If you’ve wondered what Dev Patel has been up to since starring in The Green Knight back in 2021, the answer is cooking. Or rather, the man cooked several years ago and has faced a long road to finally releasing his directorial debut that he stars in and also co-wrote. Monkey Man was originally supposed to hit Netflix in a direct-to-streaming release. With all due respect to Netflix, count me among the probable many who are elated that it didn’t go down that way.
Jordan Peele saw the footage of what Patel had put together, said “NOPE” to Netflix, and took matters into his own hands to get Patel’s passion project over to Universal Studios for a wide theatrical release. You, reader, watch this trailer and tell me if that was the right decision.
I thought the Road House remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal had some badass action in it. This is a whole different ballgame. Patel doesn’t strike me as an action hero type, but my goodness, did he just absolutely send it and go balls-to-the-wall in this flick if the trailer is any indication.
Here’s more on the Jordan Peele side of this story and how Monkey Man secured an April 5 release date in theaters.
Another fact you can glean from the Wikipedia page of Monkey Man is that the fight choreographer, Brahim Chab, has worked with the likes of Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen, just to name a couple of legends. Again, you wouldn’t put Dev Patel in a class with Chan or Yen, and yet…damn does Patel look incredible in these elaborate fight sequences.
If something this seemingly spicy has sat in a holding pattern and will come out more than three years after it was fully finished filming, I don’t understand what some of these movie executives are looking at. This is the sort of pulse-pounding, pulpy, propulsive story that gets butts in seats.
Good on Patel for knowing he had this in him, betting on himself in such an against-type role, and apparently knocking it out of the park. Who would’ve thought the Slumdog Millionaire breakout star had something like Monkey Man to present to the world?
The trailer itself is over three minutes long. If they can pull that much footage and still not give away everything, it must be pretty damn good.
There’s sort of a meta joke about how Patel isn’t the action hero prototype when he tries to jump through a window and escape some bad guys, only to get knocked back onto the floor. However, he has plenty of awesome moments, including toward the end when he slams a dude’s face onto a stove top and lights him on fire. SHEESH.
You gotta love the costume designs, the exotic locales, and the overall tone of what Monkey Man looks to be. It’s like a modern myth of sorts that’s still super grounded and stylized without being over-the-top.
I’m all-in on Monkey Man. A preemptive round of applause for Mr. Patel.