Dev Patel is building a bridge between American and Indian action movies with his first film as a director, MONKEY MAN. The action choreography seen in the first trailer is clearly linked to movies like the JOHN WICK series. The title, however, is a nod to Hanuman, the Hindu monkey deity and companion of Rama — and the movie itself nods to classic Indian action movies.
While originally slated for a streaming release, director/producer Jordan Peele helped get MONKEY MAN a spot on Universal's theatrical calendar. Now Dev Patel's movie is set for an April debut. Check out the MONKEY MAN trailer below and we'll explain a lot more about the movie.
When Is the Monkey Man Release Date?
Universal Pictures will release MONKEY MAN in theatres on April 5, 2024.
Watch the First Monkey Man Trailer
While there had been some word about the development of this movie, no one really knew anything about it until Jordan Peele tweeted out the trailer. The facts that this trailer is hard-hitting, clearly representative of a movie made with passion, and a demonstration of Dev Patel's action and filmmaking chops all turned it into a must-see.
What's the Plot of Monkey Man?
Patel's character is a young man who barely scrapes by while working as a human punching bag in a monkey mask at an underground fight club. There, he's regularly beaten down by other fighters. But Patel's character may have more going on than appears to be the case, and soon he is blazing a violent path through the night on a quest for vengeance. His targets are the compromised and corrupt officials who victimize the poor, and who killed his mother.
MONKEY MAN takes place in Mumbai, India, and that's where the movie was filmed as well.
Dev Patel Honors a Classic Indian Actor's Action Trajectory
While MONKEY MAN is being released by an American studio and has some very modern American action movie leanings, it also connects to Mumbai's rich Bollywood history, and specifically to the career of a specific star. That would be Amitabh Bachchan, who began his film career in 1969 and continues to act; he has made more than 200 movies.
In more than 20 films, beginning with ZANJEER in 1973, Bachchan played a character called Vijay. Bachchan's alter-ego isn't the same character in every movie, but Vijay is often an angry, vengeful person who retaliates against evil and/or injustice. The overall character was defined specifically enough to coin a type in Bollywood cinema: the "angry young man."
That's hardly a unique character type in action cinema; it's basically the bedrock of the genre. But the story structure of MONKEY MAN, its Mumbai filming location and Bollywood cast helps suggest a connection.
Who's in the Cast of Monkey Man?
Writer/producer/director Dev Patel stars as "the Kid," whose life working in an underground fight club disguises his personal mission of revenge against the men who killed his mother. The cast member most recognizable to Western audiences is Sharlto Copley, (MALEFICENT, DISTRICT 9, "Russian Doll"), and there's a rich supporting cast drawn from Bollywood cinema and other regions of Indian movie production.
Sobhita Dhulipala, who made her film debut in 2016, plays her first Hollywood role in MONKEY MAN. The cast also features Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte, Sikandar Kher and Makarand Deshpande.
MONKEY MAN opens on April 5.
All images courtesy of Universal Pictures.