The Villainess

The Villainess, Ak-Nyeo, 악녀, 惡女, Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun, Sung Joon, Kim Seo-hyung, Jo Eun-ji, Lee Seung-joo, Son Min-ji, Kim Yeon-woo Jung Hae-kyun, Park Chul-min,

The Villainess(aka Ak-Nyeo, 악녀, 惡女). an elite assassin goes on a rampage to win back her freedom. This opens with one of the most intense and enjoyable rip-roaring action sequences in recent memory, where no fewer than 50 henchmen are dispatched in a 6-minute point-of-view frenzy of shooting / stabbing / and kick-punching – think of the Oldboy‘s infamous corridor scene, but from Hardcore Henry’s perspective! The film also ends with an equally-impressive action finale involving a bus and a lot of great stuntwork / choreography. It’s peppered throughout with shorter bursts of ultra-violent, and undeniably ‘cool’ blood-spurting over-the-top moments. As you’ve probably guessed, the action scenes are second-to-none… however, they only total around a quarter of the 120 minute runtime; which is a shame as the film if being sold as purely an action film in the same vein as The Raid (the UK poster namechecks Kill Bill, Nikita, John Wick, Hardcore Henry, and Hong Kong Era John Woo!!!). The problem with these comparisons are that – as an overall film – The VIllainess nowhere near as strong as those classics. It’s also lacking in originality in that you can see where shots / scenes / characters have been lifted wholesale from the aforementioned movies; for example, the lead’s backstory is identical to Oren Ishii’s of Kill Bill. The story jumps around the timeline in a manner that is unnecessarily confusing until the final act, where it all kinda (?) fits together. Despite being built from bits and pieces of other action flicks, the action scenes in The Villainess are still inventive, great fun to watch and the spectacle (+ “how did they do that!?” factor) of these alone should entice genre aficionados. It makes it all the more frustrating that these scenes are lost in a flabby, overlong, underwhelming, and melodramatic plot – which could have done with losing around 30 minutes to make it a tighter and more focused / straight-forward action film.

Score: 6.5/10

The Villainess, Ak-Nyeo, 악녀, 惡女, Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun, Sung Joon, Kim Seo-hyung, Jo Eun-ji, Lee Seung-joo, Son Min-ji, Kim Yeon-woo Jung Hae-kyun, Park Chul-min,

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1 comment
  1. Gavin said:

    I was very much on the same page as you for this film.
    Amazing action, with some great cinematography, but let down by trying to hard to get some kind of drama in there too. The entire middle section (the love story) didn’t really work for me but as you say, it kinda pulls things all together in the finale but it lost some of my attention earlier on.

    Like

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