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Headshot: Brutal, Unrelenting Indonesian Martial Arts Thriller

  • Chelsea IslanIko Uwais...
  • Action & AdventureDrama...
  • Kimo StamboelTimo Tjahjanto
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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Headshot: Brutal, Unrelenting Indonesian Martial Arts Thriller

First things first; Headshot is not an easy movie to sit through. Pinned against a hyper-violent and super-bloody backdrop, Headshot – directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel – is one continuously wild and frenzied actioner which takes almost everything to the absolute extreme. And although narratively flawed, the brutality factor is through the roof and there are still plenty of thrills to keep true action giddy with joy.

Taking its inspiration from the likes of The Bourne Identity, the story follows a young Indonesian man (Uwais) who, after being shot in the head, ends up washed up on the beach with no memory of who he is or how he got there. After spending a couple of months at a hospital being nursed back to health by a young Jakarta-med student named Pretty Ailin (Islan) – who names him ‘Ishmael’ – his past soon comes to haunt him in the form of infamous crime kingpin, Mr. Lee (Pang), who, let’s say, is not exactly happy to hear that he has survived.

See, Ishmael – whose real name we soon learn is Abdi – is one of the many children that were kidnapped by Mr. Lee’s criminal organisation over the years in order to be trained into ruthless, loyal killers and after Abdi expressed a desire to leave, he was shot, thrown into the sea and left for dead. Not one to leave any loose threads, Mr. Lee sends his most loyal soldiers to finish the job.

For anyone looking to extract a deeper purpose or meaning from this Indonesian martial arts thriller, know that you will be met with one seemingly challenging task – unless you’re looking for the opportunity to watch grown men beating each other to a pulp through a series of well executed combat scenes. The violence is shocking throughout most parts and the directors – who are simply referred to as The Mo brothers– don’t hold anything back.

Having first caught western attention in Gareth Evans’ The Raid, Indonesian martial arts star, Iko Uwais, delivers a fantastic, all-action performance.

The body count is high and watching Uwais working his way up the ranks is exciting and at times a little hard to sit through. However, on the downside, some of the scenes do come across as a little repetitive and the plot – as well as the atrocious dialogue – could have done with a bit of work.

On the other hand, action speaks louder than words in Headshot which, regardless of its flaws, turns out to be one of the most visually arresting and brutally-charged thrillers this year thus far.

Like This? Try

The Raid: Redemption (2011), The Raid 2 (2014), Killers (2014)

360 Tip

you enjoyed watching Headshot, be sure to check out the directors’ upcoming features The Night Comes for Us, due to be released sometime this year and One Good Thing, release date yet to be announced.

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