"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Road House

ROAD HOUSE is one of the canonical works of… I don’t even want to say action cinema, or badass cinema, I just want to say cinema. When I first wrote about it 15 years ago I was in awe of its unique mix of raucous bar brawls, quotable lines and heightened badassness. I mean, you’d just have to be such a chump not to get something out of a well-made movie about the world’s second best bar security expert (Patrick Swayze shortly after STEEL DAWN) being called into Jasper, Kansas to straighten out “the kind of place that they sweep up the eyeballs after closing,” along the way falling in love, ripping out a guy’s throat and freeing the town from the corrupt grip of rich bully Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara, BUFFALO ’66), who within one scene is revealed as a domestic abuser, shuts off his victim’s aerobics music because it “has no heart,” and boasts “JC Penney is coming here because of me!” It’s a glorious elevated drive-in classic forged from the undiluted sincerity of Swayze, the rioutous fight choreography of Benny “The Jet” Urquidez (BLOODMATCH, THE BIG HIT, WAR INC.), and the savage entertainment instincts of producer Joel Silver (COMMANDO, LETHAL WEAPON, PREDATOR, ACTION JACKSON, DIE HARD, THE MATRIX). It may top even RICOCHET as the most Joel Silver movie ever made.

But today I must atone for not really getting it in 2004, when I made the rookie error of calling all the funny lines “bad dialogue,” as if such a movie could be made by accident. In fact it’s a miracle of tonal focus – it just happens to be the kind of tone that includes a protection racket enforced by a monster truck that will drive through your business, and a villain who brags “I used to fuck guys like you in prison.” I guess the real miracle is that a movie like this could be made with the studio backing and budget to allow them to build a farm house for Swayze’s character Dalton to live in with a genuine sight line from the bedroom window to Wesley’s mansion across the river.

I love this world of bar workers who hear legends of Dalton’s throat ripping and ball size from across the country. And when they’re introduced to his even better mentor Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott, THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT) they say “Holy shit!” like they’re meeting Bruce Springsteen or somebody. But also Dalton is old friends with the house band (The Jeff Healey Band), referencing war stories of “that toilet in Dayton,” like they’ve been around the block 72 times and run into each other on at least a dozen of those.

But when Dalton first shows up some of the staff are skeptical. He just walks in and stands at the bar – eventually orders coffee – and most don’t know who he is. He sees which bouncers don’t give a shit and which are being left hanging. He watches a problem grow into a bar-wide riot, does not intervene, just tilts his head enough to dodge thrown bottles. When it’s burnt itself out the owner,Tilghman (Kevin Tighe, TODAY YOU DIE), signals him from his window. Dalton steps casually over the bodies and broken furniture to the upstairs office, and you expect the boss to say, “So, whattaya think?”

At the staff meeting the next day, Dalton’s first words after being introduced are to fire Morgan (pro wrestling legend Terry Funk, PARADISE ALLEY, OVER THE TOP). He and bartender Pat (singer John Doe, THE RAGE: CARRIE 2) are such convincing assholes, who will clearly be a pain in the ass to get rid of, but Dalton doesn’t hesitate.

Next he gives his famous “be nice” employee orientation speech, a philosophy that seems ridiculous even to sympathetic bouncers Hank (Kurt James Stefka, “Bouncer,” THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE) and Jack (Travis McKenna, CHEERLEADER CAMP, the clown in BATMAN RETURNS) until they see him demonstrate it. They’re struggling to follow his directions until he steps in to personally twist the wrist of a knife-wielder and smash his head into a table. People all around the bar mutter their amazement and a band member even whispers to the blind singer Cody (Jeff Healey) about what happened so he can announce, “The name is Dalton.” From then on the staff is all on the same page. Dalton’s page.

But Dalton off the job is arguably even cooler than Dalton on the job. He does tai chi, reads Legends of the Fall, practices boxing and rope climbing, makes love to the doctor he fell for after being stabbed (Kelly Lynch, VIRTUOSITY, usually just called “Doc”). She says of the Double Deuce, “Nice place. They send alot of business my way,” but she likes him enough to come visit him at work.

Health care is a major concern: one of his demands for taking the job was to have his medical expenses paid. He carries his extensive medical history files in a manila folder, which leads to Doc doing a “just how injured is he” speech. But like any ’80s action hero he also stitches one of his wounds himself. And he puts others’ safety before his own. There are two different arson incidents, and in both he runs toward the burning building without hesitation.

The badass juxtaposition is all in his brains – he has a degree in philosophy from NYU. “Man’s search for faith. That sorta shit.” He philosophizes about asskicking, with thoughtful little realizations like “Nobody ever wins a fight,” but fortunately that’s not gonna stop him from entertaining us. (I think she wishes it stopped him from the famous throat ripping, which he does right in front of her, and which seems to be a major challenge for the relationship.)

