By Tony Sokol

The Villainess, which was written and directed by Jung Byung-Gil, will make its U.S. premiere at the New York Asian Film Festival 2017. The film opens theatrically in NY and LA on August 25.

Byung-Gil will be in New York to receive the NYAFF 2017 Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema. The Villainess had its world premiere at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in May 2017.


“The story of a ruthless female assassin named Sook-hee (Kim Ok-bin), who from an early age has been taught to kill,” reads the official synopsis from Well Go USA.

“She becomes a sleeper agent for South Korea’s intelligence agency, who promises her freedom after 10 years of service; however, two men from her past make an unexpected appearance in her life, bringing out dark secrets from her past.”

She gets a second chance in life when South Korea’s Intelligence Agency’s Chief Kwon recruits her to become a sleeper cell. Her new identity is Chae Yeon-soo, 27 years old, theater actress. With a promise of complete freedom after serving the country for 10 years, Sook-hee begins a new life. For someone who lived a life of a killer, living a normal life is no easy task. But when 2 men appear in her life suddenly, she uncovers secrets of her past.


“The biggest rush I got from an actual film at Cannes this month was not from a competition title but from an insanely violent and, from a technical and mise-en-scene point of view, extraordinary South Korean action film, Jung Byung-Gil’s The Villainess,” Todd McCarthy wrote for The Hollywood Reporter.

“Korean action cinema bursts through to new horizons in the hyperkinetic pulp blade and bullet ballet The Villainess. Equal parts Kill Bill, Nikita, John Wick, Hardcore Henry and HK-era John Woo,” Pierce Conran said in his review in Screen Anarchy.


South Korean actress Kim Ok-bin first caught the public’s eye in 2004 in an online beauty contest. Her first role was in the 2005 film Voice. She also appeared in the television drama series Over the Rainbow and the films Dasepo Naughty Girls and The Accidental Gangster and The Mistaken Courtesan.

After training as a stuntman, director Byung-gil made his big screen debut with Action Boys. He wrote and directed Confession Of MurderThe Villainess in inspired by his own short film Standing On The Knife.