Monkey Man (2024)

Rated 18
Rented on Amazon Prime
Spoiler Free

After the wild-card, animals and human success of DogMan, I did not take much convincing to rent Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man. Unlike Caleb Landry Jones’ character, Patel’s unnamed avenger doesn’t have a cargo of chimps carrying out his bidding he just wears a monkey mask when he’s passing his time competing in brutal, unlicensed boxing bouts.

The monkey mask is a not so subtle reference to India’s caste system- I am not dipping my toe in that murky water past saying that India has a systemic skin colour prejudice ingrained so deep it’s shocking. Forget a class system, this is that fused with racism. Patel’s character, unsurprisingly, is seeking revenge up the chain.

Monkey Man could have been an ego project, but Dev Patel is admirably buff and convincing as an action lead. His film doesn’t lack for looks, but what didn’t click with me was the fight scenes; the action (mostly) feels staged and not natural. I’m not going to go full keyboard warrior and tell you what they did wrong, because I’m in no position to put my finger on the technical elements that decisively. However, the dust ups lost their power in their presentation. Quite a big deal for a film relying on them.

While not awful at all, Monkey Man lacks any true originality. It passes the time, and to its credit serves up one of the best on screen kills of the year, but I certainly don’t advise paying for it. Standard stuff.

Bedsit it?

If all out action is your thing, which it very much is mine, Monkey Man will keep you watching but ever so slightly annoyed that it could have been better. Sexy but unsatisfying. 5/10

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