Monkey Man (2024)

How many action stars and action movie directors have made their first bid for each title with the same movie?

Dev Patel takes the plunge on both at once in his directorial debut of “Monkey Man”, and scores an instant K.O. for both.

Bringing his everyman screen persona to the role of a young man whose vendetta becomes less personal and more selfless than he ever expected, Dev Patel also shows himself to be an exceptionally capable action filmmaker and big-screen martial artist in a phenomenal two-for-the-price-of-one deal.

In simple terms, “Monkey Man” rocks…!



On top of directing and co-writing “Monkey Man”, Dev Patel also plays its protagonist, Kid, with Sharlto Copley playing the sinister fight club owner, Tiger.

Pitobash also appears as Kid’s ally Alphonso, with Vipin Sharma playing Kid’s mentor figure Alpha and Sikander Ker playing the vicious corrupt police chief Rana, with Makarand Deshpande as political candidate and religious guru Baba Shakti.

Additionally, the supporting cast also includes Sobhita Dhulipala, Ashwinia Kalsekar, and Adithi Kalkunte, respectively portraying Sita, Queenie, and Neela, with fight choreographer Brahim Chab also appearing (albeit with a mask on) as Kid’s ring opponent, King Kobra.


In the heart of India’s gritty underbelly, a nameless young man known only as “Kid” (and occasionally by the pseudonym of Bobby) earns a living throwing matches in underground MMA fights, donning a gorilla mask as he enters the ring against each new opponent.

Kid eventually moves into a new line of work when he gets a job working as a dishwasher in an exclusive club frequented by members of Indian high society and many in the country’s criminal underworld.

What none suspect is that Kid is on a mission of both personal vengeance and societal retribution, with Kid seeking payback for his mother’s murder and the destruction of his village by corrupt police official Rana.

However, as Kid embarks on his mission, he comes to understand more about who ordered his village’s demolition and its ties to the larger corruption in India’s political establishment, and begins to rethink the scope of the vengeance he is pursuing.


“Monkey Man” is more than just “John Wick in India”

While much of the press coverage and internet discussion of “Monkey Man” is as a “John Wick in India”-style action movie, that falls well short of doing it justice.

To be sure, “Monkey Man” throws caution to the wind just as much as the average “John Wick” movie in delivering action of the Baba Yaga’s usual tier, and John Wick himself even gets name-dropped early on when Kid makes his initial preparations for his revenge mission.

However, “Monkey Man” is also an action flick with a head on its shoulders – or, perhaps more accurately, a heart for the downtrodden.

When “Monkey Man” opens, the only thing Kid’s mind is focused upon aside from avenging the tragedy of his past is simply getting by as best as he can, even if he has to throw fight after fight in the ring to do so.

Kid’s vendetta ends up being a catalyst for his hero’s journey from revenge-seeking anti-hero to a social crusader for India’s most marginalized people.

In his directorial debut, Patel turns his camera’s lens with righteous indignation at the societal inequities Kid witness as he seeks payback for his mother’s death and the destruction of his village.

The nightclub he lands a dishwashing job in, externally a hotspot for the wealthiest patrons of Mumbai, hides a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah within drug abuse and dehumanization.

Under Patel’s direction, Kid’s perspective and that of the movie shifts from merely a quest for payback to a Robin Hood-inspired story as Kid comes to fight a war for those at the bottom of society’s totem pole.

Dev Patel Carries “Monkey Man” as its Star and Director

In the “Monkey Man” press tour, Dev Patel has been nothing if not candid on the extreme difficulties the movie endured in production – including an entire E.R.’s list of injuries – to securing distribution, but none of that weighs down “Monkey Man” in the least.

Patel brings a deft, palpable command to his directorial debut, with a lot of societal commentary on his mind and an energetic fierceness as an action movie maker worthy of Gareth Evans or Chad Stahelski. The same, indeed, can be said of his performance as Kid.

Patel wears his quite evident Jackie Chan influences on his sleeve with “Monkey Man” in making Kid the epitome of an underdog, a hero who can take as good as he gives, and spends the first two acts absorbing far more of the former.

