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Review The Villainess a.k.a. Ak-Nyeo (2017): Totally insane and amazing blend of La Femme Nikita, John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Hardcore Henry with some good old South Korean melodrama to boot!

genre: action, gun fu, martial arts, drama

The Villainess doesn't waste time to put you right in the middle of the action. The opening sequence alone is worth it. And what you see there is the the totally insane and amazing blend I mention in the tag line. Fortunately it doesn't stop there.

Next to featuring this incredible action you get a tragic tale of a woman whose life is full of betrayal and murder. Then she gets recruited by a top secret agency and she feels like she finally has a real chance to live the life she wants. But if this were the case we wouldn't have a film now would we? I really commend director Jung Byung-gil for actually telling a story that is compelling and exciting. You really get to know the different sides to main character Sook-hee played by Kim Ok-bin. Actress Kim Ok-bin does a lot with expressions alone. You don't really have to hear her speak of how she is feeling. But what makes her even more impressive that she is trained in martial arts and clearly has done a lot of the stunt work and action herself. And the way they filmed her doing these things is incredibly spectacular. The action is filmed from several angles and keeps changing the styles so that the action always remains fresh. The drama and characterization really add to the action as well since you do feel a lot is at stake. And from start to end there is this tension that never lets up.

However there is one big flaw. It takes our main character far too long to realize what is going on even when she is confronted with some truths several times. I knew it the minute the character got introduced to the audience. But in case you didn't you will definitely know when the first reveal occurs. Up until this time main character Sook-hee had been very observant and diligent. It was like she didn't want to see it like her mentor and Chief Kwon-sook (Kim Seo-hyung) states. Yet who can fault her for that. Despite me understanding where she is coming from it ruined the pacing a little bit. It felt padded on and easily could have been cut. Still if I think about it I could feel her anguish and pain and wanted her to succeed in her quest for the ultimate revenge. The very bloody and messy revenge might I add.

The Villainess is easily one of the best action films to come out this year and definitely one I will watch over and over again. A must watch for sure!

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