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As far as opening sequences go, The Villainess has it all, a fierce martial arts first person shooter combat rampage through some factory building, where a single fighter (lady) takes on a whole company of what can only be assumed to be really bad Korean people. You know nothing about context and the players, but a couple of minutes in the manic camera moves away to show the heroine and bounces around the final location of the fight, and you cannot but fall in love with that terrible warrior woman. Then comes a soothing set of Korean rain, I breathe, and wonder… how would they possibly follow up on this opening? Never mind, she’s hot!

Of course what follows it not quite up to par with the opening, a bit of Nikita and a bit of Police Academy: Girl Assassins! Some confusing time layers and a lot of gratuitous violence mix with a teary story line about daughters in general and daughters of villains in particular, and about wives who got wronged once too often. But as compensation you get sword fights on high speed motorbikes, and what I would assume must be a VIP mafia bus fight. It wasn’t always perfectly clear to me who was who and why they were who, but in the end, there were villainy villains, and nice and mellow villains, and a villainess who is least villainy of all, but still has to do the villainy fight against the men that betrayed her. Can’t say I was not entertained, even though I wonder whether organized crime in Korea is really as dependent on knives and swords as a means of battle. Once somebody brings an automatic weapon to a fight, they all stare quite blankly into the hopping fish eye camera…

Very entertaining, all this, and another piece of evidence that Korean cinema is as reliable as it gets.


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