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Review Headshot (2016): Apparently these days brutal and gritty violence equals action excellence. Yeah, I don't think so!

genre: action, martial arts







Headshot is yet another Indonesian film starring Iko Uwais that follows the trend set in The Raid 1 and The Raid 2 where the focus lies on brutal, gritty and realistic violence rather than stylish and beautifully choreographed hand to hand combat. And it is safe to say I am not a fan. Not one bit.

It's not that I can appreciate realistic violence. I surely can but for me to accept or embrace it I have to be fully immersed into the experience. This usually is accomplished by good narrative or characterization. There is no such thing in this film. It's your standard plot about a guy with amnesia getting into trouble because of his past. I mean the minute you get introduced to the main character you will have a pretty good idea how it will play out. To be honest that was not something I was that bothered about. What did bother me was the fact how stupid and illogical most people acted in this film. I will give you an example. In the opening scene some prisoners get free and receive weapons from the main baddie so that have a fighting chance against the prison guards. Only a few seconds after both the guards and prisoners find themselves in a Mexican standoff where not a single one of them jump backwards or find cover to adequately and safely dispatch of their enemies. Both groups just stand there and wait for someone to shoot first. When the shooting starts you already know the outcome. You would think professional criminals would have a little more sense than they did here? Had there really been no option for these people to escape and avoid bloodshed I probably could have accepted the scene. But since there was enough time and chance not to get into this predicament this scene makes no sense whatsoever. Now I could have tolerated this scene if this was the only one where they went for the pretentious fatalism. Unfortunately almost every action scene is like this to a point that it got me too angry to suspend disbelief. One of the goons gets caught off guard with a shotgun being pointed at him by our main character and how does he respond? " Good one " and just stays there frozen. Not even an attempt to jump away. One lady goon who supposedly had some sort of love connection with the main character at point shoots at him with her eyes closed and misses. She is so close to him no way she could have missed not even on purpose. He reacts and she ends up dead. I am sorry but that is just too ridiculous. This coming from someone who can appreciate real bad B movies. That should tell you something.

All I wanted was to enjoy the action and directors Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto did nothing to make that happen. Many of the action scenes just start and end without rhyme and reason whereas in some real rare moments you had buildup of tension only to end our main character putting his fists down and then get beaten up like a chump. It takes away the momentum to get immersed and that should never ever happen in an action film. Worse crime this movie commits is too take itself too seriously. If they wanted me to be dramatically involved they should have come up with a much better story or dynamics to make me care about any of the characters. And I simply didn't. It is therefore very surprising to see so many praising reviews. Only a few are critical and negative which is very suspect if you ask me. Even the best classic films have their fair share of negative reviews. I am very forgiving when it comes to films especially action films but with this I can't be. I wasted very precious time and did not get what I wanted at all. No fun and enjoyment whatsoever. 

So don't bother with this. Seriously. If you were expecting another The Raid then you are going to be so disappointed. Hell, even The Raid 2 was better than this and I absolutely disliked that one. 





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