Ok-bin Kim (who was also fantastic in "Thirst") is the heart and soul of this genre-bending, time-warping ballet of bloodletting. She's intensely introspective, hard-bitten, and probably better than the material deserves. That said, the film consistently and deftly wrings pitch-black humor and pathos out of unlikely scenarios; I'd compare it to "The Man from Nowhere." Earned a four-minute standing ovation at Cannes.
"The Villainess" abandons the mannered formalism of its peers to deliver the first Korean revenge thriller that feels more indebted to the work of Neveldine & Taylor, not to mention first-person shooters and anime. Tonally, it's all over the place, veering from pistol opera melodrama to meet-cute romantic comedy, but it proves itself one of 2017's genre movie highlights through its virtuosic set-pieces alone.
Jung Byung-Gil's 'The Villainess' may well be the action film of the year even if it is mainly a remodel of 'La Femme Nikita'. The opening sequence is one for the ages in its violence, bloodletting and sheer exuberance. Kim Ok-Bin is quite good as the confused killing machine being manipulated by all players. High octane throughout with a very impressive endgame.
As a revenge plot, this isn't Oldboy in disguise, far from it, but the action is so fresh and newfangled, that one is willing to accept such shortcomings of plot and still give it four stars, for its viscerally-charged action alone, if nothing else.
Don`t whistle or you loose your head! "The Villainess" is video game style, highly emotional avenge more that disappears all the best endeavors of korean masters visual style in a snap. It is an emerging continuum of graphic images of violence which lands in subtle editing mastery of time and space. Just remember the opening sequence transition cut from he pov to third person to realize what you just saw!