daughter under a new name and tries to start a new life.  Meanwhile, the agency has a man named Jung Hyun-soo (portrayed by Jun Sung), who is to work undercover and keep watch on her.  But eventually these two would fall in love.

When her target is to be meeting at a nearby building, the agency stages a wedding where Sook-hee would be a sniper and take out the target from a building across the street.  But what she doesn’t expect is to find out that her target is the man that she loved…Lee Joong-sang.  The same man who killed her father.

How will life change for Sook-hee when she finds out that Lee Joong-sang is still alive?


VIDEO:

“The Villainess” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality is fantastic, close ups show great detail. Great action shots and great detail for closeups. The film looks great in HD and I didn’t notice any artifact or banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Villainess” is presented in Korean and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Dialogue and music is crystal clear, as with action sequences which utilize the surround channels quite well.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Villainess” comes with a “making of” featurette.

EXTRAS:

“The Villainess” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.


Modern Korean action films have often become more slash and hack, run and shoot type of films.  Trying to show the highest of highs and lowest of lows with no shying away from true brutality.

Where no character’s love ones are spared, “The Villainess” is a film that captures high-octane action, savage brutality and an insane number of kills.

Sure, it may seem almost a bit video game-like when the film starts off with one woman, Sook-hee, decimating an entire gang and many dozens of men are shot and stabbed to death but it’s what the film is all about, a woman who was trained to be the perfect assassin.

So, wonderful at being a killing machine but disregarded by the man who help made her what she is…a villainess because she had fallen in love with him.

And because she thinks she is dead, she is recruited by the Korean intelligence agency to get a new lease of life if she fulfills a 10 year duty to pull off kills, but at the same time, she can raise her daughter and live a new life, under a new name, and pursue a career as an actress.

But because of this new life, it doesn’t mean that life is less risky.  She’s still a mercenary and being put on the most deadliest missions for the Central Intelligence Agency where her chance of dying is quite high.

But things seem to be looking up as she has fallen for her neighbor Jung Hyun-soo (portrayed by Sang Joon), not knowing that he is a spy for the agency but he genuinely falls in love with Sook-hee.

What she doesn’t expect is that her next target is actually the man that made her to an assassin, a man that she loved and a man that should be dead, Lee Joong-sang.  She doesn’t know that he is also the man that killed her father, when she was young.

An action film full of twist and turns, many people tortured, beaten, killed and a Korean action film that continues the brutality that one is used to seeing, from films such as “Oldboy” and “The Man from Nowhere”, the film almost feels as if inspired by Luc Besson’s 1990 film “La Femme Nikita”.

Some may find “The Villainess” to be a bit over-the-top and almost too video game-like but for the most part, filmmaker Byung-gil Jung knows how to target the audience that absolutely loves action films with thrilling action and crazy kills.

Picture quality and Lossless audio is very good and for those who are not into reading English subtitles and watching it in its original Korean presentation and prefer English dubs, “The Villainess” does come with a good English dub.  And the Blu-ray release does come with a “Making of”.

Overall, “The Villainess” is no doubt one of the craziest, high-octane revenge action films that I have seen come out from Korea and Asian in general in the past few years.  If you are an Asian cinema fan who loves violent action films, then “The Villainess” is for you!






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