IT CAME as a shock to me the first time Kurt Russell's character John "The Hangman" Ruth hits his captive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leight) in The Hateful Eight.
Audible gasps could be heard throughout the cinema at the unexpected first turn of violence in the nearly three-hour long movie.
There was a big clue, though, in the form of the dark bruise under Daisy's left eye.
But of course, this is a Quentin Tarantino film and the idea that any character could survive until the end unscathed is preposterous.
"When you first see it you hate John Ruth for that, no matter how bad she might be," Russell told APN.
"But as the movie rolls along and you find out who she is - the most ruthless and smartest person in the room; she's just brutal."
Russell's bombastic bounty hunter regularly dispenses physical discipline on his captive, the film's only lead female character.
He reckons Tarantino, as both the director and scriptwriter, would have copped flack no matter how Daisy was treated.
"Here's who she is and what she's done; do you want misogyny or sexism? If I treat her differently than any other man in that situation then it's sexism." he said.
"She's not a man or a woman; she's a violent, ruthless killer."
Until they "invent a gun women can't shoot" Russell argues, his character would continue to bring anyone and everyone to justice.
The Hateful Eight opens nationally tomorrow.