Action Drama

'Headshot' TIFF 2016 Review: Iko Uwais' latest is another brutal, bone-crunching beat 'em up

September 17, 2016Ben Mk



   
Judging by its title alone, Headshot could either be about the process of auditioning for a movie, or it could be a film where many people get shot, punched, stabbed and kicked in the head. Then again, the movie does star Indonesian martial arts hero Iko Uwais, best known for his action-packed roles in The Raid and The Raid 2, so that pretty much clears up any ambiguity about the kind of film we're getting.

Clearly influenced by the Bourne movies, Headshot has Uwais playing an injured, amnesiac man who washes up unconscious along an Indonesian beach. Dubbed Ishmael by Ailin (Chelsea Islan), the med student (and "Moby Dick" fan) who patiently nurses him back to health, he embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about his identity. However, before he can do so, Ishmael finds his shadowy past catching up with him. And when Ailin is kidnapped by a ruthless crime lord named Lee (Sunny Pang), Ishmael sets off on a do-or-die mission to rescue her, kicking, punching, and generally beating the bejesus out of anyone and anything that stands in his way.

Directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (the duo behind Macabre and Killers), what follows is a brutal, bone-crunching and blood-spattered beat 'em up. And if you're a fan of Uwais' extreme brand of ass-kickery, the fight scenes certainly won't leave you disappointed. That being said, what Headshot severely lacks is story. Because when it comes to the narrative, the film's plot proves so painfully paper-thin that by the halfway mark, some viewers might find themselves engaged in a battle of their own — fighting off the urge to fall asleep.


Headshot is receiving its world premiere as part of TIFF 2016's Midnight Madness programme. Its runtime is 1 Hr. 57 Min.




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