Two of the best action films in recent years are foreign films The Raid and The Raid 2. Naturally, star Iko Uwais' next film - foreign action flick Headshot - has a lot of anticipation, and a lot to live up to as a result. The film screened at this year's Glasgow Film Fest, and here's my review.

I loved both The Raid films; they were just pure action-fueled entertainment, with Iko Uwais proving himself as a tour-de-force action star. As a fan of that film, there was a lot of anticipation surrounding Headshot, the Indonesian actor's latest foray into ass-kicking, and it does not disappoint. This is 2 hours of non-stop, truly relentless, no-holds-barred action and it's just absolutely tonnes of fun to watch go down on screen. Uwais plays a washed up man that wakes up after being in a coma for 2 months with no memory of his past and who he is. Falling for his doctor, Ailin (Chelsea Islan), who names him Ishmael, the two form a sweet, unlikely relationship and start building a new life together. However, when Ishmael begins to remember about his past, he finds himself being sought after by a mysterious criminal Lee (Sunny Pang).

Of course, the biggest selling point of this film is the action. And the action is incredible. From the opening scene, directors Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel show they mean business. Headshot is fucking nuts. This film is violent, in the most brutal of ways - we see arms being broken; knives being plunged through eyes and faces; heads being smashed; brains being shot out, and that's only the tip of the iceberg. The story is merely a vehicle for the action, which is in abundance and so stunningly conceived; the stunt work and choreography is masterful and breathtakingly intense. Each big action sequence (of which there are many) continues to innovate and build upon the last, with constantly new techniques and even more grim ways of killing people always being introduced. It's just bucketloads of fun to watch too, extremely bloodsoaked and stomach-churningly gory - there are genuinely many scenes which made me wince in my seat. It's made all the more remarkable because of the stunning camerawork, which so beautifully captures this action, with some impressive and slick shots and angles used, as well as the utterly realistic and convincing visuals and stuntwork.
As far as the story itself is concerned, it's fairly paint-by-numbers and conventional. The story is certainly competent enough to drive the film from one action sequence to the next and it works perfectly fine for the film, but it's fairly predictable and doesn't break any new ground in the slightest.The relationship between Ishmael and Ailin is cute enough to make the former's killing spree feel earned, but it's also fairly cheesy and definitely underdeveloped. Headshot lacks a slight emotional edge here, but this isn't exactly the film you necessarily go to see for a compelling premise and compelling characters alike. The performances aren't exactly Oscar-worthy either, but - similarly to the story - are pretty competent and solid; again, they merely act as a device for the action. Uwais is convincing enough in the role, with a natural, charismatic screen presence. However, he is a master of action and his performance is very charged through his movements - he stuns and wows and shows just why he is one of the best action stars working today, having done all of the stunt work himself.

Headshot shares a lot of similarities with The Raid and The Raid 2; both films have fairly simplistic stories and characters, that work well enough for the proceedings, but the focus of these films is always towards the violence and the incredibly shot, superbly choreographed action unfolding on screen. And, as an action film, it delivers with flying colours in spades. This film is so much fun to watch, with some nail-biting tension and terrific and bloody action. There is an ominous, booming score that also accompanies said action so magnificently. This is a non-stop thrill ride, that never once really lets up. The action is superbly acted, directed and captured and it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and fun couple of hours of mindless violence and entertainment.


Headshot is as insane a film as they come. It's action-packed, relentlessly violent, and beautifully brutal; it also proves that foreign action films are the best action films. Period.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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