Headshot (2016 film)
|Written by||Timo Tjahjanto|
|Distributed by||Vertical Entertainment (US)|
$2.07 million or|
Headshot is a 2016 Indonesian martial arts action film directed by Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto. The film stars Iko Uwais as a man with amnesia who must battle a criminal syndicate to protect the doctor (Chelsea Islan) who saved his life. Headshot was released on September 9, 2016, at the Toronto International Film Festival. 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 henchmen 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.
- Iko Uwais as Ishmael/Abdi
- Chelsea Islan as Ailin
- Sunny Pang as Lee
- Julie Estelle as Rika
- David Hendrawan as Tejo
- Zack Lee as Tano
- Very Tri Yulisman as Besi
- Bront Palarae as Interpol Agent Ali
- Yayu Unru as Romli
- Ario Bayu as Jakarta Police Captain
- Hirooki Goto as Japanese Thug (Cameo)
Headshot was directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel, known as the Mo Brothers, who had never directed an action film before. Timo wrote the storyline in two and a half weeks and claimed that "it may be the fastest story I've ever produced." The film was produced by Screenplay Infinite Films. 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.
Headshot was first screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on 9 September 2016. The film was screened twice on 24 & 29 September in Fantastic Fest, Austin. 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. It was also screened at the 30th Leeds International Film Festival on 13–14 November.
The soundtrack of the film was released by the production house and Andre Harihandoyo dan Sonic People (AHSP), including a song titled "Impostor Heart".
Headshot received generally positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has an aggregated score of 74%. On Metacritic, it has an aggregated score of 61 out of 100, meaning "generally favorable reviews".
Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote that "In terms of sheer, punchy physical vigor, "Headshot" is a knockout." 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". Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com gave Headshot 2.5 stars 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."
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." 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."
Headshot was nominated The Grand Prix Nouveau Genre Award in L'etrange Festival Paris 2016 for International Feature Film category and shared the award with Italian film They Call Me Jeeg Robot.
In local awards, the film through Andi Novianto was awarded Best Visual Effects at the 2016 Indonesian Film Festival.
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