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. (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Swayze’
May 1, 1998: BLACK DOG
On the same day that Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panther Party died, and Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke got married, BLACK DOG came out. (I wasn’t seeing it, I was seeing HE GOT GAME.)
BLACK DOG is a good old fashioned medium budget summer action movie, which is something that existed twenty years ago (we’ll also see THE NEGOTIATOR later in the summer). It’s an example of the mini-trend of action movies trying to appeal to country music fans (FIRE DOWN BELOW) with its soundtrack of songs about how half your check goes to the landlord and half to Uncle Sam, or how free it is to be “a road man,” with “those windshield wipers slappin out a tempo” when “each mile brings me closer to you.”
Patrick Swayze (STEEL DAWN) plays Jack Crews, a nice and upright Swayzian family man working hard at a warehouse to support his beloved wife Melanie (Brenda Strong, STARSHIP TROOPERS 1-2) and daughter Tracy (Erin Broderick, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP). He sees his responsibility to provide for his family as his highest calling, and makes time to cook “only the absolute best homemade” for dinner and to go to Tracy’s basketball game. But if somebody at work tells him to stay late for some bullshit when he’s supposed to pick the girl up from school he’ll say “If you need it, it’ll be done.” (read the rest of this shit…)
STEEL DAWN takes the post-apocalyptic world of George Miller, pumps up the samurai and western influences, adds a little martial arts, replaces the internal combustion engine with wind power, and invents the Patrick Swayze action vehicle. He’d already made a name for himself in ensembles – THE OUTSIDERS, UNCOMMON VALOR, RED DAWN – but this was released only three months after his breakout role in DIRTY DANCING. It didn’t catch on in the same way, and it doesn’t play on cable nearly as much. But this last time I watched it was a profound experience.
It opens with Swayze balancing on his head in the middle of a desert. That’s how he meditates. But then a bunch of shrieking, masked mutants climb out of the sand to attack him. He uses martial arts to fight them off, pulling a sword out of his bag when he gets too outnumbered.
He’s a nomad. In fact, he’s credited as Nomad. Heading for a tavern, he gets attacked by an old warrior who turns out to be Cord (John Fujioka, AMERICAN NINJA, AMERICAN SAMURAI, AMERICAN YAKUZA), an old war comrade just fucking with him. They catch up over drinks but suddenly a bunch of brutes led by a guy named Sho (Christopher Neame, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE, DRACULA A.D. 1972, SPECIES III) in a ridiculous hair metal wig attack them and kill Cord. (read the rest of this shit…)
Well, we saw it coming, but it’s still a huge bummer to know that Patrick Swayze is no longer with us. I don’t want to rehash what I’ve said before but I think most of you guys know how I feel about his work and feel similarly. He became kind of a pop culture joke because of movies like DIRTY DANCING, but I admired him because of how dedicated he was to his roles and how unafraid he was of being corny. I think most, many or all of us here consider ROAD HOUSE to be a classic and completely unique, to say nothing of POINT BREAK where he gives an equally great performance. In both cases I’m convinced that he made himself believe the philosophies he was spouting in character. He really was Dalton and he really was Bodhi. Incidentally he also did a great job as a screen fighter and even did skydiving stunts for POINT BREAK.
I also enjoyed him in UNCOMMON VALOR and BLACK DOG, I know a guy who loves NEXT OF KIN, and yeah, I’m gonna have to check out STEEL DAWN one of these days. And I have planned for years to revisit RED DAWN (almost made it part of my back to school series but I want to watch it as a double feature with ROCKY IV since that’s how I saw it in the ’80s). I don’t think he was mainly thought of as an action guy, and yet he had all those on his resume.
Another thing I always think of when I think of Swayze is that Saturday Night Live sketch where him and Chris Farley were auditioning for Chippendales. I can’t seem to find the original on Youtube or I’d embed it, but it was amazing how sincere and sweet he made his character in that thing. He did a similar trick in the not particularly good TO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, JULIE NEWMAR.
He also seemed to be a cool guy with a sense of humor about himself. He was even willing to play that self-help dude in DONNIE DARKO who turns out to have a “kiddie porn dungeon.” And he seemed to have a good head on his shoulders. As tragic as it is to die so young I’m glad he at least got a heads up so he could spend more time with his family and try to get things in order.
Please share your Swayze thoughts in the comments or click on his name in the tags below to see my reviews of a few of his movies.
I don’t remember this one, but it was in a book about action movies I’m reading (Action Speaks Louder by Erich Lichtenfeld) and sounded pretty good. It’s one of those “Vietnam vets go back to rescue POWs” movies, but according to the book it’s the first one. And the weirdest part is that it’s from Ted Kotcheff, director of FIRST BLOOD, and made two years before George P. Cosmatos’s RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. Maybe that’s why Kotcheff didn’t come back for part 2, he’d already done that movie.
