Some of the most exciting, original and forward work over the last 10-15 years has been in Asian cinema. Much of that coming from South Korea. Opening this weekend, The Villainess adds another worthwhile cinematic entry from this region.

Director Jung Byung-gil follows up his 2012 psychological crime thriller Confession of Murder with this “The Raid crossed with Le Femme Nikita” action drama. Kim Ok-bin, so good in Park Chan-wook’s 2009 horror drama Thirst, here plays Sook-hee who, as a young girl after witnessing her father’s murder, is trained by gangsters to be an assassin. Falling in love, she marries the gang leader only for him to be killed on their honeymoon. A vengeance-seeking wild killing spree ensues, but she's captured by a government agency and trained to be a sleeper cell with the promise of freedom after 10 years of service.

There are plenty more twists and turns from there, in a sometimes complicated story that jumps back and forth throughout the film although never becoming too overwhelming. The real treat here is the opening and closing action set pieces. Think the aforementioned The Raid and John Wick but jack up the violence and blood spilling a few notches and you have a good idea what’s in store. Director Jung reportedly spent 63 out of 70 days of production crafting these scenes and it shows. They are dizzyingly magnificent. Check out the trailer below.

The Villainess opens Friday, August 25 in LA and NY with a wider rollout in the weeks ahead. In NYC it plays at The IFC Center and tickets are on sale. If you'd like to go for free, we have three pairs of passes to give away to see the film anytime this weekend at IFC. In addition the winners will each receive Blu-ray copies of two other wonderful Korean films that came out last year: the wild zombie massacre flick Train to Busan and the fantasy horror marvel The Wailing. To enter, either comment on this post or tweet "I want to win tickets to see The Villainess @BrooklynVegan". Be sure include the and our tag in the tweet.


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