Monkey Man (2024)

Monkey Man Review

Monkey Man

“Monkey Man” is a film by Dev Patel. It is filled with passion and love for the genre which sometimes feels like it is mass-produced. The actor, writer, producer, director broke some bones while shooting this one. He called Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung, “The Raid,” Korean action movies, Bollywood and many others in his introduction to this film and indeed it can be seen as stuffed with all these ideas that have been waiting so long to come alive on screen but were afraid they will never get another chance again. This movie had an extremely troubled production process that started before Covid-19 pandemic Patel thanked Jordan Peele for saving it – and it’s really amazing that such a thing as “Monkey Man” exists at all; moreover such fervent feelings may infect you too. All those references made by Dev Patel in his intro are deserved by this work when it hums along nicely but also when something goes wrong here those lapses could be forgiven as natural results of any filmmaker’s burning desire to be different from other action flick apes.

‘Kid’ (played by Dev Patel) Inspired by Hanuman Legend ‘Monkey Man’ fights for money wearing gorilla mask against Sharlto Copley who portrays sleazy promoter and beats him up most nights paying extra if he bleeds because with pitted face hands silent mouth Kid looks like the weakest man among these people but through twinkling glare early in his eyes Patels shows viewers how much drive our hero possesses already being beaten down once there is only upwards way left.

Once upon a midnight stealing spree though thief becomes employee at high-class club where not only business tycoons gather but also politicians including one who ruined everything police chief Sikandar Kher played earlier appeared during scuffle scene involving both Pitobash (as reluctant friend turned colleague caught) Sobhita Dhulipala (as beautiful worker recurring later). Still it remains solely around Dev’s character current or past forms never letting go off him even for a single moment as we follow ordinary individual rising up into cold-blooded killer throughout their every single step till he reaches the top.

Hence those of you expecting constant action from ‘Monkey Man’ might be slightly taken aback by its structure – it is rather long setup followed with hefty dose of fighting then repeat cycle, however… this movie besides brawls and trainings hardly contains more than two fight-scenes but they are worth waiting for: what Patel did was taking different templates worldwide and blending them together into one extremely brutal product where all that bloodshed feels deserved unlike any other picture with Hollywood studios’ logos released recently. “Monkey Man” hurts in good way: bones snap, blood spews out everywhere making viewer feel involved physically like never before during such scenes executed according to strict rules like those seen in “John Wick” or “Mission Impossible”. Still choreography here remains outstandingly superb although sweaty improvised touch has been added giving extra dynamic thrust impossible not to observe while watching this film edited by David Jancso & Tim Murrell where Sharone Meir keeps his camera alive moving around freely almost as if another fighter were present too.

The other areas weren’t up to the mark although the work is admirable. There are some political subtexts that I personally am not qualified enough to unpack and write about, but even without knowing much about India’s history or present circumstances it’s pretty clear that the writer might have had too many ambitions. Religion, equal rights, mythology, politics it’s all there in this story and sometimes it can get awkwardly tangled up for someone who doesn’t have any background knowledge on these matters whatsoever like me. And then Patel keeps using flashbacks over and over again as if they were some sort of emotional anchor whenever he feels like people might start losing interest between two action scenes. It’s funny because it almost seems like as a Director Patel doesn’t trust himself enough as an Actor, so he needs all those flashbacks to justify his character’s motives or something. We can see that burning determination in Patel’s body language alone – there is no need for words here! His eyes speak volumes about the pain caused by memories and thirst for revenge at once.

While editing team does a fantastic job with fight scenes featuring Riz Ahmed going nuts on screen, there is still quite a lot of non-action stuff that feels rushed through in post-production too (probably) because they wanted to avoid having any slow moments where nobody gets their limbs chopped off yet again. But you know what? They didn’t have to do that! This guy has talent both behind and in front of camera! “Monkey Man” is going to be huge – mark my words… Once he realizes that there will be second movie, third movie, fourth movie etc., oh boy… Let me tell you one thing: after making several more movies this fellah will refine his storytelling skills so masterfully intertwined with visual language; people won’t believe what they’re seeing anymore! Yes sir/ma’am indeed: “Monkey Man” could serve as just another origin story for some action franchise godzilla character but it feels more like an origin story for future action film legend who will also happen to star in his own movies – and direct them at that!

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