When Tony Jaa literally put his neck on the line in Ong Back, a new breed of bone-breaking action cinema was born. Jaa followed his success with Warrior King and their sequels. In 2011 The Raid arrived, proving whatever Thai cinema could do Indonesia can more than match. Raid 2 cemented that reputation. Two of its stars, Iko Uwais and Julie Estelle, reunite in Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto’s Headshot.
Ishael (Uwais) wakes up in hospital with a serious case of amnesia. He is nursed back to health by Ailin (Chelsea Islan), a student doctor at the hospital. When Ailin is snatched from a bus on the way to Jakarta, Ishmael sets off to rescue her. Whilst his fragmented memories gradually return, he must fight his way through masses of henchmen to face his biggest challenge: Coming to terms with his past.
Headshot is a drama interspersed by short and incredibly violent action sequences. The fighting ramps up as the pieces slowly slot into place in Ishmael’s mind. Whilst the action sequences are impressive, the drama and the drawn-out running time tends to dilute their impact. There’s a brilliant film waiting to burst out of Headshot, but unfortunately it just gets bogged down. At times it’s breathtaking, but whilst it’s well worth watching, it fails to reach the heights of Uwais’ previous work.
Headshot is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital by Arrow Films on Monday 5 June.