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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.
Language: Korean (original)
Hyperkinetic... equal parts Kill Bill, La Femme Nikita, and John Wick! --Screen Anarchy
...sheer kinetic beauty... --Film School Rejects
Car chases, swordplay, gun fights, and copious amounts of blood all set to a backdrop washed in beautiful cinematography makes for one of the best action films of the year, if not the best. --Modern Horrors
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The movie really is pretty good. What separates it from it's Hong Kong forefathers is production values and digital camera trickery. No one in Hong Kong was gonna try half the stuff they do in this movie because it was just never gonna happen back with film. Digital film has really opened up doors for going over the top. The bar is really where you set it now. The Villainess sets it high then tries to vault it as many times as possible.
The biggest issue with the movie is that it's kind of clear that they ran out of money.. The beginning of the film up to a motorcycle chase that turns into a sword fight while still riding the fore mentioned motorcycles is all at a pretty frenetic pace. It's kind of clear though that they used up most of their budget along the way and while the end sequence still has some good moments it's clear that the lack of budget was changing things up. Also, that lack of budget leads to what seems like a rushed ending. It's not a short movie and before this the film at least attempted to setup why things were happening. It's not a deal breaker and puts it more in line with old Hong Kong films but feels off.
The movie looks great. The editing is well done and doesn't have just a million seams like the past few Star Wars, Marvel and DC films, which I like some of them but the clear lack of direction in all of them is obvious to all but the most hardened of internet fan boys. The Villainess was clearly not made by committee and because of that it doesn't feel like a broken up story even if it is rushed towards the end.
The movie is genuinely good. It's not a world ender but it's fun and breezy enough to be well worth tracking down. It's certainly better than sitting through another superhero film cause it's at least made for adults and not as lowest common denominator family films. It's currently crazy cheap on Amazon Video and the video service is excellent and I've had no issues with it. Definitely worth picking up