Modes of transportation are significant. Dalton refuses to fly; Wesley is introduced coming home in his private helicopter, scaring Dalton’s landlord (“Sunshine” Parker, TREMORS)’s horses. Dalton hides away his Mercedes and drives an old Buick to work, knowing it will be vandalized; Wesley joyfully drunk-drives in his convertible singing along to “Sh-Boom” by The Crew Cuts. When shit gets real, Dalton does use the Mercedes – as a battering ram to smash into Wesley’s property and explode. Wesley also drives around on a four-wheeler, and his right hand man Jimmy (Marshall Teague, SPECIAL FORCES, THE ROCK) has a dirt bike.

Jimmy is a great secondary villain, the one who is an actual physical challenge. There’s a fight in the Double Deuce where he spins a pool stick, poses and gestures “come here” like it’s a Shaw Brothers movie. Then he uses the stick as a pole vault to flip onto the stage! Before Dalton can have his ultimate confrontation with Wesley he has to have a one-on-one with Jimmy on the river bank, an unusually long, raw and brutal fight for an American action movie. And that’s only one of, as director Rowdy Herrington seems fond of saying on the various extras for the Shout Factory Blu-Ray, “nine major fights.”

I think an important difference between Dalton and Wesley is that Dalton wants excellence, Wesley wants power. Dalton is a cold-hearted boss when it comes to firing people who are selling drugs in the bathroom or letting in under age girls and screwing them in the back room, but to everybody else he’s family. Wesley is literally related to Pat, and tries to use his money and intimidation to force Tilghman to give him his job back after he’s caught skimming the till. He torments his own employees by scaring them, forcing them to apologize, arbitrarily being forgiving to one just to make it more shocking when he has another beaten. In the climactic showdown with Dalton he sees his henchman Tinker (John William Young, HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE) injured, possibly dead, and laughs. Like he’s trying to show Dalton he has a good sense of humor about it. Being a good sport. This may be a contributing factor to Tinker (who survives) not ratting anybody out.

Funny thing about the town of Jasper, Kansas: this rich asshole is running the place, ripping everybody off, terrorizing people, beating up his girlfriend, sending his thugs, arsonists and monster trucks after those who don’t obey, murdering the famous best cooler in the world, and we don’t see a single cop until the very end of the movie when Wesley gets killed… at which point they pull up immediately, sirens blaring. And they know everybody there by name. These fucking cowards. Oh well. At least they get it. Nobody saw anything. Wink wink.

I like that it ends on an idyllic scene of Dalton and Doc swimming in the river, something no one had done previously in the movie. Clearly Wesley would’ve complained if people were having fun in front of his place. Would’ve been an eyesore. Now, ding dong the witch is dead.

ROAD HOUSE was the second film for director Herrington, working on a bigger budget than his indie debut JACK’S BACK (1988). Screenwriter David Lee Henry, a.k.a. R. Lance Hill, was a novelist whose book King of White Lady was almost made into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola and Monte Hellman in the ’70s. He’d written the screenplays for HARRY TRACY: THE LAST OF THE WILD BUNCH (1982) starring Bruce Dern, THE EVIL THAT MEN DO (1984) starring Charles Bronson and based on his novel, and 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE (1986) starring Jeff Bridges as Matthew Scudder. He’s credited alongside Hilary Henkin, who had recently worked on the Whoopi Goldberg action comedy FATAL BEAUTY (1987), which also co-starred Elliott. (I wonder if they brought her in after Elliott turned the movie down for being too similar to his character in MASK?)

Silver gave Herrington top of the line craftsman to work with. Editor Frank J. Urioste’s films include ROBOCOP, DIE HARD, TOTAL RECALL, CLIFFHANGER and TOMBSTONE. The score is by Michael Kamen (DIE HARD, FOR QUEEN & COUNTRY). The cinematographer is motherfuckin Dean Cundey (HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, THE THING, JURASSIC PARK). Along with Urquidez, credit for the outstanding mayhem goes to stunt coordinator/second unit director Charlie Picerni, whose record speaks for itself – he later did LETHAL WEAPON 23, DIE HARD 2, THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE, HUDSON HAWK, RICOCHET, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, TRUE ROMANCE, DEMOLITION MAN, MAXIMUM RISK, DOUBLE TEAM, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION and many more.

