Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Dev Patel, Monkeypaw Productions and Universal Pictures is the story of standing up against evil with MONKEY MAN.

Kid (Dev Patel) is a man who makes a living out of illegal fights run by Tiger (Sharlto Copley). Hiding his face, he uses a monkey mask using the fighter-name of Monkey Man. Long ago, his mother Neela (Adithi Kalkunte) told him of the legend of Hanuman.

What he wants more than anything, is to find those responsible for his childhood flashbacks. Corrupt individuals in the country are using the country to squeeze land from the poor. Rana Singh (Sikandar Kher), the chief of police in Yatana and a world-wide guru Baba Shakti (Makarand Deshpande) and the two biggest corruptors with their high life living through drugs and using women.

Following Queenie (Ashwini Kalsekar), the Kid sets up a way to get a job in the kitchen but works his way up to the penthouse exclusive club where he sees the beautiful Sita (Sobhita Dhulipala). Quickly he rises up into the VIP tower where Rana is a regular and makes his move. Unfortunately, the chase is on as all law enforcement go after the Kid.

Wounded and in the river, he is found by Alpha (Vipin Sharma) and a whole new world opens up to him. Becoming stronger, he takes on the task of saving those the rich and corrupt don’t see and continually hurt. They don’t seem him coming!

Patel as Kid is a man with a truck load of demons that he cannot seem to shake. Feeling the need to get vengeance, he is willing to put himself in harm’s way to find the man responsible. That being said, this character is also quick and knows how to get around. Patel gives his character a quiet nature as he spends more time observing those he wants to bring down. His fighting skills are pretty creative as well.

Kher as Rana is a man who doesn’t care about those he hurts and doesn’t feel the pinch of being held accountable. He is devoted to Baba Shakti but also enjoys the benefits of such devotion in the cruelest ways. Deshpande as Shakti is trying to convince the world that he knows the right path if they only follow him. He also knows that someone is trying to ruin everything and that has him on edge.

Sharma as Alpha is a gentle person who understands what the Kid is going through. Wanting to help, the group helps the Kid not only heal, but understand a new way of looking at things. When it comes time to take on Rana, Alpha and his people don’t mind helping in the slightest.

Copley as Tiger runs the fighting ring and doesn’t know yet what Monkey Man is capable of. It’s nice to see Copley again because he does so make an awesome bad guy. Kalkunte as Neela is a story within a story and explains why the Kid has issues. Kalsekar as Queenie is running things from the basement and she runs a tight ship.

Other cast include Pitobash as Alphonso, Zakir Hussain as Tabla Maestro, and Jatin Malik as the young kid.

Seems Patel decided to create his own world by not only writing, directing and starring in MONKEY MAN, but also added screenplay and producing at well. Patel says, “I think the action genre has sometimes been abused by the system. I wanted to give it real soul, real trauma, real pain and I wanted to infuse it with a little bit of culture.”

Let’s get to it, yes, there are several movie resemblances here from JOHN WICK, ROCKY, TAKEN (with a certain set of skills) and DUNE just to name a few. There is certainly nothing wrong with it because what Patel does is tell his story all the way through. You will figure it all out for yourself and enjoy it all the same. From start to finish this is a film that revves a person up, then lets us take a break and then revves us up again.

It is a two-hour ride that is going to make Patel the new world-wide action hero. Bringing in his own culture is actually quite beautiful as the stories reach a world-wide audience allowing them to understand the culture. The cinematography is equally as stunning whether it is the flashbacks or the constant action, both will keep your attention.

Let’s not forget the fight sequences which are insanely good with a few surprises here and there. From the ring to the streets and up to the VIP club, the action is swift, intense and does not leave anything to chance or the imagination. Well done!

Gather up the action-hero gang for a thrill ride that is courtesy of MONKEY MAN.

In the end – one small ember can burn down everything!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.