Film review – Headshot (Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto, 2016)

Indonesian action film Headshot received its UK premiere on Thursday night at Mayhem Film Festival. It may have started late but the action came thick and fast, treating the audience to an experience typical of the directing duo.

The Mo Brothers – Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto – have carved out a unique blend of action-horror in their previous efforts Macabre (2009) and Killers (2014), both of which have received a lot of attention around the world. This film sees them casting Iko Uwais (The Raid) as a man who wakes up in hospital with memory loss and a past that is rapidly threatening to catch up with him.

It is a perhaps more Transporter than Bourne, with scant attention to the finer details of character development and more time spent with Uwais as he kicks, punches and shoots his way through an army of bad guys to get to the chief druglord Lee (Sunny Pang). It’s fun, albeit unrealistic – a fact underlined by the shooting ability of the henchmen (they really need some firing practice).

Headshot

Arguably this film isn’t really a horror, sitting more in the action thriller camp, but many of the scenes are littered with gruesome breaks and gory splats, from which a lot of the entertainment is derived. There were a few unfortunately humorous moments due to the over-zealous subtitles that often simply described what was happening on the screen, which broke up some of the more serious scenes.

It is a shallow film and one that probably won’t have much crossover appeal for people who don’t intentionally seek out non-mainstream Asian cinema. Those that do find it will be treated to a couple of hours of solid entertainment, though may struggle to remember any highlights shortly after the final credits roll.

Mayhem Film Festival – Preview

I’ll be heading down to the Mayhem Film Festival in Nottingham tonight to catch the first night of action.

First up will be The Duke St. Workshop feat. Laurence R. Harvey. Presented in conjunction with Kinoclubb, the performance will feature an electronic live score accompanying Harvey (star of The Human Centipede 2) as he reads two H. P. lovecraft short stories: ‘From Beyond’ and ‘The Hound’.

Next is the film ‘Raw‘, which received its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival last week to rave reviews.

Finally, the UK premiere of Indonesian film ‘Headshot‘ will round off the proceedings.