The number one song when ROAD HOUSE came out was Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.” You won’t be hearing anything like that in this movie. Though the white man blues rock soundtrack (“The Summer’s Hottest Soundtrack, Featuring all new music by a powerful line-up of artists” according to a sticker on the album) is not really my thing, it fits the movie well and it’s cool to see the undeniably talented Healey playing throughout, even doing a little non-professional-actor acting. I like that these real musicians are treated as members of the Double Deuce staff, always sitting or standing with the bouncers and bartenders at staff meetings and huddles. I also want to mention that Tito Larriva is performing at the club where Dalton works at the beginning, so this might take place in the FROM DUSK TILL DAWN universe. Somebody should’ve called in Dalton to straighten out the Titty Twister.

Herrington seems suitably proud of the movie in interviews and on his commentary track, though he says “obviously I didn’t write this” during the scene about the guy charging other guys to kiss his girlfriend’s breasts. He likes to discuss Dalton’s parallels to the archetype of the lone gunfighter who comes into a town and cleans up the place, saying, “They weren’t making actual westerns, period westerns, in the ’80s. So we made a contemporary one.” Tell that to YOUNG GUNS, but I get the point. Anyway, this is way better. Period westerns can be great, but what would they do, have a giant horse run over regular sized horses at the horse dealership? Come on.

One ROAD HOUSE mystery solved by the extras on that Blu-Ray is the one about why Keith David is in the movie but only has a couple insignificant lines. It turns out that the assembly cut was like 3 1/2 hours long, and one of the ways they shortened it was by removing an entire subplot about his character Ernie Bass. Apparently he brought a girlfriend into the Double Deuce to see the band and was harassed by racist rednecks, it turned into a big fight and Dalton befriended him and hired him as a bartender. Now my question is how long David got to fight. This is the year after THEY LIVE, so he was in shape for it.

It’s fitting that the last summer of ’80s action would birth one of the era’s most precious gems, a jewel that shines like the glint that Silver suggested compositing to make sure everybody notices the knife poking out of the guy’s boot. It embodies the period with its outrageous excess, smart-ass one-liners and unflappable, muscular, mulleted hero. But it does all of that with an off-kilter humor, swagger and aesthetic of its own. There’s a ROAD HOUSE 2, but there will only ever be one ROAD HOUSE.


Though just starring in ROAD HOUSE would’ve cemented Swayze as an action icon, he soon followed it with NEXT OF KIN (1989) and POINT BREAK (1991). Herrington went on to direct GLADIATOR (1992), STRIKING DISTANCE (1993), A MURDER OF CROWS (1998), THE STICKUP (2002), I WITNESS (2003) and BOBBY JONES: STROKE OF GENIUS (2004). Henry wrote one more movie, and it was motherfuckin OUT FOR JUSTICE (1991). Henkin wrote ROMEO IS BLEEDING (1993) and WAG THE DOG (1997).

ROAD HOUSE opened at #2 at the box office behind SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL (in its second week). It ended up making about twice its $15 million budget, so it was not a big hit. But it became a video staple, selling enough copies over the years that in 2006 MGM made a DTV sequel. Coming from the director of CRUEL INTENTIONS 3, ROAD HOUSE 2: LAST CALL stars Johnathon Schaech (also co-writer) as Dalton’s son, a D.E.A. agent, trying to run his uncle’s Louisiana club The Black Pelican and fight off a drug kingpin played by Richard Norton. I don’t remember much except being impressed by Schaech’s Swayzian sincerity. I might have to watch it again. But it seems like the sequel should’ve been about two years later and centered on Hank after Dalton leaves town.

In 2015, MGM announced plans for a remake starring UFC champ “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, to be written and directed by Nick Cassavetes (Dietrich from FACE/OFF, son of guy who directed Ben Gazzara a bunch, director of JOHN Q and THE NOTEBOOK). Filming was to take place after Rousey’s fight with Holly Holm, which ended up being her first ever defeat, losing her UFC title and throwing her into a depression, which may or may not have contributed to the eventual cancellation of the film.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019 at 1:27 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

67 Responses to “Road House”

  1. I look forward to really reading and digesting this but this is one movie I KNOW we can all agree on.

    The one movie I don’t think we would agree on is the sequel which sucks.

  2. The only thing we should be disagreeing with on this is whether or not this or COMMANDO is the greatest movie of all time?

  3. May I just say that the banner to this review series with the BATMAN opening credits background and font bring a smile to my face just like Gotham City did to The Joker. Such an appropriate 1989ness to it all. Pretty inspired.

    Ah ROAD HOUSE a.k.a. the one movie I watched the most on cable TV back in the late 80s besides FERRIS BUELLER. Like 2 years before this my neighbors teenage daughter used to babysit me. She would play the DIRTY DANCING vynil and watch the movie on a loop. It made me irritated just watching Swayze’s face. Then I saw him roundhouse kicking drunk rednecks in a bar and he became one of my heroes.

