Headshot (2016 film)

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Headshot (2016 film).jpg
Headshot poster
Directed byThe Mo Brothers
Written byTimo Tjahjanto
Produced byShinjiro Nishimura
Wicky V. Olindo
Mike Wiluan
StarringIko Uwais
Chelsea Islan
Sunny Pang
Julie Estelle
Very Tri Yulisman
David Hendrawan
Zack Lee
CinematographyYunus Pasolang
Edited byArifin Cu'unk
Music byAria Prayogi
Fajar Yuskemal
Infinite Frameworks Studios
Screenplay Infinite Films
XYZ Films
Distributed byArk Entertainment (Japan)
Surya Citra Media (Indonesia)
Arrow Film (UK)
Vertical Entertainment (US)
Release date
  • September 9, 2016 (2016-09-09) (Toronto)
  • December 8, 2016 (2016-12-08) (Indonesia)
Running time
118 minutes
Box office$2.07 million or
Rp27.3 billion[1][2]

Headshot is a 2016 Indonesian action film directed by The Mo Brothers. The film stars Iko Uwais as a man with amnesia in a battle against a criminal syndicate to protect the doctor (Chelsea Islan) who saved his life. Headshot premiered on September 9, 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival and theatrically on December 8, 2016 in Indonesia. It received generally positive reviews from critics.


In the prologue, mobster Lee (Sunny Pang) escapes from prison in a shootout that leaves dozens of prisoners and guards dead.

Two months later, a comatose man of unknown identity (Iko Uwais) is being cared for by Dr. Ailin (Chelsea Islan) in a rural hospital on a small island. He awakes, but with no clear memory of how he was injured or even his name. He adopts the name Ishmael from Moby-Dick, which Ailin is reading. He learns he was found on the beach by a man named Romli (Yayu Unru).

Meanwhile, Lee and his henchmen Rika (Julie Estelle) and Besi (Very Tri Yulisman) violently eliminate a rival gang. One of the gang's survivors tells Lee about Ishmael, and Lee sends the man to investigate. Ishmael and the thug have a brief altercation after the man threatens Ailin. Ailin travels to the mainland to seek better care for Ishmael, but her bus is stopped by Lee's men, who are looking for Ishmael (who they call Abdi). They kill every passenger but Ailin and a young girl, whom they kidnap.

Called by Ailin, Ishmael and Romli hurry to the scene of the bus attack. Ishmael kills a few of Lee's thugs who remain at the scene, but Romli is also killed. An Interpol agent tells Ishmael about children kidnapped by Lee's syndicate and bred to be devoted smugglers and criminal enforcers; Ishmael was one of these children. The agent is killed when a group of Lee's killers attacks the police station in an attempt to take out Ishmael/Abdi. Ishmael puts down the attackers instead and escapes.

Ishmael must then go to war with the syndicate to save Ailin. While traveling, he encounters Besi near a well, and it is revealed that he, Rika and Besi trained together. Lee would put children in the well and starve them. After a few days, he would put food in there, and the child who killed all the others to get the food would be freed. Ishmael tries to persuade Besi to not be on Lee's side, but Besi refuses out of loyalty. They soon enter in a fight, and Ishmael gains the upper hand. After Besi dies, Rika finds out and attacks Ishmael.

Ishmael defeats Rika despite multiple wounds from the latter, and it is revealed that Rika was the one who shot Ishmael and gave him memory loss. When Rika holds Ishmael at gunpoint, she can't bring herself to shoot Ishmael again, and instead shoots away from Ishmael, wasting her bullets. In the confusion, Ishmael accidentally deals Rika a mortal injury by reflexively throwing a knife. After comforting her in her dying moments, Ishmael finds Lee's hideout.

Meanwhile, a henchman is about to rape Ailin, but Ailin and the child fight him off, eventually shooting him with his own rifle. Ishmael and Ailin meet each other, and even though Ailin threatens Ishmael because she was kidnapped due to their relationship, Ishmael convinces her not to, and they embrace. However, Lee arrives, and is enraged that Ishmael killed Rika and Besi, whom he had considered favorite "children." They then enter a brutal fight, with Lee gaining the upper hand due to his strength. However, Ishmael finally beats Lee outside, and impales him on the sharp branch of a tree trunk. In his death throes, Lee is about to kill Ishmael by pulling him closer to the same sharp trunk, but Ailin saves Ishmael. Lee finally succumbs to his wounds, and dies.

In the aftermath, Ailin is recovering in the hospital, with Ishmael wounded severely. However, he wakes up with Ailin by his side, and Ailin smiles.[3]



Headshot was directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel, known as The Mo Brothers, who had never directed an action film before.[4] Timo wrote the storyline in two and a half weeks and claimed that "it may be the fastest story I've ever produced."[5] The film was produced by Screenplay Infinite Films.[6] Besides starring in the film, Iko Uwais also led the choreography team for three weeks. In the film, every character has their own fighting style, such as silat, wushu, or brutal fighting, based on the background of the actor.[7]


A soundtrack album was released by the production house and featured Andre Harihandoyo dan Sonic People who contributed the song "Impostor Heart".[8]


