Visually appealing and featuring an intriguing main story, Monsters of Man is a decent action/science fiction movie. It sure has its flaws but considering just how few similar movies are being released now, it’ll do just fine. It follows a bunch of young doctors in Cambodia who find themselves hunted by four killer robots. That’s pretty much it. One of the first things you’re going to notice about this movie are the impressive special effects. Robots look like they escaped from the latest Hollywood blockbuster. The way they move, run, and pretty much everything else looks stunning and above all realistic. They are the stars of the show and not just because they look great. Poor character development and over-the-top acting will actually make you cheer for the robots to get rid of these pesky meatbags. And while the plot features some relevant and important questions, the execution feels amateurish.
Artificial intelligence, the military application of robots, and a couple of other things will make you think. The story mostly takes place deep in the land mine-ridden and lush Cambodian jungles. Monsters of Man really milked the location for everything it’s worth using not just the vegetation but also ancient temples. This gave the movie a Predator vibe what with our protagonists trying to survive in this environment. I kept waiting for that music to kick in and for them to start making traps and shit. Alas, that did not happen. Instead, they stumbled their way into a slow death. With a runtime of just over two hours, they should have shaved off at least half an hour to help with the pacing. But hey, at least you’ll be able to make a sandwich, go to the bathroom or roll another one without missing something.
A group of young guys and girls seem to be lost in the jungles of Cambodia. They are all members of Doctors Without Borders, helping the local population with their health issues. Just when the panic started to spread among them, a group of kids emerges from the lush vegetation and leads them to their village. At the same time several thousand feet above them, an airplane carrying four experimental military robots just dropped its cargo…
We’re really not that far from these killer robots becoming our reality. I dare you to watch this Boston Dynamics video of robots dancing and not feel chills. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. Although I must admit they look quite cute. No man, snap out of it, that’s what they want you to think. Of course, we don’t need to talk about the lack of morals in the military and their willingness to sacrifice lives for research purposes. It’s one thing to think about these robots killing people and a whole another watching them do it, indiscriminately killing men, women, and children. Speaking of which, this movie features several really gory scenes, taking advantage of the independent production.
The shiny visuals can make you think that Monsters of Man is a sleek-looking B movie. However, in reality, this is actually a C movie punching way above its weight. It’s a director’s Mark Toia debut and he called it an experiment to get a feel for the market. And once you start watching it, it will become clear why. I watched so many similar movies from the eighties and nineties when I was younger that I felt right at home. After Terminator destroyed the box offices around the world in 1984, the market was soon flooded with killer robot movies. Out of all of them, I want to single out Solo from 1996 starring Mario Van Peebles. It feels like a prequel for this movie. And if you end up hooked on this theme check out Death Machine, A.P.E.X., and Hardware.
Director: Mark Toia
Writers: Jeff Hand, Mark Toia
Cast: Neal McDonough, Brett Tutor, Jose Rosete, David Haverty, Paul Haapaniemi, Tatjana Marjanovic, Jordy Tulleners, Kayli Tran
Fun Facts: Fans around the world helped fund the film via the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. Depending on the reward selected. They got a digital copy of the movie, digital script, screensavers etc. and also their name in the end credits of the movie.