Monkey Man 4K UHD/Blu-ray Collector’s Edition

3.5 Stars An agreeable action film produced on location in Indonesia.
MONKEY MAN Review

Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) acts, writes, and directs in the revenge thriller Monkey Man.

Monkey Man (2024)
Released: 05 Apr 2024
Rated: R
Runtime: 121 min
Director: Dev Patel
Genre: Action, Thriller
Cast: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash
Writer(s): Dev Patel, Paul Angunawela, John Collee
Plot: An anonymous young man unleashes a campaign of vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimize the poor and powerless.
IMDB rating: 7.3
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, French 7.1 DD+:French 7.1 DD+
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Rating: R
Run Time: 2 Hr. 1 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Amaray
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 06/25/2024
MSRP: $39.98

The Production: 3.5/5

Monkey Man Screenshot

“One small ember can burn down everything.”

If you have seen the promotional materials hyping Jordan Peele (Get Out, Nope) as a producer of Monkey Man, you can be forgiven for the same misconception I had that Monkey Man is a supernatural thriller, which it is not.  Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) plays a man with no name, but his friends call him Bobby, also known as “Kid”.  Bobby is not his real name, and flashbacks gradually reveal the trauma of his origins and explain the burn scars on his hands.  Not his real name is very ingenious in working his way in with the evil people who caused him harm as he pursues his revenge while making a name for himself as Monkey Man for the mask that he wears while competing in underground fight clubs.

Monkey Man Screenshot

Monkey Man is an action thriller that starts slowly and develops steam as it progresses.  I have heard this film compared in promotional materials to John Wick but there is very little in the coarse and brutal fight choreography of the underground fight rings in the first 30 minutes to invite that comparison to John Wick.  That changes gradually in the remainder of the film which displays some elegance to the very bloody combat.  I think Kill Bill might be a better comparison for this film than John Wick.  Monkey Man is a revenge story following in the grand tradition of Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.  This is not a bad thing necessarily, and Patel (who also co-wrote) and directed Monkey Man is engaging and sympathetic as the lead.  Sharlto Copley (Hardcore Henry, Curb Your Enthusiasm) has a minor role as a fight promoter, with the cast also including Sobhita Dhulipala (The Night Manager), Vipin Sharma (Hotel Mumbai), and Pitobash Tripatha (Million Dollar Arm).

Monkey Man Screenshot

Monkey Man is a slickly produced and agreeable revenge thriller.  It makes some pretense towards social commentary but that is very understated, if not nonexistent, and Monkey Man really offers little more allegory in that direction than any other film in which the villains are rich and powerful, e.g. John Wick and Kill Bill.  Bad people with elevated social status is more often a genre convention than it is a social statement about the class struggles in the world.  Monkey Man does include some nice allegory with the Indian story of Hanuman, a monkey who was punished by the Hindu gods in a manner that reflects Bobby’s journey.  If you like any of the films to which this one has been compared, then you will probably enjoy Monkey Man as well.

Monkey Man Screenshot

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Monkey Man Screenshot

Monkey Man appears on 4K UHD disc in 2160p via the HEVC codec in its original 2:39.1 aspect ratio.   Polychromatic hues are on display in this HD transfer with solid blacks.  Fine detail is excellent and there are no electronic artifacts noticeable.

Audio: 4/5

Monkey Man defaults to Dolby Atmos in English, with Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 available in French Canadian dialect to French speakers.  Dialogue is generally audible but often is not.  Subtitles appear by default for some of the heavily accented dialogue, but casual viewers may be inclined to select English subtitles for portions of the film that have dialogue blending into the music and sound effects in a manner that can be difficult to comprehend at times.  Other than this caveat, the Dolby Atmos audio is very good on this disc.  The soundtrack has some interesting musical selections from Boney M to Swedish House Mafia and Sting.

Monkey Man Screenshot

Special Features: 3.5/5

Monkey Man Screenshot

Special features are included only on the Blu-ray disc and include all of the following:

Alternate Opening(3:58):  The alternate opening downplays the influence of Bobby’s mother in telling him the story of Hanuman the half-monkey, half-human character of Hindu mythology.

Alternate Ending(2:45):  This version highlights the high body count of the denouement.

Deleted/Extended Scenes:  True Shakti, Mother’s Death, Training Montage, Lucky Kid, Alphonso Death, and Post Credit Burton(22:34):  These scenes may be selected individually or with a “Play All” selection.

A Labor Of Love(8:44):  Writer/director Patel talks about his vision for this film created over the years in his imagination.

Monkey Man of Action(8:35):  Jordan Peele and the producers talk about the visceral action components of Monkey Man.

Fateful Encounters(7:21): Cast and crew talk about the good and evil characters encountered by the protagonist of Monkey Man.

Roots Exposed(3:02): Dev Patel talks about the cultural influences behind the allegory in Monkey Man.

Feature Commentary:  This includes actor/writer/director Dev Patel, producers Jomon Thomas and Sam Sahni, and co-producer Raghuvir Joshi.

Also included is a paper insert with validation code for digital copy of Monkey Man via the Movies Anywhere app.

Although it is not pictured in the photograph of the product in this review, Monkey Man Collector’s Edition on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital Code includes a sublime cardboard slipcover that duplicates the case within, but with more pronounced silver on black background on the slipcover than on the case artwork.

Monkey Man Screenshot

Overall: 3.5/5

Monkey Man Screenshot

Monkey Man is an entertaining and well produced action film with a charismatic lead in writer/producer/director/actor Dev Patel.  Although the film was produced by Jordan Peele’s production company, Monkey Man is not a supernatural creature, at least not as Patel’s character is presented in the film.  (Or is he?)  The video and audio presentations are fine on this transfer, although some viewers will want to take advantage of the optional subtitles.  The special features (on Blu-ray disc only) are fairly extensive with a good number of deleted scenes and featurettes, in addition to the feature-length audio commentary.  In the absence of a new John Wick chapter in this summer film season, Monkey Man may fit the bill for audience members wanting to see a fight(or many fights).

Timothy has worked background in theatrical features and television, just for the fun of it, in films directed by Peter Segal and Christopher Nolan. His favorite film star is Bugs Bunny, and Timothy has discovered that most of the problems in life can be solved successfully (strangely enough) by asking “What would Bugs Bunny do?” Timothy has been involved with the Home Theater Forum since 2007 and has reported from Comic Con, interviewed Bruce Campbell and Danny Trejo, and reviewed classic animation and new theatrical releases on disc.

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Robert Harris

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One of the few films thus far this year I disliked enough to turn it off. I did pick up a dozen boxes of product however for the slip, which is the film’s highlight, and may possibly have First Edition investment potential.
 

Sam Posten

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One of the few films thus far this year I disliked enough to turn it off. I did pick up a dozen boxes of product however for the slip, which is the film’s highlight, and may possibly have First Edition investment potential.
Couldn’t disagree more. Monkey Man is bleeding fantastic. See it as big as you can with the best Atmos setup you can find. Pure reference sound.
 

Sam Posten

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But how’s the screenplay?
I enjoyed it. The love between mother and child provided the backdrop for the violent revenge. The fact that his father is never even considered other than the villains calling his mother a whore is intriguing. The trans faction is timely and empowering. The ending was perfect, and yet still unsettled in his fate.

This is a first time writer and director. I was not expecting perfection and was impressed with what he achieved.
 
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