Headshot was first screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on 9 September 2016.[4][9] The film was screened twice on 24 & 29 September in Fantastic Fest, Austin.[10] On 4 October, the film was screened at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles. It was also screened at Mayhem Film Festival 2016 on October 13.[9] It was also screened at the 30th Leeds International Film Festival on 13–14 November.[11]

In Indonesia, Headshot was premiered on 19 November 2016 in Bandung and 20 November in Makassar.[12] The film was released into theaters on 8 December.[13]


Headshot received generally positive reviews. As of June 2020, the film holds a 72% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 47 reviews with an average rating of 6.23 out of 10.[14] On Metacritic, it has an aggregated score of 61 out of 100, meaning "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote that "In terms of sheer, punchy physical vigor, Headshot is a knockout."[16] Headshot received 4 out of 5 stars from The Guardian, where Wendy Ide called it "the most insanely violent film of the year" and wrote that "Thrilling fight scenes and dizzyingly relentless action elevate this Indonesian adventure to headspinning heights".[17] Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com gave Headshot 2.5 stars out of 4 and wrote that "Blood-soaked Indonesian martial arts flick Headshot is for anyone who liked The Bourne Identity, but wished it were way more violent."[18]

Some reviewers considered the film repetitive, excessive, or both. David Ehrlich of IndieWire wrote that the film is a "brutally exhausting bloodbath", saying that "As the movie stretches deep into its second hour, it’s easy to start resenting the fact that everybody gets shot with 20 bullets when one would do."[19] Collider's Matt Goldberg gave the movie "D", criticizing that "a movie that should have been a lean actioner instead runs almost two hours even though it’s just a damsel-in-distress story... Eventually, fight fatigue sets in and we know that the directors aren’t going to do anything to surprise us."[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Notes
2016 36th Citra Awards Best Director The Mo Brothers Nominated
Best Sound Aria Prayogi
Fajar Yuskemal
M. Ichsan Rachmaditta
Best Art Direction Iqbal Marjono Nominated
Best Visual Effects Andi Novianto Won
2016 L'Étrange Festival International Feature Film Headshot Won shared with They Call Me Jeeg
2017 6th Maya Awards Best Sound Aria Prayogi
Fajar Yuskemal
Ichsan Rachmaditta
Best Visual Effects Andi Novianto Nominated
Best Makeup & Hairstyling Kumalasari Tanara Nominated
2017 Golden Trailer Awards Best Foreign Action Trailer Vertical Entertainment
Zealot Pictures


  1. ^ "Data Penonton tahun 2016" [Moviegoers Data of 2016]. Filmindonesia.or.id (in Indonesian). Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Headshot (2017) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  3. ^ Iko Uwais Starrer ‘Headshot’ Scores Global Deals – Toronto
  4. ^ a b Valentina, Jessicha (4 October 2016). "Festivalgoers get peek at Iko Uwais' latest film 'Headshot'". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  5. ^ Hazliansyah, ed. (27 November 2016). "Timo Tjahjanto Bicara Soal Skenario Film "Headshot"". Republika Online. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  6. ^ Susilawati, Desy (2 December 2016). Hazliansyah (ed.). "Headshot Sukses, Sutradara Tertantang Buat Film yang Lebih Bagus". Republika Online. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  7. ^ Setiawan, Tri Susanto (2 October 2016). Kistyarini (ed.). "Rancang Adegan Laga "Headshot", Iko Uwais Diberi Waktu Tiga Minggu". Kompas.com. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  8. ^ Susilawati, Desy (2 December 2016). Hazliansyah (ed.). "Andre Harihandoyo Tertantang Garap Soundtrack Film "Headshot"". Republika Online. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  9. ^ a b Pangerang, Andi Muttya Keteng (20 September 2016). Kistyarini (ed.). "Belum Tayang di Indonesia, "Headshot" Dapat Penghargaan di Perancis". Kompas.com. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  10. ^ Pangerang, Andi Muttya Keteng (28 September 2016). Kistyarini (ed.). ""Headshot" Diputar di Amerika Serikat". Kompas.com. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  11. ^ Susanti, Reni (19 November 2016). Maullana, Irfan (ed.). ""Headshot" Tayang di 25 Festival Film Dunia". Kompas.com. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  12. ^ Susanti, Reni (19 November 2016). Maullana, Irfan (ed.). "Film "Headshot" Tayang Perdana di Bandung". Kompas.com. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  13. ^ Pangerang, Andi Muttya Ketteng (1 December 2016). Maullana, Irfan (ed.). "Bertarung di Pantai, Iko Uwais Kelilipan Pasir". Kompas.com. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Headshot (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  15. ^ "Headshot (2017) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  16. ^ Harvey, Dennis (2016-09-16). "Film Review: 'Headshot'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  17. ^ Ide, Wendy (2017-03-05). "Headshot review – the most insanely violent film of the year". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  18. ^ Abrams, Simon (2017-03-03). "Headshot Movie Review & Film Summary (2017) | Roger Ebert". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  19. ^ Ehrlich, David (2017-03-02). "Headshot Review: The Raid Star Iko Uwais Stars in Another Bloodbath | IndieWire". IndieWire. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  20. ^ Goldberg, Matt (2017-03-01). "'Headshot' Review: Iko Uwais Action Movie Misses the Target". Collider. Retrieved 2017-07-08.

External links[edit]