Headshot

Headshot

(2016)

They should have killed him.

Iko Uwais stars in this fast and furious revenge thriller as an amnesiac whose mysterious past aids him in taking on the henchman of a powerful drug lord.... More

"A nameless man (Uwais) wakes up in a hospital with severe head trauma, not knowing who he is or what happened to him. Assisted by devoted student doctor Ailin (Chelsea Islan), who nicknames him "Ishmael" after the character in Moby Dick, he recovers and tries to regain his memory. Naturally, Ishmael's past is about to catch up with him, in the form of Lee (Sunny Pang), a drug lord and gang boss whose tentacles reach deep into the police and the penal system. When Ailin is kidnapped and Ishmael sets out to get her back, he finds himself pitted against an array of skilled fighters who may have been his former colleagues. As Ishmael battles through a series of deadly fights with this squad of enforcers, fragments of his past are teased out and the puzzle of his identity begins to come together." (Toronto International Film Festival)Hide

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Flicks Review

Iko Uwais, the greatest recent hero of Asian action cinema, is back. In Headshot, he drives an extreme Indonesian genre piece chock-full of action sequences and frequent gory ultra-violence, all tied together as something of a very dumbed-down Bourne Identity.... More

The villain is cartoonishly evil, in fact the film's whole mythology is very comic book-y; albeit of the very R-rated, nasty comic book variety. Everything is over-the-top - when dudes get shot, they get shot several dozen times. When their limbs get broken, the camera makes sure the injury is centre-frame and lingers longer than good taste suggests it should. This is a beautiful thing.

Surprisingly, the near non-stop assault of brutality doesn't lessen its impact, but the fairly silly nature of it all means that impact is never too strong anyway. It's hard to invest in the one-dimensional characters or the no-frills story, hence it's hard to become invested in the action itself, and it all edges dangerously close to becoming meaningless.

But thankfully, it doesn't quite get there. There is just enough of a plot to want to see the damsel-in-distress saved and the very bad man meet his very bad end. And when the combat is as varied as this, even if one particular fight isn't so enjoyable, it's always only a few minutes until the next, probably better, one.

Directors the Mo Brothers aren't quite as skilled as their mate Gareth Evans (The Raid and its sequel) at either staging spectacular action sequences or crafting a satisfying story. But when Headshot is at its best, they couple stunning choreography and special effects with some highly impressive camerawork to brilliant effect, making for a wild, thrilling ride.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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The Press Reviews

  • The plot pieces might slot into place with a resounding clang, but what it lacks in finesse, this brutal actioner more than makes up for in bullish bravura and technical slickness. Full Review

  • Fans of extreme Asian genre action won't care that things eventually grow somewhat predictable and repetitive: In terms of sheer, punchy physical vigour, "Headshot" is a knockout. Full Review

  • The plot serves to deliver the main point of the film: the exceptionally visceral action sequences. On that level, the film delivers, unflinchingly and unflaggingly. Full Review

  • Tjahjanto and co-director Kimo Stamboel (also known as the “Mo Brothers”) pile on as much action as possible rather than looking for the best possible hits. Full Review

  • Starting, quite literally, with a bang and settling into a taut, gruesome, but esoteric noirish thriller, Headshot mixes Buddhist philosophy with modern urban violence to largely middling effect. Full Review

  • Headshot is thinly plotted, but with action choreography by Uwais' team, the mayhem is staged with visceral abandon. Full Review

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