The Villainess aka "Ak-Nyeo" [Blu-ray]
(Byung-gil Jung, 2017)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Next Entertainment World
Video: Arrow Video
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 31,804,759,398 bytes
Feature Size: 30,960,267,264 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.27 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: October 30th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 2664 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2664 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• Audio commentary with
filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Anton Bitel
Description: Exploding onto the screen in a kinetic flurry
of hyper-stylised action, The Villainess is a
stunning vengeance film that draws its inspiration from
western classics including
Bloody revenge is at the heart of this stylish, kinetic action-thriller that gives a welcome shot of adrenaline to the classic femme fatale story. Honed from childhood into a merciless killing machine by a criminal organization, assassin Sook-hee is recruited as a sleeper agent with the promise of freedom after ten years of service - and she jumps at the chance for a normal life. But soon enough, secrets from her past destroy everything she s worked for, and now nobody can stand in her way as she embarks on a roaring rampage of revenge.
Director Jung Byung-gil (‘Confessions of Murder’) combines a familiar but fun story with slick combat action, whether it’s in dark streets, seedy clubs or underwater. Kim Ok-bin is terrific as the older Sook-hee, her solemn, soulful face speaking volumes of pain, whether she’s in a romantic clinch or kicking seven shades of shit out of some toerag. While most baddies are plain evil, a couple of more complex characters add texture as the film moves towards its explosive end. What with the success of ‘Atomic Blonde’, this could well be heading for a Hollywood remake.Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Bookended by two astonishing action sequences, Byung-gil Jung's hotly
anticipated Villainess is without doubt one of the most thrilling films
of the year. It opens in first-person-shooter mode, making the best use
of knives, guns and narrow corridors since The Raid, snapping into the
third person only when our heroine's head hits a mirror - you'll be
disorientated for a moment, but so is she. Then it's straight back into
the action, stabbing, kicking, twisting, leaping and flying through the
air, frantic and visceral, though her exhaustion is palpable. Dozens of
dead guys later and she's out on the street, in the rain, in a police
spotlight. Among the observers overlooking the interrogation room, a
woman says quietly, "She could be an asset."
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Villainess gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Video. It advances into dual-layered territory and has a supportive bitrate for the 2 hour feature. The film overwhelms the senses with its kinetic energy and extravagantly orchestrated eye-candy parade of aggression. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels and some depth in the 2.39:1 frame. It's a modern film and pristinely clean showcasing some bright, pleasing colors - there are really no flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray probably looks exactly like the theatrical version. It's an impressive looking film and BD.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Arrow use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 2664 kbps (24-bit) in the original Korean language. The audio is as explosive as the film's energy. Whiplash spikes, slicing, bloody, blades and canon-like gunfire abound throughout. There are plenty of head-turning separations. The score is by Ja wan Koo and runs beside the film as if trying to keep up with acrobatics. Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well which is deep and powerful via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Extras include an audio commentary with filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin. I wasn't enthused by it. There is also a trailer and those who order the first pressing will get an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Anton Bitel.
October 23rd, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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