Monsters of Man (2020)
131 min|Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller|25 Dec 2020
5.4Rating: 5.4 / 10 from 7,748 usersMetascore: N/A
A US weapons manufacturer tests its 4 killer robots on heroin producers in the Golden Triangle in SEAsia. It goes haywire.

Monsters of Human is an independent science fiction film whose script was also written by Mark Toia. The cameraman is also the director himself. This film stars unfamiliar names, except for Neil McDonough, who we often see as an antagonist in big movies. The film is said to have been funded by public donations via the website. There were not many expectations, but unexpectedly this film was able to show the filmmaker skills in processing action and suspense scenes with all its limitations.

The war of AI robot companies for the military is now at its peak. One robot company conducted a trial by sending four of its newest robots to an inland area in Thailand suspected of being a hotbed of the drug trade. Unexpectedly, the mission turned south when a robot malfunctioned, and at the settlement site, there were seven young US doctors on a humanitarian mission and one former Navy Seal.

The story idea is interesting, but the plot development is so bad. But somehow, this film is interesting to follow with the hope that little surprises will happen. In fact, not. The plot back and forth from side to side depicts dozens of characters that make the story seem out of focus. We have encountered many times to survive from being chased by robots, and many films are much better than this. One aspect of the story is interesting, where a robot tries to find its existence. Unfortunately, it cannot be explored deeper. As a result, this film seems to have no purpose and pointless message, other than just running around in the forest while on different sides, the innocent scientists are intimidated by their bosses. Only this. Throughout the film, another story option looms large that can be one of the best science fiction films.

One side that is rarely found in similar films is the level of brutality. It is impossible to watch a child and his mother being shot so cruelly in a mainstream movie. It’s not easy to look at, but the sense of reality feels stronger. This is also supported by CGI, which is not bad for its budget level. Although it is clear that the robots are presented with animation techniques, their existence feels so real and threatening. If only the budget were more, I think this film could technically be a lot better.

Behind its brutality and pointless story, Monsters of Human has fresh story potential for its genre. If only the script were worked out more patiently, this film could compete with other big science fiction films. There is one memorable moment. Even though it’s uncomfortable to watch when the robot analyzes human organs by dissecting their bodies to find out their existence. The robot even cuts the skin of the victim’s face and looks in the mirror to see his face. If this film is more established, it could be one of the best scenes of all time for the genre.

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Hobinya menonton film sejak kecil dan mendalami teori dan sejarah film secara otodidak setelah lulus dari studi arsitektur. Ia mulai menulis artikel dan mengulas film sejak tahun 2006. Karena pengalamannya, penulis ditarik menjadi staf pengajar di Akademi Televisi dan Film swasta di Yogyakarta untuk mengajar Sejarah Film, Pengantar Seni Film, dan Teori Film sejak tahun 2003 hingga tahun 2019. Buku film debutnya adalah Memahami Film (2008) yang memilah seni film sebagai naratif dan sinematik. Buku edisi kedua Memahami Film terbit pada tahun 2018. Buku ini menjadi referensi favorit bagi para akademisi film dan komunikasi di seluruh Indonesia. Ia juga terlibat dalam penulisan Buku Kompilasi Buletin Film Montase Vol. 1-3 serta 30 Film Indonesia Terlaris 2012-2018. Ia juga menulis Buku Film Horor: Dari Caligari ke Hereditary (2023) serta Film Horor Indonesia: Bangkit Dari Kubur (2023). Hingga kini, ia masih menulis ulasan film-film terbaru di dan terlibat dalam semua produksi film di Komunitas Film Montase. Film- film pendek arahannya banyak mendapat apresiasi tinggi di banyak festival, baik lokal maupun internasional. Baru lalu, tulisannya masuk dalam shortlist (15 besar) Kritik Film Terbaik dalam Festival Film Indonesia 2022. Sejak tahun 2022 hingga kini, ia juga menjadi pengajar praktisi untuk Mata Kuliah Kritik Film dan Teori Film di Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta dalam Program Praktisi Mandiri.


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