Of course, the feel is pretty different from RAMBO. And there are three major differences in the type of story we’re dealing with here. Number one, it’s a team movie, it’s not focused on one dude. Number two, these are normal vets who have gone back to civilian life, they are not maniacs who have gone on a rampage and must get a pardon to go on the mission due to their skills with explosive tipped arrows. Number three, they are privately funded, they are not working for the government. In fact, the government is trying to stop them from doing it (you know how those fuckin bureaucrats are, with their red tape and what not. It makes you so mad BRING OUR BOYS HOME! etc.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Until recently I was the guy who had never seen POINT BREAK. But the other day I busted my cherry on that matter, pardon my French, so I’m some other guy now.
I’m sure you’ve already seen it but let me refresh your memory: Keanu Reeves plays the perfectly named Johnny Utah, college football hero turned fresh-faced FBI rookie teamed with Gary Busey (in one of the first roles of his Crazy Post-Motorcycle Accident Period) to track down a gang of bank robbers who Busey (correctly) theorizes are surfers. (read the rest of this shit…)
You know, people recommend movies to me all the time. They got a pretty good idea what I’m into, and they got some movie they like, they figure I would like it too. And I’ve discovered some damn good ones this way. For example I still wouldn’t’ve picked up MR. MAJESTYK if it wasn’t for Jeff McCloud, I think was the first guy who told me about it.
Well I can’t remember who told me this one, ROADHOUSE. A film by Rowdy Herrington. Whoever recommend this must’ve been jerkin my chain, but that’s all right. I enjoyed this one, even though it is about Patrick Swayze is the world’s second greatest bouncer who is sent in to clean up a rough redneck bar, ends up having to kill Ben Gazarra. You know how it is.
I knew this was a good one pretty quick, because a couple minutes into the movie a woman stabs a guy in the hand with a pen, and as payback she gets kicked in the balls. There are alot of feet and knees crushing balls in this movie, but that’s normal. I’ve seen that before. A woman getting kicked in the balls though is not something I believe I’ve seen before. Until now. (read the rest of this shit…)
SPOILER ALERT !!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a couple more looks at the Seattle Film Festival’s premiere of Richard Kelly’s DONNIE DARKO: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT. First up is AICN’s own bad boy, Vern. Now, Vern has brought it to my attention that not only was Jena Malone in attendance, but so was Drew Barrymore… Being as Vern was in the same general space as two of my dream women, I think it’s safe to say that he deserves nothing less than a slow and painful death at my hands. Some of you negative retards below can disagree with me about the radiance of Ms. Barrymore and that’s fine. Less people I have to fight against in my ongoing struggle to woo this vixen! Anyway, here’s Vern-o!!!
Hey bud this is Vern. I don’t want to be a squealer or nothin but fuckin Moriarty man, that dude put me on his spam list and keeps dumping my reviews. I wrote a review of Cruel Intentions 3 to name one example of a review that the world obviously needs to see but he threw it in the trash with the p.enis enlargements and the v~icodin. I mean I understand the guy is busy, but come on. I can’t imagine he’s staying up all night polishing the dialogue on that thing. I’ll give you a hint bud: Scorpion says “Get over here.” Don’t be writing any monologues for him or anything. And then you’ll have a few extra minutes for dusting your flatscreen and putting up my reviews. So anyway that’s not the point, the point is this. I’m not going to as many SIFF movies this year, but I did manage to see Donnie Darko’s Director Cut. The world premiere. NOT the press screening which was already reviewed by “Gooter.” I don’t do press screenings. I saw it with the people. That’s just the kind of guy I am. (read the rest of this shit…)
I gotta admit I was surprised by this picture. It is about a young man (named Donnie Darko [that is why the movie is called Donnie Darko, it is the dude’s name]) to whom all the weird shit happens. Like for example a demonic rabbit lures him out of bed to a golf course, whispering mysterious type business to him in a spooky voice. In the morning he comes home and, you know, a plane engine has fallen onto his bedroom. Only one thing is, nobody knows what happened to the plane the engine fell off of. And it would be bad enough to have a plane engine fall into your room in the first place, then you gotta throw in all this mysterious bermuda triangle type business too. I mean he has a hard enough time just with school work now he has to deal with this shit.
This movie didn’t get much of a release and I don’t know, maybe it’s because it’s coming out in a time when Donnie Darko’s life doesn’t seem all that different from ours. Engines do fall out of the sky. I mean they have ax fights on planes now. They have shoe bombs and shit. They’re gonna have baboon attacks pretty soon, the way things are going in my opinion. Pilots gored by elephants after that. I mean why do they allow elephants in the cargo hold anyway is what they’re gonna say. We shoulda seen that loophole. (read the rest of this shit…)