Directors: Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto
Synopsis: Uwais plays a young man who washes ashore, an amnesiac with a serious head injury whose past comes back to haunt him shortly after being nursed back to health by a young doctor. Violence ensues. Sweet, sweet violence.
Rating: 18 Duration: 118 minutes Release date: 5 June (UK)
Somewhere between The Raid and The Raid 2 is Headshot. A bloody, violent and action packed Indonesian film starring Iko Uwais as an amnesiac who is about to go all Jason Bourne on his former colleagues. Headshot is high on style but low on substance and while it never comes close to equalling anything The Raid did, Headshot is still a good watch and will quell your thirst for high-octane action until Gareth Edwards hits us with his next effort.
Headshot seems content to let the action do the talking. After waking up on a beach Ishmael (Uwais) has a serious case of amnesia and a pretty funky looking scar across his head. While he was sleeping, Ishmael was looked after by a nurse called Ailin (Islan) who seems more than happy to get close to her patient while he recovers from his mysterious head wound. After bonding in almost comical fashion, the pair build a keen relationship that is soon tested when Ishmael’s violent past comes back to haunt him. His memories slowly begin to return and Ishmael is soon brought face to face with the man he used to be and those who turned him into a ferocious killing machine.
Headshot, despite being an Indonesian film appears to be very much influenced by modern Hollywood action films. The Bourne series, Die Hard and even John Wick (which I realise is itself influenced by Asian cinema) are all referenced here and form a large part of the film’s key elements in both story and set-pieces. With one scene in particular taken directly from the Nakatomi plaza siege. Despite this, Headshot is also very much an Asian action film at its core. From the start Headshot is a brutal portrayal of bloody violence and shows immediately that no quarter will be given. The initial prison break out scene is a stand out and focuses on a machine gun heavy battle. Others scenes are more focused and include two or three people engaging each other; the camera is able to focus on all three while finishing with a clever angle that makes the over the top action hit that bit harder. The only draw back to this is how everything feels like you’re watching someone play a video game as the main character moves through various minions before facing the big boss.
Logic is a commodity in short supply and various aspects of the film will leave you scratching your head in puzzlement. You can forgive such things when the action is pure as it is here. Uwais is always a wonder to watch and his rugged fighting style has a lovely honesty to it, while the Mo brothers have a knack for creating a visually impressive film able to please those needing the adrenaline kick.