REVIEW: Headshot (2016)

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2016, Screenplay Infinite Films/Nikkatsu/XYZ Films/Vertical Entertainment

Directors:
Kimo Stamboel
Timo Tjahjanto
Producers:
Wicky V. Olindo
Mike Wiluan
Shinjiro Nishimura
Writer:
Timo Tjahjanto
Cinematography:
Yunus Pasolang
Editing:
Arifin Cu’unk

Cast:
Iko Uwais (Ishmael)
Chelsea Islan (Ailin)
Sunny Pang (Lee)
Julie Estelle (Rika)
Very Tri Yulisman (Besi)
Zack Lee (Tano)
David Hendrawan (Tejo)
Ganindra Bimo (Bondi)
Epy Kusnandar (Romli)
Bront Palarae (Inspector)

Indonesian action star Iko Uwais churns out both a wonderful dramatic performance and a serious dose of brutal fighting in this latest film from the Mo Brothers.

Romli, a fisherman in a small village, finds a man washed ashore on the beach. Taken to the hospital, the man spends two months in a coma while local nurse Ailin keeps an eye on him. One day, the man suddenly awakens but has no recollection of who he is. Ailin names the man Ishmael and upon discovering his X-Ray, she learns that he has been shot in the head, causing him to have amnesia.

Lee, a notorious criminal, has escaped from prison and reconnects with his old gang, comprised of Rika, Besi, Tano, and Tejo. When Lee learns of a man who has washed ashore and has been taken to the hospital, he sends out his gang to go after Ishmael, the man in question. As Ishmael slowly begins to have visions, he and his new friends are under threat from Lee’s gang. Despite his reservations, Ishmael learns that he has impeccable fighting skills and when Ailin is kidnapped, he is determined not only to get her back, but find out the shocking discovery about who he really is.

Iko Uwais has had his share of both stellar roles (Merentau, The Raid: Redemption, and The Raid 2) and then there are those which he was wasted with the sole purpose of just appearing (Man of Tai Chi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens). It is safe to say that not only does his latest film fall in the former, but it is also one of his best roles to date as it allows him to not only kick some major butt, but also show a dramatic side to his role of the enigmatic Ishmael.

As the amnesiac Ishmael, Uwais is given a chance to show his acting side as it allows him to uncover the truth behind who he really is. His eventual relationship with Ailin is the pivotal point of the film, with Ailin played really well by Chelsea Islan. Ailin spends her days with Ishmael in the hospital by looking at his vitals and then proceeds to read and sleep in the couch next to his bed. When he awakens and she learns part of the truth, she decides to help him and it is that bond that becomes the basis for Ishmael’s plan of action.

The villains of the film are quite a delight as well, especially the ringleader himself Lee, wonderfully played by Sunny Pang. The opening of the film shows our villain’s escape from prison and this is just a taste of how evil this man is. He is truly a psychopath of sorts who doesn’t care who gets sacrificed as long as he’s out safe and sound. The Raid 2’s Very Tri Yulisman and Julie Estelle play virtual new versions of their prolific characters only replace Yulisman’s baseball bat with a baton and Estelle’s hammer with a knife. In addition, the duo get dialogue in the film as opposed to their mute characters in The Raid 2.

Uwais and co-director/writer Timo Tjahjanta were responsible for crafting the film’s brutal action scenes. While there are plenty of guns blazing in some scenes, Uwais brings his martial art of Silat and unleashes a barrage of punishment that takes the action style in The Raid 2 and actually brings it up a couple of notches. While the opening prison escape scene brings a taste of what to expect, the action smoothly flows with the storyline itself and is also quite brutal, especially when all is said and done and we have the final showdown set, which is just a must see itself.

Iko Uwais and the Mo Brothers have made it clear. This is clearly one Headshot you will be glad to have. If you love action and drama, then this is truly a must see.

WFG RATING: A+

This film is currently playing in theaters, Video on Demand, and Digital HD. Check your theater for availability \or VOD platforms to check this film out!

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