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Monkey Man (2024) Review: A Fistful of Bananas and Then Some

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.

Welcome to another round of Dan’s Movie Reviews, where I tackle the cinematic world with the grace of a bull in a china shop. Today’s special? Monkey Man, starring Dev Patel in a mask that's less “party chic” and more “rejected Halloween costume from five years ago.”

So, let’s swing into the jungle of this movie. Monkey Man has Dev Patel turning his childhood Taekwondo training into a cinematic fiesta of punches, kicks, and a surprising amount of phone camera footage. Yes, because nothing says ‘high-budget action film’ like shooting it on an iPhone. Spielberg, who?

The Plot Thickens (Or Does It?)

Our hero, Kid (played by Patel), lives a life that makes even the most depressing soap opera look like a Disneyland parade. By day, he's everybody's punching bag in an underground fight club, and by night... well, he's still a punching bag, just in a gorilla mask. It's the kind of job security most of us dream about.

After years of being the human equivalent of a piñata, Kid's pent-up rage finds a way out. And how does he channel this fury? By crashing the party of the city's elite—presumably because their invites got lost in the mail. Here's where the fun begins, with Kid serving up revenge like it’s a Black Friday sale—everything must go!

Action-Packed... Sometimes

If you’re into action that's choreographed tighter than your budget after the holidays, then you’re in for a treat. The fight scenes are a blend of ballet and a bar brawl—absolutely delightful. And we even get a cultural tour! Because nothing says "cultural insight" like smashing through it at full speed in a fight sequence.

But oh, the pacing. This movie sometimes moves at the speed of a snail on a leisurely stroll. And the symbolism? Subtlety is not its strong suit. It's like being hit over the head with the symbolism stick—repeatedly.

DIY Filmmaking

In a touching nod to indie filmmaking, parts of Monkey Man were shot using GoPros and iPhones. It’s either a bold artistic choice or the accountant took the phrase “cutting costs” a little too literally.

Dev Patel, the Jack of all trades, mentioned at SXSW that he’s tired of action films being mindless cash grabs. He wants to give us soul and pain—well, considering he walked away from filming with a broken hand, broken toes, a torn shoulder, and an eye infection, I'd say he’s given quite enough.

Dan's Official Verdict

So, where does this leave us with Monkey Man? It's a solid 7/10. It's like that one ride at the amusement park that's super fun but occasionally breaks down—you still go, just maybe after you check the maintenance schedule.

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