‘Monkey Man’s Gritty Trailer Proves Dev Patel Isn’t Messing Around

Thứ tư - 24/04/2024 21:58
Dev Patel’s directorial debut is a tale of violent retribution
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For many, action movies are a familiar, cosy cinematic treat that doesn’t ask for much in return for delivering fast, high-octane action and large, often explosive, set pieces. However, now and then something new appears that reminds you just how good cinematic action can be. A type of movie that demands not just your attention, but that you also respect the – often literal – blood, sweat, and tears that went into bringing the action set pieces to life.

The trailer for Monkey Man – the directorial debut from Oscar-nominated actor Dev Patel – promises to be that kind of action movie. Starring Patel himself as the protagonist, the trailer carries a visceral, kinetic kind of energy that was powerful enough to blow the mind of famed director/producer Jordan Peele (enough to make him insist the movie gets a cinematic release, rather than debuting on a streaming service).

There’s a lot more to digest from the trailer so we’re taking a closer look at the moments that prove Patel’s directorial debut isn’t messing around.

Revenge through blood. Redemption through justice

Monkey Man follows a bloody odyssey of revenge, redemption, and survival in the fictional city streets of Yatana. Kid, portrayed by Dev Patel, makes it through life working as a literal human punchbag in underground fight clubs. However, a chance encounter with the powerful, corrupt syndicate responsible for his mother’s death sets Kid on a bloody path of retribution that sees him transform from a scrappy underdog to a (still scrappy) folk hero.

Dev Patel largely based Kid’s journey on the Hindu deity Hanuman, a divine white monkey that’s the embodiment of strength, courage, wisdom, and in some depictions, freedom.

“It’s taking one of the oldest Indian mythologies and giving it a modern spin, so hopefully it’ll internationalize this story and create a brand-new superhero epic, something wholly original. It vibrates with energy and soul and heart, and insane action.” – Dev Patel

This symbolism of Hanuman can be seen throughout the trailer with Kid donning a brown monkey mask as part of his cage-fighting persona, and later in the trailer, a white monkey mask as he enacts vengeance on the syndicate.

Blessings from mother

Dev Patel is no stranger to action, given his black belt in Chang Hon-style taekwondo. So it’s easy to see how the action scenes throughout Monkey Man’s trailer look so dynamic. Dev’s vision isn’t one of perfectly choreographed, picture-perfect fight scenes, à la Enter the Dragon, but instead, he strives for imperfection.

Kid is this scrappy fighter who rushes headfirst into a fight and adapts as he goes, making use of his environment. In one scene, Kid uses a shard of glass from a broken aquarium to gauge out an eye; in another, he wields a toothpick between his knuckles and uses a firework as an improvised projectile against an unlucky henchman.

It’s a great blend of chaos and control that perfectly encapsulates the primal ‘legend of the white monkey’ folklore Kid represents. He’s not supposed to be a typical action movie hero with a cool one-liner at the ready or a perfectly planned exit strategy – the latter being evident in Kid’s attempt to escape danger by following an old action movie cliché, jumping out of a window, only to end up slamming against the glass rather than going through it.

“I wanted to make an anthem for the underdogs. A hero who doesn’t have all the tools, can’t provide the perfect quip at every moment—the guy who tries and fails, and tries again—only to fail once more. A young man accustomed to being underestimated, with equal amounts of pain as rage, grappling with real trauma… that is until he finds other outsiders, underdogs, like himself, to help build him up and give him the courage to fight for what is good and true.” – Dev Patel

Towards the end of the trailer is an impressively shot fight scene in a restaurant kitchen, where everything from cutlery to pots, pans, and appliances are used as weapons. Perhaps even more impressive, though, is the fact that Dev shot and performed stunts for that scene with a broken hand, having injured himself while filming on the second day of shooting. Rather than halt production, the choreography was tweaked to adapt to Dev’s temporary handicap, further underlining the chaotic and frantic style of action featured throughout Monkey Man.

Monkey Man is already turning heads

Monkey Man almost had a very different destiny as it was originally scheduled for a Netflix exclusive release. This changed when filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us, Nope) and his Monkeypaw Productions studio got to see an early screening of the film.

Peele, so impressed by Patel’s cinematic vision and his dogged determination to get the film made, presented Monkey Man to Universal Pictures who agreed to give it a theatrical release under Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions banner.

“We instantly fell in love with the story and were inspired to help move the film forward. We brought it over to Universal, through the post-production process, to the finish line.” – Ian Cooper, Producer at Monkeypaw Productions.

Monkey Man premiered in March at South by Southwest to a standing ovation and critical acclaim, winning the 2024 Audience Award out of the festival. Dev Patel’s breakout directorial debut looks set to cement him as one to watch in the action genre as he showcases his incredible range both in front of and behind the camera. His vision of gritty, grim action supplanted with rich cultural influences might just make Monkey Man this year’s must-see action movie.

Find out more about Monkey Man by checking out the YouTube channel for previews and cast/crew interviews, or visit the website to book your tickets here. Watch it in cinemas from April 5th.

 Tags: Hà Nội, Movies

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