Remember how the first “John Wick” came out of nowhere and smacked us right up the sides of our collective heads with its incredible fight scenes and fascinating world-building? While it remains to be seen if “Monkey Man” can deliver the latter, its apparent themes about class warfare and misogyny certainly hint at a film that’s got something going on under the hood. At the very least, the trailer promises some pretty spectacular hand-to-hand combat, with Patel evoking Keanu Reeves at his badass stoic best as Kid. There’s even some welcome self-aware comedy here when Patel hilariously fails to pull off the classic jump-through-a-glass-panel maneuver. Not to mention, in another welcome “John Wick” parallel, “Monkey Man” draws inspiration from ancient myth (specifically, “the legend of Hanuman, an icon embodying strength and courage,” per the film’s synopsis).
The pedigree of behind-the-scenes talent on “Monkey Man” is also impressive, with Jordan Peele and “John Wick” alum Basil Iwanyk producing alongside Patel (himself drawing from a script he wrote with Paul Angunawela and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” scribe John Collee). Sharlto Copley joins Patel on the opposite side of the camera as a member of the cast, as does Sobhita Dhulipala, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunt, Sikandar Kher, and Makarand Deshpande.
Also, fun fact: According to The Hollywood Reporter, it was Peele who brought “Monkey Man” to Universal after being blown away by an early screening and feeling it deserved a true theatrical release. Some real king sh*t there.
“Monkey Man” opens in theaters on April 5, 2024.