Movie Review - Headshot
There aren't a lot of martial arts films that get wide releases in the United States lately. John Wick: Chapter Two is ostensibly one. The remake, Power Rangers, which came out earlier this year too, should have been more a martial arts film but wasn't. Some consider Wonder Woman, a martial arts film but that film is more an action-adventure with fighting. It's not the same. There have been some martial arts films in limited release in the U.S. like Commando 2 with Vidyut Jammwal or Savage Dog with Scott Adkins, but this is probably the only one of note. Otherwise, the only other martial arts property that Americans could name is probably Iron Fist on Netflix, and no question in terms of action and choreography, this film is a thousand times better than Iron Fist or even The Defenders.
Iko Uwais stars as Ishmael, a man who washes up unconscious on a beach one day. He has a gunshot wound to the head. What could have gone the way of Kill Bill actually goes the way of The Bourne Identity. Ishmael isn't his real name. It's the name he chose after waking from a coma. He doesn't know who he is but he does know he has certain martial arts skills.
Director and co-writer Timo Tjahjanto is Indonesian and he crafts a series of intense fight scenes for Ishmael's journey to save Ailin. He establishes the tone of those fight scenes with an opening action sequence that's over-the-top and ridiculous. There are lots of blood, lots of comical gun-shots, lots of machine-gun fire and lots of gore. Tjahjanto wants a bloodbath on screen and he wants the kills to be vicious and brutal. One might laugh at first at how the gun play is depicted, but quickly it's clear that the violence here is no laughing matter. Tjahjanto tries to find the humor in it, but once a gun is put to a child's head, it ceases to be humorous.
Strangely, this movie had an ending that was similar to the ending of Logan, the last comic-book movie involving Wolverine. It's a brief similarity, but it was enough to invoke that X-Men film. Yet, it's clear that when it comes to pure action, this film is inherently better.
Not Rated but contains language and graphic violence and gore.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 58 mins.
Available on Netflix.