Monkey Man 2024 movie

Monkey Man – The new action hero coming from India

Since it is almost the end of April, I had to start talking about some 2024 movies, and I want to start with Monkey Man, a Canadian/US production that has catalyzed the attention of all lovers of the action genre.

In action movies, you don’t need an exaggeratedly complicated plot, but it’s enough to have well-delineated characters in an environment consistent with the style of what you want to tell.

Here, we follow the difficult life of the lonely and taciturn Kid, a poor Indian boy who makes a living doing every small and dirty job he can.

Among his many jobs is being an underground fighter, wearing a monkey mask, usually losing at the behest of the slimy Tiger, a ruthless organizer who profits from his defeats.

One day, by a stroke of luck (cunningly arranged), Kid manages to get into the business of the beautiful woman boss, Queenie, who accepts him to work as a scullery boy in the Kings, her large palace criminal kingdom.

Day after day, he studies the behavior of who come in and out of that place, becoming friends with the small-time drug dealer Alphonso, who manages to get him a more decent job as a waiter in the casino/brothel for the city’s richest and most powerful criminals.

This is the moment Kid has been waiting for because he can finally get close to the cruel and corrupt police chief, Rana Singh, guilty of brutally killing his mother when he was just a child.

But at the decisive moment, he fails to kill him, so all the worst scum and every cop in town start hunting him relentlessly.

At that point, Kid can only return to the forest and find himself, becoming that strong and determined warrior who can finish the revenge.

Once upon a time, an Indian fought in American’s style

Dev Patel, an actor we all remember as the star of The Millionaire, made his debut behind the camera with the best meeting point between Bollywood-style cinema and Hollywood.

An atmosphere of injustice openly accepted by all sets the stage for the over-the-top reaction of the protagonist, in revenge with a similar path to John Wick but without the cartoonish invulnerability of the protagonist played by the same Patel.

However, despite the many scenes with mixed hand-to-hand combat and adrenaline-fueled gunfights, there is a significant cultural difference with the successful saga starring Keanu Reeves.

Unlike the vibrant settings of the Continental hotels and diverse assassins in the successful saga, Monkey Man offers a poignant exploration of India’s political and social landscape, juxtaposing the old villages with the bustling cities.

Monkey Man journey to the big screen was not without its hurdles, facing numerous production issues and the withdrawal of sponsor Netflix, yet the movie reached theaters in 2024, a testament to the resilience and dedication of its team and the support of acclaimed director Jordan Peele.

Peele has always been interested in unique and bold projects, not surprisingly we also recently learned of his entry into the world of video games alongside a veteran like Hideo Kojima, with whom he is working on the top-secret Overdose, better known as OD.

He probably saw that mix of style and substance that is powerfully spectacular in a Western way but with a full-blown Indian soul, especially in the numerous emotional flashbacks and in the love of the protagonist haunted by memories of when he was a child.

But when he later opens his eyes again, he is an adult again, amidst the many criminals, drugs, and prostitutes of Kings, the realm of corruption he cannot help but wish to destroy.

Kicking your way to justice

Besides holding up well as a director, Dev Patel also delivers a sound performance as an action hero, nicely combining his character’s dramatic/psychological side with a solid physical performance in the many action scenes.

From the very beginning, we see his frustration as an exasperated warrior who must necessarily lose in the clandestine matches organized by Sharlto Copley, an actor who, as usual, is funny both as a multifaceted hero in Hardcore Henry and even as a physically enhanced psychopathic villain in Elysium.

Equally comic is the role of Pitobash, a small, neurotic actor we see as Alphonso; who initially seems just one of many criminals trying to take advantage of Kid, but ends up becoming a kind of friend and sidekick.

Amidst so much violence, however, Sikandar Kher rises as the most villainous of villains as the sadistic police chief Rana.

A figure who haunts the protagonist in the many flashbacks where he recalls his mother, the beautiful and courageous Adithi Kalkunte, who ends up brutally killed in a demonstration just because he dares to defy the authority wanting to destroy their peaceful little forest land.

Finally, we also recall the sexy and cruel Ashwini Kalsekar as Queenie, the owner and matron of Kings, the grand crime palace that looks almost like a twisted and insane version of the Continental hotels in the John Wick saga.

However, while Wick’s murderous colleagues follow a code of honor in the quaint criminal association they are part of, there are no rules in the Kings, and money and bullying are the only God they all respect.

The worship and pursuit of money by any means becomes an obsession that takes the place of the Hindu religion, devouring the soul of the town and leaving a void that nothing can fill.

From what I’ve read so far, Monkey Man has already divided many opinions and reviews on the Internet, perhaps because many people cannot seriously accept an action movie with an Indian hero, but as far as I’m concerned I already place it among the best action I’ve seen so far in 2024.

Monkey Man 2024 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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