Thoughts On: Headshot - Mixed


Headshot - Mixed

Quick Thoughts: Headshot (2016)

An amnesiac and his doctor are perused by mobsters he used to work with.

Headshot is probably Iko Uwais' weakest fight film. Alas, it is maybe his most distinct. The story, as to be expected, is rather laconic. However, there is a clear attempt here to delve deeper into character complications than what is seen in The Raid 1 and 2, and possibly even The Night Comes For Us. Unfortunately though, it is very clear that the script for this film was written in a matter of days. Headshot very much so feels like a stream of consciousness as it is riddled with a lot of loose ends, highly undeveloped characters, nonsensical melodrama and a very forced back stories. Narratively, this then feels incomplete and rushed - pretentious maybe, considering the fact that there is a rather clear attempt to do more than allow an understated rescue the princess narrative scream through constant fight scenes. In a somewhat confused manner this tries to juxtapose the anima and animus, the princess and the father, before a new-born self who must battle through his shadowed past to find peace and unification. There is no complication to this journey and nothing thematically specific enough to deserve close analysis. Story, we're safe to say, is rather negligible.

One of the slightly disappointing aspects of Headshot is the manner in which characters interact with the fight scenes. Whilst character development is not necessary in the fight film genre, archetypes or playful caricatures are. What Raid 2 does particularly well is visually characterise its figures and provide them certain weapons that distinguish them and give them some semblance of character as they enter fight scenes. This deepens the dance-narrative developed ever so slightly. Headshot lacks this. It relies, instead, on backstories that aren't given thematic oomph and fighting styles. This latter means of characterisation has its ups and downs. Headshot is composed of various unique fight scenes that see different fighting styles constantly mixing. I can't say I am a big fan of how this was executed. The Raid feels like a never-ending fight that ups the intensity with setting and character; Headshot meanders through fight and action sequences, often seeing guns over-used and tension loosely culminated. A few fights then felt too slow and badly paced. Alas, each and every one is at least a mark or two above the average action fight scene - which cannot be overlooked. There is only one fight scene that I had problems with in Headshot, and this is the last. As mentioned, each character has their own fighting style. The final fight, slight spoilers, is between 'father' and 'son'. The father, who we certainly don't expect to be able to fight too well, has a strange tiger-claw fighting style - which in a modern fight film feels highly out of place. This style hearkens back to 70s and 80s martial arts film and sticks out of what is a pretty descent showcase of semi-practical mma. The final fight breaks then the illusion of realism conjured across much of the narrative as suddenly necks back be ripped out and concrete floors can be shattered with a punch. It simply does not work.

In total, Headshot is good fun, but remains the weakest of Uwais' fight films in my opinion. But, with that said, what are your thoughts on Headshot?

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