Monsters of Man by Mark Toia [8/10]

Monsters of Man,” a low-budget, self-financed movie about robots amok, should show signs of shabbiness and cliche, but it does not, not at all. Mark Toia has penned a speedball, intelligent script and his direction, informed no doubt by a career in screen commercials, is stellar. The robots are seamlessly believable. The plotline sounds familiar in the telling – a new line of combat robots is released for testing into a supposedly deserted Asian jungle, only to find half a dozen young doctors, villagers, and an ex-Navy Seal. A bloodthirsty hunt and battle ensues. Yet the screenplay displays very little banality and the action sequences are positively thrilling. The large cast of hapless quarry, warriors, and evildoers is uniformly serviceable, no more or less than what is needed, but the true stars are the robots, including one that seeks to evolve and question existentially. Monsters of Man comes highly recommended as a smart, visually impressive thriller that reminded me of the classic days of the Alastair Maclean novels turned to film.

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