Headshot (2016)

Director: Kimo Stamboel, Timo Tjahjanto
Writer: Timo Tjahjanto
Cast: Iko Uwais, Chelsea Islan, Sunny Pang, Very Tri Yulisman, Julie Estelle, Ario Bayu, Yayu A.W. Unru
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

A young man (Iko Uwais) is washed ashore unconscious. When he wakes up after two months, he can’t remember a thing. He’s slowly nursed back to health by a doctor, Ailin (Chelsea Islan), who calls him Ishmael. But as he grows stronger and more active, his past comes back to haunt him. And his past is a bloody, violent place.

Headshot doesn’t have the best story, but it does have great action. Unfortunately the film stands in its own way sometimes, so it never really takes off.

Headshot substitutes most of its story with a lot of rather messy Moby Dick references. While the story could have done with a bit more thought in general, and especially an explanation that wasn’t all that obvious, I liked the messiness of the references that grow more intriguing with every puzzle piece that almost but not quite fits with the thing its referencing. It made it all the more engaging for not being straightforward.

But an innovative story isn’t all that necessary when you got Iko Uwais kicking ass. He’s simply great. When you have him in your film, it feels like all you need to do is to make sure that the camera is pointing in his direction and you’re set. Unfortunately though, in this case, they didn’t keep the camera calm enough and then over-edited the shaky footage they shot, so you barely get to see the obviously really well-made fight scenes.

I also very much liked Chelsea Islan’s Ailin who was cute and wonderfully competent and one of the least damselly damsels in a long time, which is nice. Although she’s still second fiddle to Ishmael and his story, it was good to have her in the film.

But despite the many good qualities of the film, it did have some lengths and it never got enough speed to really get past average. Still, watching an average film with Iko Uwais is still a good watch.

Summarizing: If you like good fights.

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