The Villainess – Toronto After Dark 2017


A female assassin in trained to be a sleeper agent in . Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim) is an assassin for a criminal syndicate, who is captured by government agents in Korea. Believing she can be an asset, Chief Kwon (Seo-hyeong Kim) begins training Sook-hee to be a covert agent, assigning fellow agent Hyun-soo (Jun Sung) to keep an eye on her. Sook-hee is ordered to kill crime boss Joong-sang (Ha-kyun Shin), however is shocked to realize that he has a deep connection to her assassin past.

The Villainess is a South Korean action-thriller from director Byung-gil Jung (Confession of Murder). The film kicks off on a high octane note with a fast-paced action scene shown from the POV of a younger Sook-hee (Ye-Ji Min), who is subsequently captured and trained for many years to become a government sleeper agent. The narrative switches back and forth between past and present to detail Sook-hee's history as a trained assassin looking for vengeance against her father's killer. As Sook-hee begins working for Cheif Kwon, a figure from her past unexpectedly reenters her life.

Arguably, I would say that The Villainess plays its best card in the very first scene, since the very fast-paced and ultra-violent POV action scene is a hard one to top. In fact, the film doesn't even come close to that scene again until the climax, which involves a fight on a moving bus. While the action of The Villainess is indeed top notch, the film does slow down around the middle, which focuses much more on story than action. However, this was still a quite entertaining film.

8 / 10 stars
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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.