Review (05/04/25 Scott McCutcheon)

Monkey Man’s journey to the big screen is just about as interesting as the film itself, Having been in the works since 2018 and completed in 2021 Netflix bought the worldwide rights for $30 million only to sell it off to Universal for $10 million after they felt that the finished film was too gritty for Indian audiences.

Now nearly three years to the day filming was completed, it wrapped on 12th March 2021, Monkey Man finally hits cinema screens.

Described as an Indian version of John Wick, references to Wick pepper the film so it’s not hard to see why, Monkey Man is obviously a labour of love for director Dev Patel who not only stars but also directs, produces and wrote the screenplay.   

Patel is the Kid, a young man who earns his living fighting in illegal cage fights. His gimmick is that he fights in a monkey mask and goes by the name of Monkey Man.

The Kid’s mission is to hunt down a group of corrupt leaders who are responsible for his mother Neela's death: Rana Singh, chief of police of the city of Yatana and his guru and boss Baba Shakti.

Just like John Wick, Patel’s film is littered with violent fights that don’t really serve much purpose other than letting us see The Kid beating some bad guy to death using even more extreme measures as the film goes on.

Shot in constant close up, Patel loves his camera to be as near his actor’s nose as possible, and with jarring editing the violence does tend to become tiresome after a while.

The story itself is slightly disjoined with The Kids motivation only becoming apparent some distance into the running time of the film.

Patel lacks the charisma of Keanu Reeves making it hard for us to really care about his character. Patel would probably have been better staying away from any references to John Wick in his film as any references just tend to highlight how inferior it is to any of the John Wick films.


Monkey Man

2h 01m

Director: Dev Patel
Cast: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Sikandar Kher,

UK/US Release: Cinemas 5th April 2024