‘Monkey Man’ Movie Review: Bollywood Energy with John Wick Vibes

Monkey Man Movie Review

Monkey Man is one of the films I’ve had on my most anticipated of 2024. So, high expectations were established early for me. And I can confidently say that right off the bat, Dev Patel’s Monkey Man lands a solid punch, not just with its action but also with its ambition. In his directorial debut, Patel doesn’t just take the lead in front of the camera; he also masterminds the script (which he co-wrote with Paul Angunawela and John Collee), inviting us into a world that’s as violently beautiful as it is deeply narrative.

Fellow movie nerds, let’s dive in, shall we?

Dev Patel, known from Lion and Slumdog Millionaire, takes his first go at directing in Monkey Man, where he also stars a young man on a mission to get back at the crooked leaders who killed his mom and continue to hurt the poor and powerless. The story draws from the tale of Hanuman, a symbol of might and bravery. Patel’s character, known only as Kid (and in some scenes “Bobby”), scraps for cash in a gritty fight club, hiding behind a monkey mask as he’s pummeled night after night.

Fed up with years of pent-up anger, Kid finds a way to sneak into the world of the city’s shady top dogs. Pushed to the edge by past wounds, his scarred hands become weapons of revenge, aiming to right the wrongs done to him.

Check out the trailer below.

Monkey Man Movie Trailer

Monkey Man Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

Let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t, at least for me. For starters, the visual storytelling here is nothing short of groundbreaking. Near the film’s start, I was concerned the camera work might become too much for me. But as the film unfolded, I truly got lost in the movements. It’s so visually fluid that the whole movie feels like an artistic dance, even the incredibly bloody and violent fight sequences.

Patel harnesses color and shadow to elevate each of those fight sequences, making the clashes more than just physical confrontations—they’re pieces of art. However, the film doesn’t shy away from its inherent brutality, a balance that might not sit well with everyone. It’s this dance between beauty and violence that both enthralls and unnerves. Yes, it’s violent, but it doesn’t feel like it’s being violent just to be violent (something I loathe in action films). Everything here felt like it had a purpose behind it.

Dev Patel
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures


At the core of Monkey Man is a timeless narrative thread—vengeance, justice, and protection. Kid (Patel) is molded by childhood tragedy as well as a powerful story/myth his mother told him when he was young, which was inspired by stories of Hanuman. His journey from loss to avenger is familiar, yet it feels fresh, largely due to the innovative ways Patel intertwines traditional action with emotional depth. We’re not just watching another revenge tale; we’re exploring a man’s quest to right the wrongs in the only way he knows how.

Another aspect I really appreciated with this film was the deeply resonating subplot about the power of belonging. Within its frenetic pace and intense fight sequences, the movie also meticulously crafts a beautiful narrative on finding a community amongst fellow outcasts. Kid’s journey is not just one of personal vengeance but also of discovering a sanctuary where acceptance isn’t conditional. This storyline becomes a heartfelt ode to the misfits, to those who have struggled to find their tribe.

Monkey Man
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures


This film is all Dev Patel – in every aspect. And he shines in multifaceted brilliance, not just as the director and writer but also as the film’s lead actor. Seeing him embody Kid with a performance that’s as nuanced as it is physically demanding is a treat.

Patel navigates the complexities of the character with seeming ease, portraying a protagonist who’s both tough and tender—something that is rarely done with such seemingly effortless ease. But on that note, I think it’s also important for the movie-goer to know this project wasn’t easily done for Patel. He also endured a physically taxing ordeal, emerging with broken bones as marks of love for this project.

The supporting cast also holds their own, cementing the film’s world as both expansive and intimate. But let’s be clear, this is Patel’s moment in the spotlight.

New Movies Coming Out: Monkey Man
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures


Monkey Man sets a high bar for action films, let alone for directorial debuts. It’s rare to see a project so reflective of its creator, where every scene feels like a piece of Patel himself. It’s violent, yes, but also strikingly beautiful—a cinematically rich tapestry that weaves together motifs old and new.

Overall, it’s a genre-bending journey that’s well worth the watch. Whether you’re in it for the heart-stopping action or the deeply human story at its core, Monkey Man is a force to be reckoned with. Patel is one to watch, and frankly, I can’t wait to see where he goes next.

Monkey Man Movie Review: 

Grade: A


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