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Review: The Villainess

Went to IFC Center for a screening of The Villainess, an absolutely bonkers South Korean action flick about a young woman who has the misfortune of getting herself La Femme Nikita’d twice. The plot is fairly standard espionage thriller fare, replete with deception, betrayal, characters leading double and triple lives, and a heaping helping of misdirection (not all of which is particularly effective—I called both of the big twists barely thirty minutes in). Fortunately, the film excels in its numerous imaginative, memorable fight scenes: our heroine is an unquenchable inferno of rage and bloodlust—think Kill Bill’s Beatrix, but less mentally stable—and watching her tear through wave after wave of immaculately dressed goons using knives, katanas, hatchets, guns, and occasionally even dumbbells (tracked all the while by a kinetic, gravity-defying camera) is truly a sight to behold. The response of the audience I saw it with was somewhat lukewarm, but any movie that manages nonchalantly drop some expertly-choreographed swordplay into the middle of a high-speed motorcycle chase is a winner in my book.

[Originally written August 26, 2017.]

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