At The Movies: Monkey Man and Drift rise above, Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is another low

2 weeks ago 47

Updated

Apr 03, 2024, 03:00 PM

Published

Apr 03, 2024, 03:00 PM

Monkey Man (R21)

121 minutes, opens on April 44 stars

The story: Somewhere in India, the impoverished Kid (Dev Patel) makes a living fighting in underground matches. His meagre earnings go towards a single goal – to find the men responsible for his wretched and lonely condition.

Revenge stories do not get much more brutal or minimalist than this homage to Bruce Lee gongfu, Indian mythology and Bollywood action movies.

Co-written, helmed by and starring British actor Dev Patel making his feature film directorial debut, it combines hard-hitting martial arts with a dash of the exploitation crime thriller – the bloodletting and bare skin on display are enough to warrant an R21 classification, for sexual scenes and violence.

Patel’s lone wolf character might fight like a 1970s throwback, but modern touches abound. For example, he fights like a demon because he has demons on the inside.

His sleep is troubled by post-trauma flashbacks that give Kid his obsession with retribution, while the pummellings he dishes out are set to modern electronic dance music.

On a separate note, Patel’s athleticism in fight scenes is breathtaking. He makes Keanu Reeves’ John Wick from the self-titled film series (2014 to present) look like he moves in slow motion.

It feels as if Patel is showing a middle finger...

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