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  1. #1
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    The Villainess

    More from Cannes - The Villainess



    ‘The Villainess’ ('Ak-Nyeo’): Film Review | Cannes 2017
    4:55 PM PDT 5/22/2017 by Deborah Young


    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
    Kim Ok-vin is 'The Villainess'
    A high-voltage thriller from South Korea. TWITTER

    Kim Ok-vin stars as a trained assassin blackmailed into working for the government in Jung Byung-gil's action thriller.
    The action is the party in the hot/cold, on/off actioner The Villainess, which might be described as a high-adrenaline tale of fighting, shooting, stabbing and killing interrupted by quiet stretches of backstory and character development. In this schizophrenic thriller, Luc Besson’s 1990 noir classic La femme Nikita gets yet another makeover via the story of a beautiful girl trained to kill. Humanizing the violent goodies and baddies no doubt helped the film land a coveted slot in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, but it’s a choice that also takes serious time away from the action sequences, which will be the real selling point for genre audiences.

    In any case, it’s another step up the ladder for Korean director, writer and producer Jung Byung-gil, who made his directing bow with the documentary Action Boys, describing the life of film stuntmen, and went on to win awards for his first thriller Confession of Murder, based on a real-life serial killer. Audiences should give his villainess a warm embrace in international genre markets.

    Since her father was killed in front of her eyes when she was a child, Sook-hee has been raised by gangsters to be a skilled fighter and a ruthless killer. She marries her boss and mentor but, when he is murdered on their honeymoon, she turns into a fury hell-bent on revenge. In the breath-taking opening sequence, entirely shot from her POV, she storms into the rival gang’s HDQ and, corridor after corridor, shoots ‘em dead. The effect is very much like an early arcade game and, by the time 50 or 60 men in identical dark suits lay bleeding on the floor, about as exciting. When she opens the door at the end of the hall, however, a gym full of leering bruisers are there to protect their boss, and things get a little hotter. For the first time we see the shooter’s face: she’s just an ordinary girl, but she’s hopping mad. And she’s finally out of ammo. When the blood is finally wiped off her face, she emerges with three tiny scratches and in police custody.

    Though Sook-hee has won the first round with a vengeance, she is now a prisoner. She is taken to a secret government training ground where Chief Kwon (the super chic, icy pro Kim Seo-hyung) decides to put her to good use by cutting a deal: if she works for the Korean Intelligence Agency for ten years, they’ll let her go free to live her life. The fact that she’s pregnant probably influences her decision to play along and live as long as she can.

    Thanks to plastic surgery, Sook-hee is soon transformed into a lovely Kim Ok-vin (the female lead in Park Chan-wook’s Thirst.) Kim brings a wide range of emotions to a woman who is called on to be simultaneously a raging fighter, a cold-blooded killer, a tender mother and a hot date. For the moment, she goes through “training” which involves fighting other cadets with blades and guns more than martial arts, but also learning a craft that can be used as a cover when she goes underground as a sleeper cell. Her only aptitude turns out to be acting, so she is given a new identity as a theater actress and a modest apartment to live in with her infant daughter.

    Hyun-soo, the nice boy next door (played with appealing brashness by Sung-Jun) clumsily courts her, without letting on that he’s an undercover operative for the Agency sent to shadow her. Meanwhile, her ex-husband Joong-sang (Shin Ha-kyun of Thirst and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) returns to haunt her memories.

    The flurry of characters takes a long time to get straight, and identification is made even harder by the nervous handheld camerawork and rapid-fire editing that makes no concessions. But no matter: the film comes into its element in the imaginative action scenes, which include a coy assignment for Sook-hee and a friend as geishas entertaining three cutthroats, ending with blood on the floor. Signature sequences are an unforgettable motorcycle chase at night down the highway, and an eye-popping finale in which Sook-hee leaps onto the back of a speeding bus and hacks her way in for a final showdown with her chief nemesis.

    Among the fine tech work, Koo Ja-wan’s abstract, pulsating score gets under the skin.

    Production company: Apeitda
    Cast: Kim Ok-vin, Shin Ha-kyun. Bang Sung-jun
    Director: Jung Byung-gil
    Screenwriters: Jung Byung-gil, Jung Byung-sik
    Producers: Jung Byung-gil
    Executive producers: Kim Woo-taek
    Director of photography: Park Jung-hun
    Production designer: Kim Hee-jin
    Costume designer: Chae Kyung-hwa
    Editor: Heo Sun-mi
    Music: Koo Ja-wan
    World sales: Contents Panda
    Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Midnight screening)
    129 minutes
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
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    Way to go, Well Go!

