Director: The Mo Brothers
Cast: Iko Uwais, Chelsea Islan, Sunny Pang, Julie Estelle, Epy Kusnandar, Zack Lee, Very Tri Yulisman
Runtime: 1 hr 58 mins
Rating: M18 (Violence)
Official Website: http://sgiff.com/browse-all-films/headshot/
Opening Day: 25 November 2016 (Singapore International Film Festival 2016)
Synopsis: A young man wakes up from a coma in a hospital with no recollection of his past except a gunshot wound to the head. His only friend is the student-doctor Ailin, who nursed him back to recovery, renaming him Ishmael. Ishmael’s new existence is soon shaken up when a vicious gang starts hunting him down along with the people around him. He realizes that to save his future, he must bring back the dark memories from his past.
Viewers would flock to this film for two main reasons. First, they are fans of Indonesian actor, stuntman and fight choreographer Iko Uwais (too bad his co star from the very popular action movie The Raid, Yayan Ruhian isn’t in this movie). Second, they are fans of action and slasher genre movies (read: all things bloody, gory).
Directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (aka The Mo Brothers), the story’s protagonist is a man (Uwais) who finds himself washed ashore with no memory of who he is or where he came from. With the help of a pretty doctor (a very fresh faced Chelsea Islan), he starts to recover. The past comes knocking with flashbacks in the mix is a Chinese mafia (Singapore’s very own Sunny Pang!) and his team of dangerous and deadly assassins.
Fans of the genre will love the well choreographed action sequences, which do a great job of entertaining audiences. When the film begins to develop a romantic subplot, it drags down the pace – thankfully there isn’t much of that. The filmmakers know very well what fans want, and they deliver the punches, kicks and of course, the blood and gore in generous amounts. When viewers watch a movie like this, they are perfectly fine with screenwriters coming up with “reasons” for the characters to get into fights.
Uwais is as impressive as he was in Merantau (2009), The Raid (2012) and its 2014 sequel, nimbly knocking the antagonists out cold to escape from sticky situations. His on screen persona is charming too, and shouldn’t have problems having a steady following of female fans. Pang is aptly cast as the villain, scowling and grimacing his way through the 118 minute movie, reciting Bahasa and the strangely out of place Singlish dialogue.
The movie only has one objective in mind – to showcase fight after fight after fight. And it does an awesome job in doing so.
Reviewed by John Li at the 27th Singapore International Film Festival