Monkey Gang: The Mockumentary Movie Review by Jay Fingers
March 6, 2012
Monkey Gang: The Mockumentary
Director: Montaigne P. “Logic” Massac
Starring: MC Mighty Casey, Montaigne P. “Logic” Massac, Deitrich Davis, Caktuz, Mada
Running Time: 80 minutes
Hip-hop takes a beating in Monkey Gang: The Mockumentary, the hilarious and cheerfully vulgar new satire from rapper-actor-producer Mighty Casey. Winner of the Audience Award at the Queens World Film Festival, Monkey Gang takes aim at the buffoonery and negativity plaguing today’s rap music scene and pulls no punches as it lampoons nearly everything—and everyone—in hip-hop today.
Inspired by other films in the music mockumentary subgenre, namely This is Spinal Tap, Hollywood Shuffle, and Fear of a Black Hat, Monkey Gang tells the all-too-familiar tale of a close knit crew that begins to disintegrate once its members experience a taste of success. Casey portrays Murdah Homasyde, the leader of the hip-hop collective known as Monkey Gang, which also includes Bullet, DJ Goony Goo Goo, Small Steezy, and their record exec manager Kissin’ Cuzo. The group begins to see their popularity skyrocket due to the success of their hit single “I Sell More Crack Than You,” a song that owes its insanely catchy hook to hype man Bullet.
Monkey Gang starts to see unprecedented amounts of money and enjoy the spoils of success, including plutonium chains. (Because platinum is so passé.) During a televised rap battle, Bullet growls at an opposing MC, “I sell more crack than you.” This infuriates Murdah, who, believing Bullet is stealing his signature lyric, starts an all-out brawl on-camera. The result: Monkey Gang vs. Monkey Gang.
From there, the film documents each crew members’ downward spiral, all the while making fun of rap music’s most notable names and situations. Everyone from 50 Cent and Diddy to Lil Wayne and Rick Ross are targets, and the jokes come at a rapid fire pace, hitting more often than they miss. Be warned, the humor is not for the faint of heart. Boundaries are pushed, crossed, and ultimately erased throughout the course of the film’s 105 minute running time. There’s an outrageous and over-the-top sequence involving an infant, for example, that may prove off-putting to some viewers, but it serves a true purpose as it advances the plot in significant ways.
Acting is solid across the board. It could be argued that rappers portraying rappers isn’t really a stretch, but the enthusiasm the cast brings to the roles is undeniable. Casey is hilarious as Monkey Gang frontman Murdah Homasyde. Montaigne P. “Logic” Massac, who also serves as the film’s director, is also funny as the thuggish Bullet, but he also brings a bit of pathos to his performance as Bullet becomes visibly conflicted over the retaliatory actions he’s taking against his former friend. The standout, however, was Deitrich Davis as the loud, abrasive, unapologetically vulgar DJ Goony Goo Goo. (Get the name right.) There’s one sequence involving Goony Goo Goo, a box of chicken, and a toilet that had the entire theater in stitches during the screening.
Also impressive were the camerawork, editing, and special effects. Through the use of various forms of media, the film looks and plays like a believable documentary. Editing is sharp, with scenes moving between players and a malleable timeline without ever becoming confusing. SFX were low-key but effective—the gleaming plutonium chains and, in one character’s case, nail polish were brilliant touches.
Monkey Gang: The Mockumentary is an extremely entertaining film. It’s genuinely funny, with uproarious set pieces, memorable characters, and solid storytelling. It works as both broad comedy and intelligent satire, and if it finds the right audience, it has the makings of a true cult classic.
Check out The Monkey Gang performing “I Sell More Crack Than You”, the official video from the movie:
Stay tuned for more Red Carpet coverage from the Monkey Gang premiere at the Queensworld Film Festival.