    Started tracking down everything with him in it at the video store after being initiated into the Church of Road House by our patron saint of shirtless badassery The honorable Dalton. Whenever some ingrate says “80s movies suck” I make sure to shove this one down their throat. They tend to come away repentant and seeking forgiveness for their sins. I still refuse to watch the sequel. This one will always remain sacred and untainted.

  4. Are the new reviews showing up in a weird order only for me? FIST FIGHTER is still on top and this one here is underneath RED SCORPION.

  5. Same here but its been a few days since I visited the sight. Hadn’t seen that the summer review series even began yet. So I just assumed that was the proper posting order.

  6. I didn’t know Benny the Jet did the fights in Road House. No wonder they’re so good. You gotta review of Grosse Pointe Blank sometime!

    Man, that JC Penny line is such a treat. Every time I see it, I’m never quite prepared for Gazzara’s delivery.

  7. Personally I would have liked Elliott to be the lead, but I’m just as fond of this as the next man. As you might expect I’m a way bigger fan of Jeff Healey than Vern, and I think the main song ROADHOUSE BLUES deserves some background. Originally a song by The Doors (they couldn’t really play blues that good, so gitar legend Lonnie Mack was brought in to give them a hand), and even if it’s been covered a lot, Healey’s version’s still the best.

  8. Yeah, for me this is dated June 12th and comes even before the RED SCORPION prologue. Other reviews misdated and out of sequence too.

  9. And yeah, we can all agree on ROAD HOUSE.

    But please don’t knock DIRTY DANCING. Swayze brought the same full-on, A-game sincerity to that as he brought to ROAD HOUSE. And how many hit teen movies have we seen since that dealt reasonably, if indeed at all, with abortion?

  10. If I had to pick between this one and DIRTY DANCING it’d be a real SOPHIE’S CHOICE situation. They both spoke to my 13/15 year old soul on a profound level.

  11. You can’t have one without the other. DIRTY DANCING is the ROAD HOUSE of chick flicks, and ROAD HOUSE is the DIRTY DANCING of dude movies. They are as perfectly balanced in their opposition as a taijitu. Between them some kind of center can be found. Such is the Tao of Swayze.

  12. Think about this for a second. Swayze started in two of the best “chick flicks” of all time and two of the best “man flicks” of all time. The man is a legend. I wish he was still around because you just know he would be one of John Wick’s buddies that helps him.

  13. Okay, I have seen this movie, but not until it was on video. So I’ll still have to support my theory that I did not go to a movie theater in 1989, unless you can present some evidence of a movie which I totally saw in theaters.

  14. Whoa there guys don’t get it twisted it’s not a current knock on DIRTY DANCING. Just an anecdote of my late 80s reality. I think sometimes people do forget how huge that movie was back then. Especially with teenage girls. My sitter was 14 at the time. She watched that movie and that movie only. Around this same time my 11 year old cousin also watched the same movies. But at least it was more than one. It was 3 and at leasr they were ROBOCOP, COMMANDO & PREDATOR.

    I was 4 going on 5 and so it pissed me off to see her hijack the TV like that and made the movie pretty annoying to even look at. Not to mention I can go the rest of my life without ever hearing I’ve Had the Time of My Life ever again.

    With that said I did watch it again as an adult and appreciated the filmatism. Like the fact that Swayze and Grey completely loathed each other in real life but had such dynamic chemistry was mind blowing. That is not just consumate professionalism from the actors but exceptional form from the director.

    Funny thing is I just got home from the gym. Ate a homemade burger to recover and put on a pot of coffee. I sit down to see what’s on tonight and in exactly 1 minute there is a Swayze movie on tonight. Of course it’s the one where he wins Baby over. I’ll take it as a sign that I should watch that with my freshly rolled blunt and cup of coffee here. Since the last time I did watch DIRTY DANCING was like 12 yrs ago with an ex. The universe works funny that way.

  15. 1989 was actually the year when I was finally taken to the movie theaters after years of just cable TV and rentals as my movie exposure. The first 2 flicks I ever saw on the big screen? THE FLY II & KICKBOXER but only one of those was an action joint and neither dropped during summer movie season.

  16. Ah shit, sometimes when I queue these up ahead of time the dates get screwy when I post them. Thanks for letting me know. Should be fixed now.

  17. Forget the “Snyder Cut,” let’s start the petition for “Road House: Keith David Cut” ASAP!

  18. Rewatched this tonight for the first time in like 19 years. I really like the tension between the sincerity and the ridiculousness and how it’s bridged by the friendship between Dalton and Wade. (And how a climax of ridiculousness is followed by a denoument of sincerity, with the sincere guy and the sincere girl sharing a sincere kiss and the bar band covering a Bob Dylan song.)

