Inspired by the legend of Hanuman, an icon embodying strength and courage, Monkey Man stars Patel as Kid, an anonymous young man who ekes out a meager living in an underground fight club where, night after night, wearing a gorilla mask, he is beaten bloody by more popular fighters for cash. After years of suppressed rage, Kid discovers a way to infiltrate the enclave of the city’s sinister elite. As his childhood trauma boils over, his mysteriously scarred hands unleash an explosive campaign of retribution to settle the score with the men who took everything from him. (Universal Pictures US)


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English MONKEY MAN! MONKEY MAN! MONKEY MAN! MONKEY MAN! A bloody action romp with a mystical intermezzo and a subtle political background. Dev Patel is the writer, director and star of this heartfelt revenge project. The cleansing of the indigenous population for the sake of building a factory (probably for biscuits) resonates nicely, but the audio-visual package takes this unconventionally told traditional story to a new level. Contact battles alternating points of view, a high-paced chase through crowded streets, sweat and blood, and a cut through social groups from the bottom to the top. All beautifully framed by the tale of Hanuman. A unexpectedly mature work. ()


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English Beautiful. The first proper action flick of the year from the inexperienced Dev Patel, who shines both in acting and directing, and to come up with such a great debut in this day and age, takes my appreciation and compliments. Even if the 5 stars aren't entirely pure, I'll happily give them to Monkey Man, this is after all my favourite genre and a film I'll happily watch with friends again, so why not! At its core, Monkey Man is a classic revenge actioner, but thanks to the Indian realities and culture, it has a very different vibe and actually feels very fresh. I loved the contrast where one scene is slums and utter poverty and squalor and the next is skyscrapers with rich scumbags doing coke instead of shots and banging Miss World. There are only three action scenes, but they are nice and long. The first lasts at least 20 minutes, it’s where Dev Patel doesn't know how to fight that much yet, so he gets a decent ass kicking too. Halfway through, the film switches a bit into spiritual Indian mode, where Patel gets a workout and they nicely show India from a different direction, so that we can then get a look at the Ring, this is where the film is most reminiscent of the Ong-bak, and it’s all wrapped up with an ultra brutal long finale that combines both John Wick and The Raid. The finale is again long, pleasingly brutal, with great cinematography (Patel nicely switches camera angles: bird's eye view, first person camera, close up and distance), and I like that the film has virtually no shooting but relies on melee weapons, and I liked the innovative element of rocket firecrackers!! The Indian assassins at the end were a delight, they were pretty damn cool, and the ultimate boss fight was a nice cherry on top. I had a great time, visually properly dirty and brutal, the action scenes are polished, Patel has charisma to spare and, as I mentioned, the Indian culture suits the film very well. It could have had a little more gore, there's less of it than I wanted in the end, but I'll rise above that. 85% ()



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English Good stuff, though a little different than I expected. Dev Patel turned out to be a good action hero, but more importantly he managed to show his talent as a director. He knows how to play with visuals and over-stylized colours, beautifully evoking the feeling of two worlds in an Indian metropolis, and he's totally confident and assured in action. He makes imaginative use of camera and editing, as well as cover versions of 80s songs, and he's not afraid of blood in the slightest. Monkey Man is very much a gritty spectacle, and in the action scenes it recalls The Raid or Ong-bak, and Tom Yum Goong with Tony Jaa in its dirtiness and uncompromising nature. So it's rather disappointing that all this visual and action deliciousness is based on the most banal revenge story, there are virtually no supporting characters and the Indian mysticism has perhaps too much space for my taste. Moreover, it doesn't really get going properly until somewhere around the middle, so I left the cinema feeling that I might not have gotten quite what I was hoping for. As a debut, however, Monkey Man is mature, imaginative and clearly acted and filmed with gusto. As an action filmmaker, Dev Patel will definitely interest me. ()


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English In the field of action movies, Monkey Man is a revelation similar to what the first John Wick was in its time, but it gets essential extra points for having a lot of heart. An extremely likable aspect of Monkey Man is that this straightforward and formalistically well-worn revenge flick packed with fighting was made as its creator’s dream project, making it even more resistant to all kinds of adversity. Dev Patel, whom everyone sees as an actor who plays sensitive characters, returns here to his adolescence, when he practice taekwondo at the competitive level. Or, as the case may be, he goes even farther back in time, when he enthusiastically watched the physically captivating and  emancipatory films of Bruce Lee. In addition to that, he also makes good use of his thorough knowledge of martial-arts action films and their Western, Far Eastern and Indian milestones from the decades that followed. However, Monkey Man offers more than just enthusiastic references, which Patel acknowledges and highlights. He is able to self-sufficiently use those references as a foundation and push them further – not necessarily through any sophistication or purposeful bombastic radicalism, but through the long built-up desire to show what he has within himself. The notional boxing ring of the action genre has been dominated in recent years by the 87eleven stable, which still manages to bare its teeth with each new John Wick movie, but because its style has become the mainstream standard, it already seems noticeably hackneyed and worn-out. In this analogy, Patel and his team represent those young, aggressive and hungry outsiders whom no one believes in at the beginning, but who then capture the hearts of the whole crowd by the time the fight is over. Patel’s combination of Bollywood colourfulness, eclectic multiculturalism (in terms of aesthetics and genre, as well as the traditions of martial arts) and pervasive enthusiasm would suffice to make Monkey Man something special and give it the decision on points. But there is also the brutal choreography and, primarily, the extraordinary camerawork by Stephen Renney, newly promoted from stuntman to camera operator, which tear the established competition to pieces with their aggressiveness, rawness, uncompromising physical energy and wild dynamism. ()


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English Where John Wick is all about fancy choreography and nicely shot bombastic action, Monkey Man adds a more human hero with motivations closer to my own, animalism, an unadorned and attractive setting in India, mysticism, and thought-provoking social themes (even if those are only lightly pitched). Yeah, I can enjoy an "action movie" in this form. Audiovisually top notch, a fantastic directorial debut. ()

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