4.0 out of 5


  • Cinematography
  • Characters
  • Action


  • Cliché revenge story
  • Too much mythology comparison

Universal Studios
Dev Patel
Action, Thriller
Theatrical Release Date (NA)
Apr 5, 2024
Film Length
2hr 1min
Purchase From

Filed Under

Monkey Man is an action thriller film directed by Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, Lion) who also starred in the film as the main character. The film is packed with a variety of action-packed scenes from brutal fights, police chases, and character building in-between.

Path to Revenge

Monkey Man - Screenshot

© Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Monkey Man revolves around an anonymous young man, who is called “Kid” throughout the film, who lost his mother, played by Adithi Kalkunte (Special 26, Hotel Mumbai) and homeland at a young age to a power-hungry political figure. Seeking revenge, Kid has his sights to take down two people who turned his world upside down: a sadistic police chief named Rana, played by Sikandar Kher (Monica, O My Darling, 24: India) and the mastermind of it all named Baba Shakti, played by Makarand Deshpande (Sarfarosh, Hanan). The audience doesn’t get the story on what happened and why these two men are considered “evil” until the middle of the movie. However, we only see Baba making the commands to Rana and his crew to carry out their mission of hostile takeover. The storyline of revenge isn’t anything new and don’t expect anything different. Instead, your focus is moreso how Kid gets his revenge and his character building to achieve his goal.

The film takes place in a fictional Indian city of Yatan but you’ll be witnessing the back alleys of Yatan and an underground arena for illegal sporting events. Trying to sneak his way up to confront his targets, Kid enters the underground and gets his butt hand multiple times but gets paid regardless. Later, he pulls a few strings with the community of Yatan to get a job in a nightclub/brothel which are both his targets are frequently at. Starting off as a worker cleaning dishes, he quickly climbs up the ladder to become a waiter for the higher ups where he confronts one of his targets.

Showing how he climbs up the working ladder, preparing and the emotion of getting ready for his revenge action is interesting, like seeing a rookie taking his first task. Regardless of the battles he fought in the underground, he struggles to get the job done and must escape the city to survive another day. You wonder if hitmen like John Wick struggled on their first mission.

The escape scenes were done remarkably well and the cinematography does an excellent job with its camera shots of watching Kid almost getting killed while escaping the city. From the police chase through the city to going from one building to the next, the scenes feel fast paced and exciting to see what Kid will run into next and how he’ll escape.

Afterwards, Kid finds himself in an abandoned temple that’s occupied by transgendered women. However, this is when the audience gets the full view of Kid’s past and recollect his thoughts and rebuild himself before his next trip on revenge.

Becoming Hanuman

Monkey Man - Screenshot

© Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Before diving into the action, the film showcases a flashback of Kid’s childhood years and about a mythology character of a Hindu god named Hanuman, half human and half monkey. It was a story his mother read to him apparently many times. The film tries to use the story of Hanuman as metaphors to Kid but it feels like it was trying to do too much of a comparison.

In the mythology, Hanuman was a powerful warrior but when he accidently ate the sun thinking it was a piece of fruit, he was punished by the Gods for it. Hanuman returns from the brink of death and becomes stronger. For Kid, what did he do to be punished? Outside of that, Kid does come back from punishment of his mother being taken away and in great strength and skill. However it feels like the movie tries to do too much to compare Kid and Hanuman. During Kid’s regrowth, there’s a scene where he mimics a mythology scene of Hanuman opening his chest to reveal who he is and cares for. The film doesn’t go into much detail about Hanuman’s story and the casual audience will be confused by the comparisons.

Additionally, it makes sense why he wears the monkey mask due to the story he grew up with; he doesn’t wear it enough to make it feel like the movie title is accurate. He only wears it during his underground matches and one time outside.

Raising Expectations

Monkey Man - Screenshot

© Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Monkey Man at first seemed like a low-budget John Wick film and that’s partially true. The film’s budget was set for $10 million and for that amount, you would think the film had spent far more. Fight scenes are intense with a lot of moments where attacks are going for the neck constantly. It also goes an extra step in violence when compared to films like John Wick and Nobody. With great cinematic scenes and shots, the film uses objects to create depth of field and interesting angels to make it feel creative. The soundtrack wasn’t anything groundbreaking but did enough to add emotion to both the lowkey moments and action scenes.

The Final Hit

Monkey Man may not be the next John Wick but it’s worth jumping in and watching Kid’s path to revenge with its overtop violence and creative cinematic scenes.

An early screening provided for this review. Monkey Man arrives in theaters on April 5, 2024. Tickets available for purchasing.

Monkey Man - Official Trailer 2

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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