  19. Swayze is the real deal, man. He just exudes something that comes right through the screen and *makes* you respect him. He’s like a guy who could absolutely kick your ass but you just know that the asskicking won’t hurt as much as how disappointed in you he is.

  20. Sternshein, and Point Break was the ultimate for both! So he really had a trifecta.

    Dirty Dancing was the Step Up Of its time. They even included the signature move in Step Up: All In.

  21. Anyone besides me love DIRTY DANCING HAVANA NIGHTS? Swayze even has a small role in it.

  22. It’s more that the DIRTY DANCING crowd doesn’t like ROAD HOUSE than the other way around. And I suspect that that is because – and mind you this is just from the few women I know – they saw DD as the odd one out in his career. Some of them seriously disliked him after RED DAWN and YOUNGBLOOD and some right out hated him after NORTH AND SOUTH (a series that asks us to sympatize with the struggles of slave owners under the Civil War). And here comes this romantic, funny and exciting movie that pushes all the right buttons. The ROAD HOUSE people are far more generous I’ve experienced.

  23. Swayze’s other 1989 action movie NEXT OF KIN is also pretty great.

  24. I made some not-so-kind comments about Road House in the old review that I still stand behind; but just because I think it has some flaws doesn’t mean I don’t love the shit out of it. It’s got hard-hitting action, a great lead character and some surprisingly solid world-building. It’s got an “adult” tone but a kid’s sensibility that I think more movies should have. But I still wish they could come up with an ending more organic to the story they set up than a pared-down version of Commando.

    Felix – I remember thinking DD: Havana Nights wasn’t that bad until it seems they just ran out of money and threw in an abrupt ending out of nowhere. Also, the dancing is pretty lackluster, especially if you watch it right after the first one; it’s kinda like watching The Matrix and then immediately watching another Hollywood action movie that relies on stunt doubles and trick photography to cover up the lack of training the cast didn’t put in. However, I do like that Havana Nights inspired a discussion between two of my female friends about whether or not Swayze is playing a non-de-aged Johnny Castle before his adventures in Dirty Dancing 1, or just playing another random dude (He’s billed as “Dance Teacher”). It’s nice to see girls getting into debates just as nerdy as guys.

    And I’ve probably said this before but I’ll say it again as they’ve just announced a Hunger Games Prequel nobody wants – the only movie prequel I’ll get the fuck behind is a Wade Garrett Prequel. How we live in a world where they’re making a prequel series based off of whoever Diego Luna was in Rogue One (speaking of Havana Nights), but nobody’s made a prequel series about Wade Garrett and his early adventures with a Young Dalton is beyond me.

  25. So fun to be invited to think about this movie again.

    I wish I knew what to call the trope where Wade Garrett = Bruce Springsteen. I feel like the John Wick ritualization of personas is a direct descendant of this. And it’s part of the larger trope of rabid fictional subcultures in movies. Like, where there is a crowd of people that follow this scene that has its own world in the movie, but which doesn’t seem like it could possibly be as intense in real life (how many people are even within driving distance of Jasper, Kansas?). COCKTAIL comes to mind as another example of people being way too excited about a “scene” as if it has enough depth to have a rabid audience. And, of course the FAST AND FURIOUS universe has spun this into just consuming everything in the whole world so that it’s gaining coherency even as it loses, say, physics. Just bringing this up because ROADHOUSE’s Wade Garrett might be the first time I started seeing this as a thing. Which, to be clear, I think is great.

  26. It seems like that was something that happened in westerns a lot. Like the intro of Sundance in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. The gunslinger comes to town and his reputation has proceeded him.

  27. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 18th, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Road House is the ultimate cures-any-bad-mood movie. 5 minutes into putting it on and I’m completely relieved of all my troubles. It’s also good for all your other types of moods, obviously.

    The fact that everywhere Dalton goes people are going “holy shit… it’s Dalton, the best cooler in the biz!” is such a superb bit of worldbuilding – the Daltonverse is easily as rich in lore and evocative as the John Wick films

    Interestingly it also depicts one of the few chinks in Sam Elliott’s badass armor – his fight moves as Wade Garrett are so awful, he looks so insanely uncoordinated, that you have to doubt whether he could even beat Ben Gazzara in a fight. His hair is incredible though, easily goes toe to toe with Kurt Russell’s hair in The Thing.

  28. Hey, guys. Just a reminder that, in addition to his many other accomplishments, our man Sway-Z also starred in the single greatest commercial ever filmed.

  29. Has anybody seen Skatetown USA? I’m waiting for see it with an audience but it’s an early 1980s film where Swayze plays the villian in a movie about a roller rink. They have a roller skating dance off and everything.

