Monkey Man review

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Movie: Monkey Man

Production Company: Monkeypaw productions

Director: Dev Patel

Producers: Jordan Peele

Scriptwriters: Paul Angunawela, John Collee

Main Cast: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma

Release Date: 5th April 2024

Running Time: 121 minutes

Certificate: 18

Introduction: Dev Patel’s first ever feature is one of the most extraordinary directorial debuts I have ever seen, delivering an explosive, eye-popping and visceral bloodbath that I could not get enough of.

Synopsis: An enigmatic and unnamed young man embarks on a rage filled mission against corrupt politicians and leaders who killed his mother and take advantage of the poor and weak.

Analysis: Whenever I see a project that is so out of left field, like this, my excitement level sky rockets, as you have no idea what is in store for you, especially when it is a debut director. Dev Patel deserves, now, to have his name featured among the greatest of action directors. Who knew he had this in him or was capable of making something like this? It is always the people you least expect (without wishing to disrespect him of course) that can create the best things.

One of the best accomplishments that ‘Monkey Man’ achieves is that it looks like it was made by someone with decades worth of experience not only within action, but within cinema. The fact that this is his first ever film is beyond belief. My expectations were high (I was aware that the reviews were very good which made me all the more worried), but they were somehow blown completely out of the water. What you will find with this, however, is that it is an action flick that does things in it’s own unique way. Most of this genre, nowadays, just kick things straight off and throws you into the action almost immediately, which is fine.

But believe it or not, there is not as much action in this as you might think or that the trailer suggests. This takes the proper time and consideration to effectively and properly tell it’s story in order for you to be emotionally invested within the drama and the characters; which I was. There is also a strong political element at the forefront as well that is given a good amount of attention. I was genuinely impressed by how detailed and thought out it was which only made the next part all the more entertaining… the action.

As a piece of action filmmaking and cinema, I did think this was more impressive, brutal and physical than the ‘John Wick’ series which is one of the reasons I loved it so much. I do think it is better. The fight execution, choreography and violence you see here was somehow able to top it with some of the most extreme physical gore I have ever seen in any film (especially one shot involving someone’s throat, a knife and someone’s mouth). The sound effects of some of the punches are also incredible. The fact that Dev Patel has a black belt in Taekwondo says enough and you can clearly see it in both his performance and direction. When you have someone like that behind the camera, you’re in for something. And yes, the film has an 18 certificate.

Had this been toned down to a 15 (which was reportedly being considered), I would not have felt the same way. This was released in cinemas instead of on Netflix thanks to producer Jordan Peele and it works so much better on the big screen (it is what the remake of ‘Road House’ should have done). A film like this must be seen as big as possible. This is the second best film I have seen this year (the first place belonging to ‘Dune: Part Two’). A genuinely well told and detailed action film with jaw dropping sequences which is a rarity; it’s got it all. ‘Monkey Man’ has more than earned it’s place among the greatest action films ever made and it should create equal status for Dev Patel’s career as a director.

In cinemas now.

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

Target Audience: 18+

Content Warning: strong bloody violence

Recommendation: Yes