Monkey Man: Movie Review

Monkey Man Movie Review: Exciting Brutality Eventually

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"Monkey Man" is a trip. Dev Patel's directorial debut mixes corruption, mythology, politics, and violence into one competent package. However, not all of his ideas work, and the tumultuous, unevenly paced journey of our protagonist feels stifling in the film's first half. Once the action snowballs in its highly intense last half-hour, "Monkey Man" transforms into the film we expected and anticipated in all its full glory.

Kid (Dev Patel) is a young man eking out a living in an underground fight club where, night after night, he is beaten bloody by more popular fighters for cash, all while wearing a gorilla mask. After years of suppressed rage, Kid finds a way to infiltrate the enclave of the city’s elite. As his childhood trauma boils over, his mysteriously scarred hands unleash an explosive campaign of retribution against the men who took everything from him, including his mother when he was a young child.

At times, "Monkey Man" seems to strive too hard to showcase the brutal reality of poverty, which can feel overwhelming. Ideas flow in and out without much buildup, making it difficult to grasp a cohesive narrative. This is where "Monkey Man" struggles, as it tries to convey too much simultaneously. A simpler story with more straightforward elements could have made this a lot more accessible, especially for a mainstream audience. Some of its more artistic and deep undertones felt unnecessary in our opinion. However, the film eventually strips away the noise and focuses on the hyper-action and brutality we crave, excelling exceedingly well in this regard. Dev Patel delivers an action film that is sharp and entertaining, and his performance as the lead is commendable. Ultimately, "Monkey Man" had too many elements to be a perfect revenge film. However, if you manage your expectations, it will undoubtedly deliver an apeload of entertainment.

Rating: 3 and a half reels

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