  30. Ok, so I am forty minutes into my first proper viewing of ROADHOUSE (from the beginning, with sound) and it feels like a transmission from an alternate dimension. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas so everything feels so heightened and so exaggerated that it’s almost silly.


    It’s an impressive feat of world-building when you can have Dalton as this legendary character but also include plausible folksy guys like Red or Emmet (I even remembered their names!) in the mix as well. I’m bummed that there was so much going on in ’89 that I missed this, but it’s cool that I can appreciate now without having any kind of nostalgic attachment to it. That doesn’t happen to me a lot.

    I should prolly also add that I messed up my back pretty bad yesterday and I’m drinking pretty early in the day. BUT I’m still on beer one.

  31. “The ones who go looking for trouble are not much of a problem to someone who’s ready for them. I suspect it’s always been that way.”

    Goddamn if that isn’t some badass homespun wisdom right there. Ironically, I’ve always loved the “Pain don’t hurt.” line but I was so much pain yesterday I couldn’t do my stupid desk job.

    “Somebody’s gotta pay somebody to do it.” I love this crazy world. And also how much Dalton smokes. Keep in shape, but don’t forget your Marlboros!

  32. “This isn’t working, Dalton.”

    Sorry for live-tweeting this or whatever, but this movie feels like it came from a place where the language of cinema evolved completely differently. I’m not saying it’s bad at all, but it’s a mutant. A good one, tho, like Cyclops or Wolverine (Swayze would’ve been a good Logan?). It’s just crazy to me that this little movie is going so far out of it’s way to build a world that doesn’t exist. It’s actually really impressive, but it’s just blowing my mind right now (beer #2).

  33. Heh, “I never lose!” is pretty much the cinematic version of “I’m the best at what I do, etc.”, so I guess I wasn’t too far off. Kamen’s score for the big lakeside fight is mos def a precursor to the music in the McClane/Karl fight in DIE HARD (“I’m gonna kill you, I’m gonna cook you, and I’m gonna fuckin’ eat you!”). (beer #3)

  34. “A polar bear fell on me.”

    Yeah, this feels like an action movie from Earth-2 (if you don’t mind me switching from Marvel to DC), where up is down and bad is good. But I forgot what happened to Elliott, so yah, kill ’em all. Yeezy crow, tho, I don’t know what to make of the ethics of that ending. Everyone says “I didn’t see anything.”, the bad guy is dead, so Yay? Ok. I’m gonna have one more and lay down. My back hurts. Sorry for multi-posting or whatever.

  35. Ok, maybe that last bit was a tad hyperbolic. The drink will do that to me.

  36. The paramount network just did a 2 hour documentary on Swayze titled I AM PATRICK SWAYZE that I just watched and thought it was really good, if anyone is interested.

  37. Jerome: I think the ethics of the ending are just fine. Probly inspired by the story of Ken McElroy.

    Saw ROAD HOUSE for the first time ever not too long ago. Liked it a lot. The bizarre heightened reality of it reminded me of the Mad Max films.

  38. Chief henchman Jimmy: Prepare to die!
    Legendary bouncer Dalton: You are *such* an asshole!

    I know a lot of the dialogue in this movie has become a meme, but I absolutely love how that short exchange manages to be both unbelievably arch and almost juvenile in its unpretentiousness. Brava, good sirs.

  39. In the Battle of Most Homoerotic Exchange Ever before or in the midst of a brutal fight to the death which can easily be scored to sexy sax music, who wins?

    Matrix: you want to put the knife in me, and look me in the eye, and see what’s going on in there when you turn it, that’s what you want to do, right?

    Bennet (Orgasm Face): I’m Gonna Kill You, Joooooohn!!!!


    Jimmy (with Dalton in a headlock): I used to fuck guys like you in prison!

  40. I looooove Road House and quote it all the time, especially around pain. I also do that sweet little salute Dalton does when he waves to people… except I look like a tool because I’m not a wild and Swayze guy.

    That said and sacrilege aside, if they remade this currently with the fantasy of unlimited casting budget, then for the love of God cast Keanu as Wade Garrett! As for the rest… I dunno, Cavill for Dalton? Then Jared Harris as Brad Wesley, Lily James for Doc, Daddario as Denise, Kelsey Gramme as Red West and motherfucking Scott Adkins as Jimmy.

    A remake cast along these lines might become my regular Saturday night thing.

  41. Sooooooo…Road House is getting a remake. With Jake Gyllenhal. And Connor McGregor. On Amazon. Not sure how to feel about this. Trailer’s on Polygon & YouTube.

  42. I actually forgot about it and totally didn’t know that Doug Liman was directing it. Doesn’t look too bad, to be honest.

