If you're like me, then you would agree that The Raid and The Raid 2 are two of the best – if not the best – action movies to come out in recent years. While Raid 3 isn't for awhile, Headshot does more than enough to fill the gap.
I had the privilege of seeing this film at TIFF and it was well worth it. Here's five reasons why this film kicked my ass and will probably kick yours.
1) Iko Uwais
Once again, the star of The Raid films shows us why he's the next big thing and the poster boy for Indonesian action films. The stunts in this film featuring him are mind-blowing and just as you'd expect given his previous roles – sans Force Awakens.
And what 'Headshot' does slightly better than either of The Raid films, is it shows Ishmael (Iko's character) endure a lot more pain and attacks. In The Raid films, Rama is superhuman and rarely faces challenges dealing with waves of foes. In 'Headshot', while realism is certainly thrown out the window, he's still vulnerable.
2) Major emphasis on 1v1 combat
You could easily argue that the best fight in The Raid films was the The Raid 2's final fight in which Rama fought Cecep Arif Rahman's character “The Assassin”.
Part of what made that fight so intense was that it was relatively even and it was fought one-on-one. The intensity was off the charts.
'Headshot' has Iko Uwais take on multiple (for a lack of a better word) assassins one-by-one leading up to the final battle with the film's antagonist. And some of these fights are absolutely heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping action set pieces.
Essentially these are like boss battles in a video game. And you'll love them for it.
3) The story
Listen, we all go to see these films because of the action. We don't ever really care about these characters or their motivations. But if The Raid 2 was The Departed, Headshot is The Bourne Identity.
While nothing amazingly special, the story does do enough to make us understand a lot more 'why' these characters are fighting. The Raid was extremely straight forward with Rama infiltrating a building run by a boss boss, so the encounters had little meaning. In 'Headshot' the characters have a history and it's that history that adds just a little bit more weight to the cirsumstances.
4) Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl return
Remember these two fan favourite characters from The Raid 2? Both Julie Estelle and Very Tri Yulisman return.
It's not like they're only around for one or two scenes either, they play a pretty key role to the story.
Both Estelle and Yulisman get their share of action sequences too, which is great for those who wanted a bit more from them in The Raid. There's one particular scene between Yulisman and Uwais that seems like a perfect fit for a Metal Gear Solid game.
Needless to say, they add so much in the way of badassery.
5) More weapon-based combat makes this a bloody gem
For a film called 'Headshot' you'd expect guns. Oh baby, there's plenty in this. Guns, knives, batons, machetes, you name it and it will be used as a weapon.
As a result, Headshot has enough gore to open a blood bank. And there's more of it here than either of the two Raid films. Now sure, this can turn some people off, but for those who dig ultra violence, I included it on this list.
This is one violent movie.
Really my only major complaint in this film is some story elements could have been ironed out a bit more. We never really understand what Ishmael did to set this chain of events in place and it's never explained. That and the final fight scene falls behind both final fights in The Raid 1 and 2. If it had an extra minute or so, especially in the environment the fight eventually takes place in, it would be a top contender.
Oh, and there was a very small subtitle issue involving the word “It's”. Blink and you'll miss it, but it's there. Hopefully it's fixed before a wide release.
So, go see Headshot when it comes out. There's more than enough reason to do so, and it more than fills our craving for Indonesian marital arts madness.