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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Villainess aka "Ak-Nyeo" [Blu-ray]

 

(Byung-gil Jung, 2017)

 

Coming to Region 'A' Blu-ray from Well Go USA in November 2017:

  

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Next Entertainment World

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:03:32.416

Disc Size: 31,804,759,398 bytes

Feature Size: 30,960,267,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.27 Mbps

Chapters: 11

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October 30th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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)
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Audio commentary with filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin
• Trailer (1:21)

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Anton Bitel

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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 Nikita and Kill Bill.

Sook-hee (Kim Ok-bin, Thirst) is a trained assassin who takes revenge on the men who murdered her father in a breathtaking opening sequence. After losing consciousness she awakes at the National Intelligence Service who recruit her as an agent to undertake confidential missions. Initially refusing, Sook-hee soon realises it is her only method of escape, until she is given a new assignment that suddenly changes everything…

Deliriously indulging in the excesses of South Korean action, recalling Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy, The Villainess is a visionary new take on the neo-noir genre and an incredible thrill ride not to be missed.

***

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.

 

 

The Film:

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."

She is Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim). But is she a heroine? Is she a villainess? Is she a half-wild innocent with an astonishing for murder, or was her arrival where she was bound to be spotted by the agency just a bit too convenient? Jung keeps his cards close to his chest, but Kim's emotionally raw performance means we don't need to understand Sook-hee's motives to care about her.

Excerpt from EyeForFilm located HERE

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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 :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Villainess is a helluva ride. Sexy Asian assassins, action out the wazoo and an underlying theme of... seething vengeance. It can be hard to follow but - wow. In the first five minutes there must be 30 deaths.  The Arrow Video Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation and a commentary for those who wish to indulge. Fans of this genre should eat this up. The Villainess is pure entertainment, but not for the faint of heart. 

Gary Tooze

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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