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Monkey Man
  review by Bobby Blakey

Dev Patel has already made a name for himself as an actor with some great performances throughout his career including Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and The Green Knight to name a few. Now he is not only taking on the action role with his latest film Monkey Man as the lead, but also behind the camera as director also starring Sharlto Copley, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Sikandar Kher, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte, and Makarand Deshpande. Could this film bring the violence it promises, or will it fail to make it out of the ring in one piece?

Monkey Man follows 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 inspired by the legend of Hanuman, an icon embodying strength and courage, Monkey Man. 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.


After seeing the first trailer I was all in but admit that Dev Patel is the last person that I would have ever looked at as some sort of action star. Man, I was so wrong and after this film I hope he takes on more roles like this because it kicks all kinds of butt. The story is just complex enough to give us some emotional baggage to carry it forward as it is injected with hyper violent action to perfection. The film works and looks great and was even more impressive after hearing all the issues and things they had to do to finish the film.


Patel has already established himself as a great actor and is no different here. He is the leading force for the whole thing in front and behind the camera and knocks it

out of the park. He brings a deep level of emotion and passion to the role that shines through on screen, but doing all this and still taking on such insane action sequences makes it all the more impressive. The rest of the cast are all great, but this is Patel’s ride, and I am here for it.


There are already comparisons to John Wick and that is a fair assessment, but also completely its own thing. The revenge aspect and crazed action is similar, but there is a grittier tone infused with the culture of India that helps it stand out as more than just a copycat and a monster all its own. I love that while Patel’s character is a fighter, he isn’t initially all that good, so the fights are way more chaotic and insane with everything getting used including, quite literally, the kitchen sink. Even as he evolves throughout the film there is still a beautiful brutality to it that was fun and sometimes cringe worthy to watch.


Patel has fully used the time he had here to fill the non-action pieces with a story that is compelling and gets you invested. There are some heartbreaking elements and mystery as it unfolds leading into the big finale. It also showcases culture, corruption, crime, acceptance and everything in between in a way that isn’t preachy, but just part of the world he is inhabiting. The backdrop of India also gives it a unique feel and bigger scope to make the intense and personal story feel like so much more.


I loved this flick on all levels and so glad there was more to it than just the action. I can see some just dismissing as they try to compare it to other things, but it does the film a disservice. Is it wholly original? Of course not, it is a revenge flick which we have seen a billion times, but it is bringing its own voice and delivers a violently bloody action drama that I hope gets embraced by audiences like it deserves.


Check out Monkey Man when it hits theaters on April 4th from Universal.

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