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Monkey Man Review: Revenge Action With A Soul-crushing Story

Monkey Man is a gory revenge story packed with intense action, but also delivers a heart-crushing story that viewers will not be expecting.

Monkey Man 2024 Review Dev Patel

Dev Patel writes, directs, and stars in Monkey Man and it is clear to see just how much blood, sweat, and tears he put into this film. During the conversation following the SXSW premiere, Dev admits that he broke his hand, two toes, tore his shoulder, and got an eye infection while filming, and that never slowed him down. He wanted more than anything to be an action star and when he didn’t get the role, he created it for himself. 

Having to wear so many hats could have easily caused this movie to fall apart, stretching Patel too thin, but that simply isn’t the case. While it isn’t perfect, it is pretty close. Just looking at the trailer it is clear to see that Monkey Man is jam packed with action sequences that rise to the next level. There is something satisfying about watching a movie that incorporates household objects and other surroundings into the mix during fight scenes.

This movie is very clearly inspired by John Wick, but it is more than just crazy, off the wall, one shot, action sequences. There is some unexpected heart and a soul crushing story at the center of it all.

Monkey Man 2024 Review Dev Patel

Patel was able to do something a lot of action films can’t, and that is to bring something meaningful to the table at the same time. Dev pays a man who watched his mother’s murder as a young boy and has dedicated his life to enacting revenge upon her killer. Everything he does is to get him to this point. The problem is, he is an underdog. He has to work hard to get to a place where he can succeed in his plan. He uses his brain and his brawn to get there. 

A movie like this is only as good as the hero, but also the villain. Sikandar Kher is the yin to Dev Patel’s yang. When the two get together for a fight scene, you know it is going to be a good one. To say these sequences are entertaining is an understatement. They are filled with blood, gore, and a whole lot of moments where you can’t help but make a sound as someone gets hurt.

Due to the incredible choreography it feels like you are right there in the fight, each and every time. There are some shots that are truly breathtaking and the soundtrack and score only heighten the experience.

Monkey Man 2024 Review Dev Patel

That being said, there are a few slight misses in Monkey Man. There is a lot packed into the two hour runtime, which sometimes causes things to get confusing and even slow. Because the fight scenes are pumped with an insane amount of adrenaline, viewers are riding an incredible high. When things slow down and get serious, it can take a moment to adjust, leaving the audience to feel as if the movie is starting to drag.

It never gets to the point where it goes off the rails, but it does create a few lulls here and there. With a two hour long runtime, Monkey Man could have been tightened up a little bit. Still, if the only issue with a movie is a bit of pacing, then you really can’t complain.

On top of amazing action sequences and stunning visuals, this movie has heart. There is a story that is going to hit you right in the gut. Anyone with a parent they love will be able to relate, even if they have not lost them. There is something about familial, unbreakable, love that resonates with everybody. Dev Patel has delivered a movie that will be talked about for years and years to come, and will likely be an inspiration to other filmmakers just as the John Wick films that inspired him. 

Monkey Man begs to be seen on the biggest screen possible, so don’t miss it when it hits theaters on April 5th.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

NEXT: Kung Fu Panda 4 Review: Po’s Worthy Return to the Big Screen

Monkey Man movie poster

About Monkey Man

Oscar® nominee Dev Patel (Lion, Slumdog Millionaire) achieves an astonishing, tour-de-force feature directing debut with an action thriller about one man’s quest for vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimize the poor and powerless.

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 hits theaters on April 5th.