Monsters of Man

Movie review by Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media
Monsters of Man Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 17+

Extreme violence, lots of death in solid killer robot movie.

NR 2020 131 minutes

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 18+

Based on 2 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 14+

Superb CG, acting, visuals. Missing that je ne sais quoi.

First: The casting, the cast, and the acting was pretty damned good, far better than the dozens of shoddily acted B-movie sci-fi flicks on Netflix. As a robot/AI/CG/sci-fi fan I wanted to really love this, but I didn't. That doesn't take away from the above-average, even superb acting from a good-looking cast and the very authentic-feeling locals. Child actors were a delight. The CG is exceptional. I don't know how they managed such high-level CG on a budget, but it's near-flawless. Kudos to the entire visual effects team. The egregious violence is part of the fun but may be too intense for younger children. Though it may upset some, kids see plenty of this in any modern video game. I guess the problem I have is the same problem I have with every military-mission-gone-bad movie—it's simply not believable. I'll forgive the far-too-advanced-AI for this millennium faux pax, but the tired trope of the evil CIA and its illegal war-game technology needs a facelift. Just another creative take on the trope would be appreciated. High marks for acting, casting, locations, and gorgeous transition shots, but with a just bit more ingenuity imbued into the antagonist or overall dramatic conflict, this could really be something special.
age 15+

Much better than expected

First off, I don't think the reviewer here actually watched the movie, claiming it's "not particularly kind to non-White-male" (sic) characters. On the contrary, all the unequivocally bad guys are white men: The military major testing his new war machines on civilians, the military contractor boss who supplies the machines, two of the three main programmers, and the spec-ops guy who coerces the programmers -- at gun-point, while threatening the lives of their families -- after they realize with horror that their creations are being used on civilians. Meanwhile, the heroic characters include a Cambodian boy, the boy's kind mother, the boy's father who dies defending his family, two females including an Asian-American woman, and yes, a white male former Navy SEAL. Apparently the author of the review thought the Navy SEAL risking life and limb -- with complete, utter humility -- was "problematic" because he's a white male. Yet his character has surprising depth: Not only does he put himself at enormous risk to save the lives of the mother, her child and the American doctors on a charity mission who got caught in the crossfire, he does so unarmed, and it's revealed that he carries a deep sense of guilt because he was the only survivor of a raid in which his friends were killed. Additionally, the main plot thread in this movie involves four semi-autonomous androform robot soldiers, including one that malfunctions, becomes self-aware when its controlling "AI cap" is disabled, and slowly comes to the realization that human life, indeed all life, is precious: A realization it arrives at with the help of the aforementioned Cambodian boy, who after seeing both of his parents killed, clings to the one remaining adult he loves, the Navy SEAL. This movie is about redemption, both human and machine. It has a diverse cast of characters, it depicts life in another country, and it poses important questions not only about life, but about how many human beings are willing to allow others to suffer -- or directly cause that suffering -- for greed, as the defense contractor and his programmers are seeking a military contract for their machine soldiers, which will pay them handsomely. I really think more thought should have been put into this review. Does the movie feature violence? Yes. Does it glorify it in any way? Absolutely not. In fact, it's just the opposite. Violence is shown as horrific, including showing war has consequences long after it's done, by showing us how entire swaths of southeast Asia are peppered with still-active landmines. This was a surprisingly good movie with a good message, it's just not for young kids.

This title has:

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Great role models

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