Monday 30 October 2017

The Villainess (2017)

"Lady Snowblood, Korean Style"

       Receiving its UK premiere at this year's London Frightfest, Jung Byung-Gil's blood-soaked, action-packed revenge thriller gets a DVD & Blu-ray release courtesy of Arrow Films. 

       To avenge the death of her father, Sook-hee (Kim ok-bin) kills as many men as is humanly possible in the opening minutes of a film. She passes out and wakes to find she has been abducted by the National Intelligence Service, which proceeds to train her as a sleeper cell assassin. Pregnant when she comes to them, she and her baby daughter are given new identities, after which she starts work as an actress while awaiting various blood-spattered missions.

       All goes well until she is given an assignment on her wedding day to assassinate a crime boss who turns out to be her husband from her past life. When she bungles the mission, her life begins to fall to pieces, and things can only end in tragedy.

       Opening with an action sequence that feels like a cross between ATOMIC BLONDE (this is better) and DOOM (first person shoot-em-up), THE VILLAINESS offers regular bouts of breathtaking action, combining remarkable stunts and camerawork. Fortunately there's a good story in here as well, and the bits where the film calms down to allow character interplay are just as watchable. 

       Arrow's disc comes with a commentary track from film-makers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin, as well as a trailer. If you get the first pressing of the disc then you'll get an illustrated collector's booklet with new writing on the film by Anton Bitel. If you're a fan of South Korean cinema you'll definitely want to watch this, and if you're unfamiliar with this country's movies then this might just be the one to get you into them. 

THE VILLAINESS is out on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow on Monday 30th October 2017

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