  43. Looks fun enough, and like it’s different enough from the original that I can imagine it’s really titled “The Bouncer” and is releasing in January like God intended–but man, is it not a little worrying that streaming is turning cinema into an upscale version of those DTV Blockbuster ‘sequels’ to popular movies? All they need is Kelly Lynch to show up to say “You remind me of someone I used to know… have you ever thought about taking up shirtless yoga?”

    I digress; I’m glad all of these people are getting a paycheck to think of fun new ways to shoot faces getting destroyed.

  44. Speaking of January releases I always liked Red Letter Media, which every year would do a segment called “Fuck You it’s January” where they would just list all the uninspiring, thrown away titles that were coming out that month.

  45. Eh…I love the original and feel it didn’t need a re-do but am not about to crucify this attempt as a Crime against Humanity.
    Some great fight scenes is what I think will be this one’s biggest strength but it will neatly side step much of the goofy charm of the original, which piled on the violence with liberal doses of sex and over the top macho dialogue. Don’t expect a rooftop sex scene, an impromptu striptease or a legendary line like Sam Elliot’s to Kelly Lynch walking away “That gal’s got way too much brains to have an ass like that” (doubly legendary when delivered in Elliott’s trademark gravelly baritone).
    Violence aside this will be a sanitized, tick-all-the-right-boxes effort that’ll be an ok one time watch and then get buried along with 250 others of it’s type on streaming (the ones that usually star Kevin Hart, The Rock, Jennifer Lopez or Gal Gadot).
    It’ll be too generic to be a cult hit and too inoffensive to be meme worthy.

  46. The original will always be untoppable. I suspect this remake will be better than the POINT BREAK and RED DAWN ones.

  47. Big Gyllenhaal fan, and this looks like a lot of fun to me. I particularly love his willingness to “slum” it here. Looks like he’s having a lot of fun with this, and I imagine I will be, too. Bummer, though, because this is one I think I’d go out and watch in the theatre. Of course, the bastards at Amazon stiil have a slight edge over the bastards at Netflix, because I’m betting Amazon will let me purchase a digital copy of this and may even give it a physical release, though not holding my breath. Also, good on Doug Liman for being at least a bit of a fly in the ointment here, when I think the easier thing would be to just go along and not rock the boat with the Amazon/MGM gravy train. Moxie!

  48. Like every film maker who’s poured blood, sweat and tears into crafting a movie, Liman is well within his rights to be pissed this isn’t getting a theatrical release.

    But the facts: OG ROAD HOUSE was a decent hit, grossing 61mil against a 15mil budget, but that still situates it outside the blockbuster sandbox. And in the 35 years since, it’s popular because of having gained a cult following among action aficionados thanks to video rentals and frequent reruns on TV, providing rich material for stand up comics and a recurring Peter Griffin joke on Family Guy where he kicks anything and yells “ROAD HOUSE!”. It’s had ONE sequel, that didn’t even have Dalton and was likely only seen and appreciated by critics like Vern and Action Lovers here. And that came out 17 years ago.

    The remake scores a double whammy by getting the director of THE BOURNE IDENTITY & MR & MRS SMITH and the star of DONNIE DARKO (which co-starred…Swayze! Hey!!) but it’s a stretch to think that’s going to bring audiences to theatres in droves for a property and character that’s largely sparking off of some deep nostalgia that’s only relevant to audiences of a certain age. Hell, by today’s standards, that plot: Ex-UFC fighter takes a job as a bouncer in a rowdy bar and proceeds to clean it up with some well timed kicks to the face is practically Scott Adkins/Isaac Florentine turf. It would go on streaming and we’d love the fuck out of it.

    Remember, Disney poured 200mil into an Indiana Jones movie thinking it’s as well situated and placed in the public consciousness as STAR WARS.

  49. You might be right. However, I think it’s more of a convenient Gyllenhaal vehicle and fun premise with some extra vague nostaglia / cultural familiarity cache to goose it a little bit, rather than trying to milk blockbuster dollars out of the storied ROADHOUSE franchise, as though the original was the original JURASSIC PARK trilogy or something. So, I’m not sure the analogy to INDIANA JONES works. I think it’s more analogous to the remakes of PIRANHA, CRAZIES, THE MECHANIC, FRIGHT NIGHT, maybe DEATH WISH. The other thing is that, although I don’t really understand streaming economics in general to begin with (and I’m sure Amazon’s are different from Netflix’s), there are studios that have made the day-and-date thing work. Isn’t there a possible world where this clears $25-30M in 3 weeks (with minimal add campaign, just heavy push by the Amazon site), then goes to Prime?

  50. Good points, Skani. I too think they could have found a sweet spot between a limited theatrical release before streaming it.