    Props to Doris Pfardrescher for keeping it on point.

    Well Go USA Nabs South Korean Action Film ‘Villainess’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    Brent Lang
    Senior Film and Media Editor
    @BrentALang


    Well Go USA Nabs South Korean

    MAY 20, 2017 | 09:35AM PT

    Well Go USA has nabbed North American rights to “The Villainess.”

    The Korean action film is screening in the at the Cannes Film Festival in the midnight section. “The Villainess” centers on a young girl who is raised to be a deadly assassin. South Korea’s Intelligence Agency recruits her as a sleeper agent outfitting her with a new identity as a theater actress. She is promised a free life after completing 10 years of service, but her plans are derailed when two men from her past suddenly appear.

    “The Villainess” is produced, written and directed by Jung Byung-gil. Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun and Bang Sung-jun star. “The Villainess” is a Next Entertainment World presentation of an Apeitda Production; Kim Woo-taek is the executive producer.

    Well Go has been a staple in Cannes in recent years, bringing Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Assassin,” Na Hong-Jin’s “The Wailing” and Ho Yeon-Sang’s “Train to Busan.”

    The deal was negotiated by Doris Pfardrescher of Well Go USA and Danny Lee of Contents Panda. Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed.

    “‘The Villainess’ features peerless action sequences, created by Byung-Gil Jung and his stunt director Gui-duck Kwon, that will leave audiences breathless,” said Pfardrescher in a statement.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
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    THE VILLAINESS (2017) Official Trailer

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #4
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    THE VILLAINESS Exclusive Clip - Motorcycle Sword Fight (2017) Action Movie HD

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
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    This is a definite must-see, and when it becomes available, it will skip to the front of the line for me.

  6. #6
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    For me too, Jimbo. What an awesome scene.

    And it's available THEATRICALLY today (assuming you're in NYC or LA), thanks again to Well Go USA.

    US THEATER LOCATIONS

    August 25, 2017
    NEW YORK CITY

    IFC Center
    323 6th Ave
    New York, NY 10014
    (212) 924-7771

    LOS ANGELES

    AMC Dine-In Sunset 5
    8000 Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90046
    (323) 654-2217

    September 1, 2017
    NEW YORK CITY

    AMC Empire 25
    234 West 42nd Street
    New York, NY 10036

    September 8, 2017
    SAN FRANCISCO / BAY AREA

    AMC Metreon 16
    135 4th St Suite 3000
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 369-6207

    AMC Cupertino Square 16
    10123 N Wolfe Rd
    Cupertino, CA 95014
    (408) 252-5960

    SEATTLE

    SIFF Cinema Uptown
    511 Queen Anne Ave N
    Seattle, WA 98109
    (206) 324-9996

    September 15, 2017
    CHICAGO

    ArcLight Chicago
    1500 N Clybourn Ave c301
    Chicago, IL 60610
    (312) 637-4760

    WASHINGTON, D.C.

    ArcLight Bethesda
    7101 Democracy Blvd
    Bethesda, MD 20817
    (240) 762-4000

    SAN DIEGO

    ArcLight La Jolla
    4425 La Jolla Village Dr
    San Diego, CA 92122
    (858) 768-7770

    September 22, 2017
    MADISON

    AMC Dine-In Madison 6
    430 N Midvale Blvd
    Madison, WI 53705
    (608) 316-6900

    September 29, 2017
    COLUMBUS

    Gateway Film Center
    1550 N High St
    Columbus, OH 43201
    (614) 247-4433

    SAN FRANCISCO / BAY AREA

    Osio Theater
    350 Alvarado St
    Monterey, CA 93940
    (831) 901-3119

    October 22, 2017
    WINCHESTER

    Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Winchester
    181 Kernstown Commons Blvd
    Winchester, VA 22602
    (540) 313-4060

    CANADA THEATER LOCATIONS

    September 12, 2017
    VANCOUVER

    Rio Theatre - Vancouver
    1660 E Broadway
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    +1 604-879-3456

    September 15, 2017
    OTTAWA

    Mayfair Theatre
    1074 Bank St
    Ottawa, ON K1S 3X3, Canada
    It doesn't open in my area until Sep 8, but I'm grateful for that because this weekend is dedicated to BotD for me and I only have time for one movie this weekend.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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