Iko Uwais, star of the Indonesian action masterpiece, The Raid, stars in Headshot as a man with a troubled and violent past he can’t remember.
An unidentified man (Uwais), dubbed “Ishmael” by his attentive doctor (Chelsea Islan), severely beaten and with a near fatal head wound. Upon awaking, he has no idea who he is or how he got there. When deadly attackers come knocking at his door, however, it becomes quickly obvious that he’d better catch up with his past before it catches up with him.
In Indonesian and English with English subtitles.
With virtually non-stop action – literally almost every moment is an action scene – it won’t disappoint in that department. The choreography and martial arts on display are superb, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve seen Uwais other work. Sadly there’s not much else to give the movie a backbone.
I’m fine when a film exists as an excuse for action sequences, but when the movie is one long action sequence with a few lines of dialogue to half-heartedly give a reason for what’s happening, I’m less than enthusiastic. Taking itself too seriously while featuring incredibly over the top violence, it’s part unintentionally laughable and part needlessly gruesome. I’m sorry, but I don’t really want to watch a man rip part of another man’s neck off with his fingernails.
I do applaud the character of Ailin (the doctor). She’s there neither as pointless eye-candy nor to be a simple damsel in distress. The single important motivation behind the plot and Ishmael, she is the emotional heart of the film as well as proving not to be a helpless macguffin. Still, when the whole movie can be summed up in less than a paragraph and the action surrounding it tries too hard for it’s own good, that’s not enough to redeem the film in the end.
It waffles back and forth from almost Monty Python Black Knight spurting levels of gore and Passion of the Christ flogging levels of torturific violence in a way that is just not appealing, while some of the action acting reminded me of the reactions the Power Rangers displayed when suffering a hit. I hate to be so hard on the film when a lot of the action really is fantastic, but nothing about this film ever grabbed me. Still, a must-see for hardcore fans of the genre – everyone else can skip it and go see The Raid instead.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film
Brother Hamster did not screen this film
My rating: Two out of five hats
Headshot wakes up in select theaters, March 3