As Kid, Patel is a different and refreshing kind of action movie lead, a man who knows he’s in way over his head and has to actively fight through his own fear and sense of insurmountable odds even when he has the target of his ire right in his sights.

A director-action star combo with the command Dev Patel’s brings to “Monkey Man” is a rarity, and as much an accomplishment as the movie itself with Patel fighting the same kind of real-life uphill battle to realize “Monkey Man” that Kid himself does.

The Action in “Monkey Man” is Phenomenal!

And with that comes the action of “Monkey Man”, with words like “bonanza”, “spectacular”, or simply “wow” immediately springing to mind.

“Monkey Man” primarily focuses on Kid’s venture into India’s underworld in its first half, with a handful of Kid’s ring fights that he’s employed to throw sprinkled in, only for the movie to absolutely explode in its first big set piece.

That comes in the form Kid’s initial attempt at revenge that boils over into a feral bathroom fight, a blazing car chase, and an axe fight in a brothel that’s as Indonesian-style in action as it gets.

While there IS shaky cam and close-ups put to use in “Monkey Man”, particularly in this section of the movie, their implementation adds to the visceral feel of the action without crossing the line into intruding upon it or making it visually indecipherable.

Brahim Chab brings every bit the keen eye for designing the action of “Monkey Man” as Patel brings as the movie’s director, delivering fight scenes of the bloody ballet variety that more closely evoke “The Raid” than “John Wick”.

“Monkey Man” affords Kid a breather of sorts midway through, but even here crafts one of its best scenes of Kid simply striking a heavy bag with his newfound ally Alpha drumming in the background.

Patel clearly appreciates a good training montage as much as any martial arts movie fan, and crafts one of particular importance to Kid’s character arc as he heals his mind and body and comes to understand the larger scope of what he’s fighting for.

The Finale of “Monkey Man” brings the Heat, Thunder, and Fireworks in Spades!

All roads in “Monkey Man” lead right up to the movie’s final half hour, in which Patel and Kid respectively unleash everything they’ve got inside them.

Kid returns to the ring for his most involved and primal MMA fights yet, symbolically embracing the title of “Monkey Man” and what it means at last, with the movie then leaping into a final showdown in the elite nightclub that plays like “The Night Comes For Us”, “Game of Death”, and “Kiss of the Dragon” all rolled into one.

The level, impact, and intensity of the action in the finale of “Monkey Man” simply cannot be overstated (FYI – the use of “fireworks” in the heading above is not euphemistic)!

With that, “Monkey Man” also ends on a somewhat ambiguous note, one that suggests Patel is hedging his bet on whether “Monkey Man 2” might be on his mind, though it most certainly will be on the minds of millions of moviegoers by the time the end credits roll…


Dev Patel, as an action hero and action director, is simply a force to be reckoned with, and with “Monkey Man”, his future in both arenas is one to anticipate with tremendous fervor.

The same due credit also goes to Brahim Chab in overseeing the wildly powerful and viscerally unforgettable fight scenes of “Monkey Man”, which consistently punch with the power of a freight train.

“Monkey Man” brings political and societal commentary aplenty to its story of a wronged protagonist who comes to fight for more than himself, and interweaves them into a heart-racing-yet-surprisingly dense revenge story.

If pushing the envelope is the trendsetting badge of honor action fans are hungry for, “Monkey Man” pushes it all the way to the moon!


  • “Monkey Man” is inspired by the Hindu deity Hanuman.
  • Dev Patel was raised in Hinduism, and spoke of the influence of Hanuman on the making of “Monkey Man” and his character Kid at the movie’s premiere at 2024’s South By Southwest, with Patel stating:

He really captivated me. He has been sort of an emblem for my father and many in my family. If you go to any gym in India, there’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman and Hanuman.

What baffled me growing up was this iconography of this superstrong being who could hold mountains in one hand and split his chest open. It reminded me of the iconography of Superman. I was like this is amazing, I wish the world knew about it.

