Monkey Man

April 5, 202470/1005 min
Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash
Written by
Paul Angunawela, John Collee, and Dev Patel
Directed by
Dec Patel
Run Time
2h 1min
Release Date
Aprile 5th, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Revenge and self-discovery don’t typically go hand in hand. However, this is not your average revenge flick, and Dev Patel is here to demonstrate that it is not a dish best served cold. Patel, who directs, stars, and co-writes, pours his entire self into Monkey Man, and that dedication shows in every aspect. This outcome, though, wasn’t always guaranteed. Not only was it a troubled production, but Netflix had acquired it and didn’t quite know what to do with it. That all changed when Jordan Peele stepped in and saved the film, giving it a new lease of life. I share this story so you know who to thank, because if you, like me, love films like this, you too will be thanking Mr. Peele after watching this one.

Set in an unnamed city, in a ring a man (Dev Patel) stands wearing a monkey mask. Things aren’t going well for him as he’s supposed to lose, while enduring quite the beating. He has a reason for this: to earn enough money to buy a gun. Once he acquires the gun, his next move isn’t clear. He lands a job at a hot club, washing dishes but soon becomes involved with Alphonso (Pitobash), who provides party favors for the VIPs at the club. Soon, his true intentions become clear. Revenge. Targeting Rena (Sikandar Kher), a police captain responsible for his mother’s death. Things don’t go as planned, and after a close brush with death, he’s rescued to live another day. After some healing and self-discovery, our protagonist is ready for round 2. But are his enemies prepared as well?

Written by John Collee and Paul Amgunawela, from a story by Dev Patel, Monkey Man is not a John Wick wannabe. While there’s intense action, the script has more to say. It’s not just about revenge; it alludes to the current Indian government, corruption, and oppression of the lower class. These issues fuel Patel’s traumatized anger, serving as the match that ignites his fuse.

Monkey Man is pure adrenaline cinema, with brutal fights, thrilling chases, and Patel unleashed in a way you’ve never seen him before. It’s not non-stop action; there’s a buildup, and while it may have some slower moments as it progresses, once it reaches its climax, so will you. The fights are kinetic and impossible to look away from. The camera work is fluid and dynamic, and the action is impeccably staged and unexpectedly brutal. Patel truly shines here, showcasing passion and attention to detail in every frame while delivering a mesmerizing performance. This movie does not “monkey around”; Dev Patel has just added “top-notch director” and “action star” to his already impressive resume. Monkey Man has its flaws, but it’s also exhilarating, and after the punches it lands, you won’t forget it anytime soon.

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