Monkey Man (2024)

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.  (

Patel’s blend of folklore and socio-political critique into an engaging action-packed experience showcases a side of Indian cinema (outside of the Hollywood machine) that often goes underappreciated internationally. (Valerie Complex, Rotten Tomatoes)

REVENGE, WE’RE CONSTANTLY told, is a dish best served cold — unless you’re a modern genre-flick fanatic, in which case you need payback to be served piping hot and preferably moving at 120 mph. Monkey Man is, on the surface, a fairly simple tale of vengeance: Man has vendetta. Man infiltrates villain’s world with intent on procuring a pound (or two, or 50) of flesh. See Man punch. And kick. And stab, slice, gouge, grapple, and disembowel. It also a labor of love for its writer-director-producer-star Dev Patel, and one that remains self-aware enough to realize that it’s entering an environment in which some explosions, a shootout and a few haymakers here and there will no longer cut it. Everything must be a melee. Nothing less than nonstop beast mode will suffice.
Luckily, Patel doesn’t have a problem with this way of thinking. In fact, his goal with his directorial debut is not to beat action moviemakers and A-list asskickers at their own game but to work his way into their ranks. A gleefully anarchic addition to the post-Raid: Redemption, post-John Wick world of mix-and-match fighting styles and adrenalized weapon-play, Patel’s pet project is as much a mash note to a way of presenting bloody-knuckled spectacle as it is a standard thriller. During his long introduction to the film’s premiere at SXSW last night, the hyphenate talked about his childhood love of Bruce Lee and name-checked both Indonesian and Korean action cinema in addition to a certain Keanu Reeves franchise. And while this entry into international mayhemsploitation territory often feels very much like a rough, earnest fan film dialing those influences up to 11, it also suggests that if Patel’s technique behind the camera catches up to his passion for the genre, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. (Rolling Stone)


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