  • Dev Patel is a Taekwondo black belt, having studied at London’s Rayners Lane Academy of Taekwondo. Patel also competed in numerous local and international competitions, including the 2004 Action International Martial Arts Association World Championships in Dublin, Ireland, with Patel (then a red belt) ultimately winning a bronze medal from the tournament.
  • Dev Patel endured numerous injuries during the making of “Monkey Man”, including a broken hand, two broken toes, and a torn shoulder – along with even an eye infection!
  • In a Reddit AMA with fans, Dev Patel described the making of “Monkey Man” as “the most demanding thing I’ve ever done in my life” and stated that “everyday we faced absolute catastrophe” due to numerous production difficulties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and other obstacles.
  • Patel laid out the grueling production of “Monkey Man” with the following statement in the Reddit AMA:

I begged our financier not to shut us down a few weeks before principle photography. We were meant to shoot in India then covid hit – I lost my initial production designer and DOP and the film went basically dead.

Then we pivoted and went to a tiny island in Indonesia where we could create a bubble in an empty hotel for the whole crew of nearly 500 people…It was a grueling nine months of absolute joy and utter chaos.

All of the locations we prepped for months at – we lost day of – so we had to adapt last minute – the borders closed also I couldn’t bring in lots of supporting characters so I ended up having to put every tailor, lighting guy, accountant etc in front of the camera – speaking of cameras most of our equipment broke and we couldn’t fly in new stuff so we literally shot stuff on my mobile phone, go pros.

When a crane broke we ended up creating this camera rig from rope which I termed the ‘pendulum cam’ which swings over a large crowd of people then detaches and the operators run through the crowd whilst it was rolling.

ALSO there were days when I would turn up to set and we literally didn’t have any tops to the tables in the VIP room sequence – I asked the set designer and they said they literally didn’t have any money in the account to buy the glass.

So I had to shoot above the shoulders as one of our producers ran his personal credit card to buy the glass to cover the table tops so we could shoot the rest of the scene…

Speaking of tables we only had three or four break away tables so once I would perform a huge bulk of stunts I would scream CUT and then immediately all of us would get on our hands and knees looking for all of the broken pieces of wood to glue the tables back together for the next shot… in a very long nutshell every obstacle provided us with a new opportunity to innovate. BOOM!”

  • “Monkey Man” was primarily filmed in Batam, Indonesia, and was originally set to be released on Netflix, though Netflix later opted out of releasing the film, leaving Dev Patel to seek another distributor and with the movie in danger of never seeing a mainstream release.
  • However, after seeing a private screening of the movie, producer Jordan Peele was so impressed with the film, he felt it should be given a theatrical release. This led to Peele acquiring “Monkey Man” through his production company, Monkeypaw Productions, to distribute the movie through Universal Pictures.
  • Some of Brahim Chab’s other credits as stuntman and fight choreographer include “Dragon Blade”, “Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear”, “Never Back Down: No Surrender”, “Mechanic: Resurrection”, “Hard Target 2”, “The Foreigner”, “War”, “Tremors: Shrieker Island”, and the upcoming “Skyline: Warpath”.
  • Additionally, Brahim has had numerous on-camera roles as henchmen and villains in martial arts films, such as in “Man of Tai Chi”, “Boyka: Undisputed”, and “Ganapath: A Hero is Born”, with Brahim respectively having fight scenes with Tiger Chen, Scott Adkins, and Tiger Shroff in each.

Favorite Quotes

  • “Blessings from my mother.” – Kid (to Rana in their first confrontation.)
  • “The pain will leave you once it’s finished teaching you.” – Alpha (after giving Kid a powerful herbal supplement to help him recover from his injuries.)

Monkey Man (2024) – 4K ULTRA HD – KUNG FU KINGDOM

Film Rating: 8.5/10

“Monkey Man” is now playing in theaters around the world, and a stunning, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version is available from Amazon!

Have you seen “Monkey Man” yet? What are your thoughts on the movie’s surprisingly amazing action sequences? Are you looking forward to seeing Dev Patel continue to do action movies as both star and director? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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