It has its share of flaws, but this violent killer robot movie somehow manages to use its extensive running time to find interesting gray areas in between its situations and characters. Self-funded and written, directed, produced, and shot by former advertising exec Mark Toia, Monsters of Man is a combination of impressive ambition and absurd B movie ingredients. On the downside, the team of worthy, culturally diverse doctors are the least interesting characters, and the movie makes the clichéd -- and problematic -- mistake of killing off the non-White ones first. (Women and children are also killed.)
The action sequences are frequently choppy, and the violence is brutal and shocking, but at least death means something here. Plus, some of the shadier characters end up being quite fun. Familiar, icy-cool McDonough adds some spice as the evil CIA agent, answering the phone with a simple "Go." And main hero Mason actually has a human side: He's far more engaging than many of today's more highly employable action stars. The movie's effects are impressive, with the robots looking smoothly metallic and three-dimensional. And Toia uses the jungle setting to fine effect, whether it be characters trying to climb vines in a rocky canyon or hiding out in an ancient temple. In the end, Monsters of Man intriguingly leaves off with questions about weapons and violence, good and evil, death and life.