Monkey Man

Verdict: Dev Patel proves his action star credentials in this violent, gritty and visceral action thriller

  • Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash
  • April 5th 2024
  • Dev Patel

Dev Patel’s Kid embarks on a quest to avenge his mother’s death in this gritty and violent action thriller.

Rather than wait around to be given the lead role in an action movie, Dev Patel created one for himself with Monkey Man.

The film, which Patel co-wrote, produced, directed and stars in, is set in Mumbai, India and inspired by the legend of Hindu monkey god Hanuman.

The story follows Kid, an underground fighter who wears a monkey mask in the ring, as he embarks on a quest to avenge his mother’s death. This puts him in the crosshairs of the city’s elite at a luxury club, where he works as a waiter.

Yes, the plot of Monkey Man is unoriginal and simple, but it makes up for this in the execution.

The fight choreography is exciting, the soundtrack is fun and we are immersed in the dirty and grimy world Patel created.

It also feels different because of what Patel personally brings to the table – he infuses it with Indian culture and the stories he heard growing up.

Plus, it is refreshing to see an actor who looks him being the lead in an action movie.

The Slumdog Millionaire actor easily proves his leading action man credentials in Monkey Man, in which he sports rock hard abs, bulging biceps and steely determination. He is a formidable opponent who could give John Wick a run for his money.

Directing and acting in a film at the same time is difficult anyway but making one so physically full-on and intense is a huge undertaking. Patel deserves praise for creating his own hardcore action film and proving he can lead it.

This film is definitely not for the faint-hearted; the fights are creative, violent and brutal, particularly in the spectacular finale.

Some of the action sequences are hard to follow due to the chaotic camera movements and edits, but perhaps this was the point.

Also, in another negative niggle, the script is very familiar and could have done with a bit more substance to bolster the style on the surface. However, these are minor complaints about an otherwise good film.

Monkey Man was originally set for Netflix but Get Out director Jordan Peele insisted it needed the big-screen experience – he was right, this exciting revenge thriller is one to see with a crowd. Don’t miss it!

In cinemas from Friday 5th April.

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