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Monkey Man Review – Not John Wick But That’s A Good Thing

Inspired by the legend of Hanuman, an icon embodying strength and courage,  Monkey Man stars Patel as Kid, an anonymous young man who ekes out a meager living in an underground fight club where, night after night, wearing a gorilla mask, he is beaten bloody by more popular fighters for cash. After years of suppressed rage, Kid discovers a way to infiltrate the enclave of the city’s sinister elite. As his childhood trauma boils over, his mysteriously scarred hands unleash an explosive campaign of retribution to settle the score with the men who took everything from him.

Monkey Man Trailer:

The Good:

Right from the start, the film throws you into a massive fight scene. It’ll get your adrenaline pumping and grab your attention for sure. The long takes with the fight choreography are awesome, and you can tell they put a lot of work into it. It helps that Dev Patel himself is a martial artist – and it shows! He does a ton of his own stunts, which adds a layer of realism to the action. Fun fact: he apparently even broke some fingers and toes filming this movie!

The final battle is a doozy too. It might even have you comparing it to John Wick, especially since our hero rocks a suit throughout most of the film. However, this movie takes things a step further with the violence. There’s a crazy scene in an elevator (you’ll know it when you see it) where the hero does something insane with a knife. Let’s just say, the audience (including me!) was gasping! The camerawork adds to the intensity too. Sometimes it gets shaky and puts you right in the middle of the action, making it feel super gritty and raw.

Monkey Man Dev Patel Jordan Peele review 2024

When it comes to the performances, Dev Patel shines as expected. I thought he was far more exceptional in the quieter moments. He would communicate a lot of subtleties with his character without even saying a word. In other words, you can see the pain and trauma his character carries, even when he’s not talking. Yes, his fighting scenes were great, but his physical delivery worked even when he wasn’t throwing a punch.

The Bad: 

The film is packed with Indian cultural references and political themes. I have to be honest and say that some of those elements did fly over my head. There were also moments where some of the characters had really thick accents that made me really wish subtitles were included. To be clear, this isn’t a real negative against Monkey Man. On one hand, one could say that a film should cater to its audience to some degree. On the other hand, a film shouldn’t have to compromise its own authenticity for the sake of all viewers. Sometimes handholding isn’t really necessary. So this criticism is primarily a personal one, and not a hard knock against the film itself. Nevertheless, the core story of revenge is easy to follow. This might be a challenge for some viewers unfamiliar with Indian culture, but it also adds a layer of authenticity to the film.

Monkey Man Dev Patel Jordan Peele review 2024

MONKEY MAN

There was one other issue and that was the pacing of the second act. It does drag a bit and the momentum created from the beginning of the film is almost entirely diminished. There were moments when I found myself wondering when the next fight scene would be.

The Verdict:

Despite the cultural barriers and some pacing issues, Monkey Man is a solid action flick. The fight scenes are incredible, and Dev Patel proves himself as a talented director. Just don’t expect nonstop action like John Wick. The marketing promotes it to be a non-stop action thriller, but it’s not the “Indian John Wick” some people may think. Monkey Man has some great John Wick moments, but it’s also a story of oppression, revenge, and radical social justice. You won’t be disappointed with at least two major showdowns.

Monkey Man Dev Patel Jordan Peele review 2024

This movie made me think about what it must be like for international audiences watching American movies. They might not always understand all the cultural references, but if there’s great action and a clear good-versus-evil story, that’s sometimes all you really need. Be sure to check it out in theaters near you.

Monkey Man Dev Patel Jordan Peele review 2024

Director: Dev Patel
Writers: Dev Patel
Stars: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Sikandar Kher, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte, Makarand Deshpande
Monkey Man is currently in theaters. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

Monkey Man Review
  • Acting - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
    7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
    7/10
  • Watchability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Rewatchability - 8/10
    8/10
Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
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