Monkey Man – The DVDfever Cinema Review – Dev Patel

Monkey ManMonkey Man Monkey Man Monkey Man

Monkey Man sees Kid (Dev PatelThe Last Airbender) – sometimes known as Bobby – fist-fighting in a monkey mask, who gets paid extra if he bleeds a lot, and since he’s broke, he’ll be in a world of hurt if he wants to pay his bills.

Of course, if he really wants to bump up his pay, then his fights appear to be rigged at times, as we see him telling one character how he’ll win the first 2, but lose the third. So, bet accordingly and you can’t lose! Okay, that’s technically illegal, but then nothing about the punch-ups, MC’d by Tiger (Sharlto CopleyElysium, Free Fire), feel in any way legit.

The premise takes him back to his life as a child, living in the forest in India, where his mother, Neela (Adithi Kalkunte), would forever bang on about of Hanuman, a Hindu deity. However, bad men come along, take all the properties by force, and in her case, she’s murdered by corrupt cop Rana Singh (Sikandar Kher), so we have a film about retribution.

Monkey Man was sold on the action, and after the fights, we soon see him looking to buy a gun where he’s offered “the same one John Wick had” – since we’re being led to think we’re getting the same sort of film… not quite.

Aside from a lot of shaky camerawork, we do get some well-chorographed fight scenes a la Keanu Reeves’ character, but oh, how this overlong two-hour movies becomes dull as it gets bogged down in fokelore about Hanuman and whatever else was making my attention drift.

If you’re expecting balls-to-the-wall gun-play and punches, you won’t get it anywhere near as often. There is some action around 40 minutes in, but then it’s almost an hour before it all kicks off again, so this film is dragged out far too long.

Monkey Man is Dev Patel’s directorial debut, and while we don’t know when John Wick Chapter 5 is coming yet, it would be great to have something else in that vein to watch, but this film just has its moments. If he gets a chance for a sequel, then cut out the waffle and just give us the punching and shooting. That’s all we want.

Oh, and a bit of humour, and we at least get that as he survives another cage-set bashing, then hears in a lift, I Don’t Wanna Fight by Tina Turner. Boney M’s Rivers Of Babylon also pops up at another time.

But then, while the budget is a mere $10m, it’s only taken $15m up until the Tuesday after the opening weekend. Compared to the ridiculous amounts thrown at superhero films which flop big-time, let’s say if they sequel bumps up the action and costs $20-30m, then that’s worth a punt for Universal Pictures, as long as they subsequently promote it properly.

Monkey Man is in cinemas now, and is available to pre-order on 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release date TBA.

Monkey Man – Official Trailer – Universal Pictures

Detailed specs:

Running time: 121 minutes
Release date: April 5th 2024
Studio: Universal Pictures
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW)
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Rating: 6/10

Director: Dev Patel
Producers: Ian Cooper, Christine Haebler, Basil Iwanyk, Bavand Karim, Erica Lee, Anjay Nagpal, Dev Patel, Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Sam Sahni, Jomon Thomas
Screenplay: Paul Angunawela, John Collee
Music: Jed Kurzel

Kid: Dev Patel
Tiger: Sharlto Copley
Alphonso: Pitobash
Alpha: Vipin Sharma
Rana Singh: Sikandar Kher
Neela: Adithi Kalkunte
Sita: Sobhita Dhulipala
Queenie: Ashwini Kalsekar
Baba Shakti: Makarand Deshpande
Young Kid: Jatin Malik
Tabla Maestro: Zakir Hussain