    Bezos gotta be an Asshole I guess…

  51. Kinda makes you feel bad for Doug Liman. That might be his first movie since GO! that wasn’t in the news for exploding costs and lengthy reshoots and then it basically gets dumped straight to video.

  52. Yes, I always felt bad how Paul Greengrass’s sequels kind of obscured the fact that Liman did BOURNE 1, which very much had the stink of overbudgeted probable flop — until it didn’t. I know BOURNE is sus among ACR purists, but I like those films in general and especially part 1 (some really great performances in that). You are seen, Doug Liman, lol.

  53. It’s even worse because the action in the first BOURNE is actually quite good! But Greengrass is now so connected with the series, way too many people think part 1 looks as unwatchable as the sequels.

  54. To be fair..Bourne 1 had some shaky cam too. The difference being Liman Salt Bae-ed it like fine seasoning across the action.

    Greengrass laid it on with a king sized fertilizer shovel.

  55. It looks like it might be okay, but – all talk of separating the artist and the art etc – I don’t know how happy I am to see a nasty piece of work like McGregor having such a prominent role, even if he is ACTUALLY PLAYING a nasty piece of work.

  56. Jam – I said something similar to Vern on Twitter. He pointed out that it’s on a streaming service he has already paid for so we wouldn’t be supporting it with out wallets. I might still check it out, but man I was Liman had hired someone else.

  57. Emteem – absolutely. I’d prefer everything in this vein (budget, genre, director etc) got a cinema release so I could make up my own mind (I don’t have Amazon prime; saw THE KILLER in the brief window Netflix put aside for it and would love to have seen the same courtesy shown to this), but McG’s appearance makes the option to avoid it easier. Unless he gets his throat torn out. OR he gets his throat ripped out and then his DICK ripped off and then Road House sticks it in his neck hole and says “No, now it’s your time to eat a dick!” (this will be a reference to earlier in the film where macgregor very rudely told Road House to eat a dick) and then Road House will walk away and kiss the girl and in the background a cat will take a shit on macgregor’s eye or something.

  58. But I agree, I wish he wasn’t in it.

  59. See, an ignoramus like myself who prides himself on consuming martial arts/fight flicks by the hundreds is also pretty clueless about the UFC and real fighters. Was always under the impression McGregor was like the Vinnie Jones of fighters, a douchebag in the arena who plays it up off ring but was otherwise ok. Then I Googled…and saw Sexual Assault allegations…and …yeeesh…this meat got rancid fast!

    So yeah, like Jam said, hope the character gets a nasty end.

  60. Oh yeah, in case I wasn’t clear Vern agreed with me on Twitter that McGregor shouldn’t be in it in case I made it sound like he didn’t care.

    Also, Jam, you need to write a movie script. You’ve already nailed the ending and everyone says that’s the hardest part.

  61. Emteem – Strangely enough, I *did* actually write a movie where a dude gets his throat ripped out, but hardly anyone saw it! Possibly if I had insisted on a dick getting ripped off too, things might have been different! Alas! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECmlAkQy-DA

  62. The Undefeated Gaul

    March 22nd, 2024 at 5:56 am

    Anyone seen the Gyllenhaal ROAD HOUSE yet? I thought it was extremely disappointing. It’s a boring film with almost no narrative drive, very little action overall and the worst performances you’ve ever seen from a lot of the actors involved. Gyllenhaal has fun moments, but the character is so fucking weird and unlikeable most of the time it’s hard to root for him. This has none of the charm or qualities of the original, as expected, but also doesn’t even deliver as the fun little generic action film promised by the (admittedly very good) trailer. KayKay was totally on point with his projections a few posts up.

    As for McGregor, I know his involvement is divisive, but I would argue he is the only reason to even watch this. His acting is terrible but he’s the only guy here that’s obviously having a blast, and his big fight with Gyllenhaal at the end is the only one in the film that’s even worth mentioning.

    So yeah, bit strange that Doug Liman felt this was one of his best films and it deserves a theatrical release. It very clearly does not.

  63. I thought it was awful for basically the reasons you have mentioned. McGregor being the single, hilarious bright spot. Boring, very infrequent and terribly shot action, little ‘cooling’, unconvincing romance with no chemistry, a wasted Billy Magnusson who is normally excellent supporting player value. Such a crushing disappointment that I had to immediately watch the original to put me back in high spirits. Such a shame as the trailer is certainly great.

  64. grimgrinningchris

    March 22nd, 2024 at 6:40 pm

    Who else has refreshed the page like 30 times today waiting for Vern’s take on the new one?

  65. Ha, it’s in progress. Hopefully ready to post on Monday. I will say that I don’t at all agree with the comments above.

  66. Yeah, just caught it…and hmmm..best I post my 2 cents on the actual ROAD TO GYLLENHAAL’s HOUSE thread.

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