15 October 2016 | Raven-1969
Gory, Thrilling, Funny and Full of Twists and Turns
"The door swings both ways my friend." This is not something a maximum security prison guard likes to hear when facing a dangerous psychopath and skilled fighter who appears, with the help of insiders, to be on the verge of a break out attempt. The prison guard, as may be expected, is not long for this world. The man he faced, Lee, escapes from the prison over piles of injured and dead. By force of will and fist, Lee re-assumes command of a fearsome gang and drug distributing territory, but he is searching for someone that he desperately needs. The man he is looking for was admitted to the hospital with severe head trauma and amnesia. In the hospital, a burning bus, shadowy warehouse and the remains of a shattered police station, we begin to understand the stories of the two opposing characters. A doctor, Ailin, gets caught in the middle.
This gory, raw and darkly humorous film contains some amazing scenes and lines, especially in the first half. The main characters, both good and evil, repeatedly defy the odds as well as expectations. There are a lot of broken bones and buckets of blood are spilled. I like how the fighters make mistakes in judgment, such as impulsively swinging a machete at someone and not realizing there is an iron beam blocking your arm. These mistakes accord with human nature. Too often in films, action films in particular, the characters and scenes seem devoid of such substance, black and white and no gray in between. In another example of this, Lee chides Ailin; "You should have stabbed me here (points to artery), I thought you were a doctor."
Headshot also includes thrilling music, romances between beautiful people, and unexpected twists and turns. I love the frequent nods to Herman Melville. Even the main character of Headshot is tagged with the nickname of Ishmael, the narrator of Moby Dick. Headshot's theme echoes a theme of Moby Dick; what it means to be strong. The last half of the film is tamer and blander than the first, yet it is still thrilling. Seen at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.