Today: May 29, 2024

Movie review: Monkey Man

Ali Fernand- Editor-in-Chief

Action movies are back. Full of blood, thrill, vengeance and culture, “Monkey Man” delivers an experience that is unlike anything else. 

Dev Patel, both the director and star of the movie, gives audiences an experience that feels inspired by familiar movies while also adding a refreshing twist. Patel is truly the refreshing talent Hollywood needs and whom movie lovers should pay attention to.  

Patel has made an action film that feels familiar to American audiences but does not shy away from its setting in India. Indian culture is a vital part of this movie.  

“Monkey Man” draws inspiration from the Hindu deity, Hanuman, who is a monkey-human hybrid. The movie begins by telling the tale of Hanuman’s insatiable appetite for food. Ultimately, his great hunger led him to eat the sun, an action that caused him to lose his powers.  

The main character Kid, played by Patel, is a reincarnation of this story with a twist. Kid’s appetite is not for food; it is for vengeance. He seeks to get revenge on everyone involved in his mom’s death and scarred hand. Kid will not stop until he reaches the sun. 

Hanuman’s tale is told through Kid in a John Wick-Robin Hood hybrid film. John Wick is even referenced in the movie, making the action sequence inspiration clear.  

Unlike John Wick, “Monkey Man” explains the violence of its main character through the political atmosphere in India. Kid is a complex character with the right motivations but has no right way to act on them.  

The village Kid grew up in was brutally destroyed by police and political elites, an unfortunate reality for many indigenous people. Kid watched as his village was burned, people were killed and even watched his mother beaten to death by a man.  

Everyone who survived lost everything. Their homes and belongings were destroyed, leading them all to be homeless. This leads these people to take on jobs that are less than desirable. 

This is what creates Kid’s persona “Monkey Man,” who gets beat up by high profile fighters in an underground fight club. Even worse, the guy who leads it all is a penny-pinching Australian guy who barely pays him for this brutal role. 

The tip of the iceberg for Kid is learning that the man who killed his mom is now the Chief of Police. This introduces the double standard exposed within the movie. Those in power get away with violence. Sometimes, they are even rewarded for it.  

As soon as Kid attempts to attack the Chief of Police, he is headline news labeled as a “terrorist.” In a corrupt society, only the rich can be violent. 

This movie does not seek to justify violence; it seeks to explain it. Kid is a complex character that ultimately gets the audience to sympathize with him. He has a soft spot for kids and animals, even amidst his violent spree. This respect for innocence was not afforded to him as a child, yet he still holds onto it.  

The lesson of this movie is not that violence against those in power is good. What audiences should learn is that violence is a cycle. This story would not have been possible without the first violent action of the police.  

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