'Monkey Man' - Get ready for a gory Indian version of John Wick

Dev Patel throws punches and delivers social commentary in his directorial debut, "Monkey Man," a brutal action film with a heart

by Sededin Dedovic
'Monkey Man' - Get ready for a gory Indian version of John Wick
© Universal Latino / YOutube channel

Judging by the films that were released this year, the year 2024 will be marked by one animal, and that is a monkey. At least as far as spring is concerned, which was opened by "Godzilla vs. Kong" last week, and at the beginning of June we expect a new chapter of the "Planet of the Apes" franchise.

Another "monkey" movie crept in between these two blockbusters, and it is the directorial debut of Dev Patel, the actor who gained world fame with his role in Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire." The film was supposed to end up straight on Netflix, but the "Get Out" director Jordan Peele went to great lengths to secure theatrical distribution and, judging by predictions, it seems to have paid off.

In the first weekend, earnings of around 14 million dollars are expected on the domestic market, so it will fight with this week's other novelty, "The First Omen", for the second place at the box office. Godzilla and Kong, however, are likely to win this week as well.

Monkey Man - Get ready for a gory Indian version of John Wick© Universal Latino / YOutube channel

Sam Patel has woven into his debut all his love of action and martial arts films, from Bruce Lee, through Korean productions, and all the way to - in a big way - "John Wick", Chad Stalewski's super-choreographed saga that has largely restored hope for action.

movie. His hero is a nameless young man who, disguised as a monkey as a homage to the mythical creature Hanuman, fights in mostly staged fights where he is usually paid to take beatings. The fights are presided over as organizer and MC by the crazy South African Sharlto Copley in what is probably the "most Sharlto Copley" role of his career so far.

However, in parallel with the fighting, Monkey Man infiltrates the underworld ruled by the political powerful who are also criminals responsible for many of the sufferings of the poor people, including the death of the mother of our title character.

After the first unsuccessful attempt at revenge, the young man who sometimes introduces himself as "Bobby", will undergo a spiritual journey and physical training that will turn him into an invincible machine in a bloody and righteous campaign of violence.

Along with this basically simple fable, Patel also serves up criticism of corruption and religious leaders who meddle in politics before the elections. If that sounds all too familiar given the events of the campaign here earlier this week, imagine what it would be like to watch a movie where one of our own people breaks the bones of the leaders here.

Monkey Man - Get ready for a gory Indian version of John Wick© Universal Latino / YOutube channel

While the Far East is increasingly breaking through to the attention of the Western world and becoming a regular appearance at the Oscars, India only occasionally turns heads among the wider audience, as for example last year with the hilarious epic "RRR" or just thematically in the previously mentioned "Slumdog Millionaire", which will almost turn twenty years old.

Patel's film could certainly open the door to this culture and film aesthetics, which could be a bigger success than pure earnings at the box office. In addition, it should pave the way for Patel as a director and as a budding action star.

"Monkey Man" is a dirtier and bloodier version of "John Wick."

Monkey Man - Get ready for a gory Indian version of John Wick© Universal Latino / YOutube channel

Although "Monkey Man" is primarily an action film with fantastic fight scenes, it does not forget about the emotional dimension either.

Patel's character is driven by childhood trauma and the loss of his mother. Flashbacks check his motives and emotionally connect him to the audience. This allows the audience to root for him even as he brutally carves his way to revenge.

The film also does not shy away from social commentary. The India depicted in the film is a land of sharp contrasts, where the wealth of the elite clashes with the misery of the majority. Patel criticizes corruption and the influence of religion on politics.

These themes give the film weight and depth beyond the action genre. The future of Dev Patel With "Monkey Man", Dev Patel proves his cinematic ubiquity. He is more than just a talented actor. He is an ambitious director with a unique style and perspective.

With a little more experience and budget, he could create something truly special in the world of action. "Monkey Man" may not be a perfect film, but it's definitely an exciting and intriguing debut. It offers brutal action, social commentary and an emotional story all in one package. If you're a fan of the genre and don't mind a little gore, "Monkey Man" is a movie worth watching.