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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Byung-gil Jung

Reviewer. Sarah Cook

THE VILLAINESS follows the story of Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim), a trained assassin since childhood who becomes a government agent in South Korea after her mentor is killed. Offered the chance of freedom and a clean slate after ten years of service, Sook-hee begins her new life as an actress/hit woman.

However, things become complicated when she falls in love, the secrets from her dark past come back to haunt her and her latest mission proves complicated to say the least.

The action from then on is pretty much non-stop. Even the first sequence is relentless to say the least. We’re thrown straight in and the fight scenes take no prisoners. It’s a shame the camera work becomes erratic before long because the scenes have been so well executed but it’s hard to see what’s going on sometimes and I began to get a headache. The plot does also become quite confusing towards the end and the film starts to lose some of the finesse that the first half had.

However, the film is deeply entertaining, the performances are all brilliant; Ok-bin Kim is superb as the lead, fierce and ferocious while also displaying shades of innocence and humanity. This is a heroine you find yourself rooting for until the end. Similar to KILLING GROUND, there are some truly shocking moments in this film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Smart and slick, punishing and remorseless, this barely comes up for air. It’s just a shame the story starts to pitter out towards the end.

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